St. Louis Blues (1-1-1) at Anaheim Ducks (4-1-0)
|Date & Time||Sunday October 19, 2014, 8:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Anaheim Ducks -140 / St. Louis Blues +127 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Anaheim Ducks play the second game of a five game home stand on Sunday night when they host the St. Louis Blues. Coming into the year one of the biggest questions facing the Ducks was whether or not they could find someone to solidify themselves as the No. 1 goalie. Frederik Andersen has gotten off to a great start and is trying to prove to the organization that he’s their guy. Andersen is 4-0-0 after Friday night’s 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild with a .937 save percentage and 1.71 goals against average. The 25-year-old Danish netminder has stopped 104 of the 111 shots he’s faced. Minnesota took a 1-0 lead early in the second period and the game remained that way until early in the third period when the Ducks finally tied things up. Andrew Cogliano’s first of the season came with the Ducks short handed and just a little over midway through the period it was Corey Perry who gave the Ducks the lead for good. Anaheim lost on opening night with John Gibson in goal but since then have won four straight. With four games remaining on this home stand there’s a great opportunity here to really take an early lead in the Pacific Division standings. Ryan Kesler has been the agitating addition to the lineup that the Ducks were looking for and is third on the club with five points. Perry is off to a hot start and has five goals and seven points through the first five games. Anaheim will have their hands full with a Blues club that is still trying to find their game in the early part of this season.
Saturday night’s effort in Arizona against the Coyotes was probably the best of the season thus far for St. Louis. This is a club that has a ton of talent, a good coach, and consistently performs well in the regular season. The questions facing the Blues this season have to do with their goaltending and whether or not they can finally meet expectations in the post season. Jake Allen got the start on Saturday night and many believe that if the Blues are going to get to where they want to be they need Allen to be the guy leading the way. Brian Elliot is a formidable goaltender but expecting him to be the guy you count on for 60 or more games might be a little much. The Blues need to ride Allen and find out if he’s the guy or else they’re going to rue the fact they let Ryan Miller walk. David Backes was a machine against the Coyotes, all over the ice and leading the Blues to a much needed win. Sunday night’s match up with the Anaheim Ducks is going to be a fun one between two clubs that like to get physical. These are the types of games that the Blues need to pay extra attention to because they’re going to need to figure out how to impose their will against a team like the Ducks in a playoff series if they want to win a Stanley Cup. St. Louis hasn’t shown the type of toughness needed to endure a playoff series against these heavy Western Conference clubs. The Blues have what it takes in the regular season and with the talent on their club they should be back in the post season again, so it’s games like Sunday where it’s extra important to figure out what it takes to beat a good team like the Ducks.
St. Louis looked very good against the Coyotes on Saturday night but this is a step up in competition. The Blues should keep it close and this is one that can go either way but I like the Ducks with the way they’re playing and the fact they aren’t playing a back-to-back.