NHL Betting Preview: Blues at Anaheim Ducks

By: Joe Freda | Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Corey Perry

Corey Perry has been held to just one goal on current homestand.

The Anaheim Ducks are 4-1 in the first five games of their present homestand, with two straight shutout wins.  Randy Carlyle’s crew finishes its stretch at Honda Center with Wednesday’s duel against the St. Louis Blues, who begin a three-game road trip after dropping four straight.

Anaheim has been off for two days since Sunday’s 1-0 blitz as a plus 100 home dog against the San Jose Sharks.  Ducks netminder Jonas Hiller logged 37 saves, extending his shutout run to 120 straight minutes without allowing a goal.

Hiller improved to 21-14-3 (45 points) in his 38 season outings, while lowering his GAA to 2.39.  The Switzerland native's save percentage rose to .929, ranking him first in the Western Conference.

Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan notched his squad’s sole goal at 14:29 of the second period.  The right winger poked a 22-foot wristshot past Sharks goalie Antti Niemi.

Ryan was assisted by defensemen Lubomir Visnovsky and Toni Lydman.  Visnovsky picked up his third point in two games, while Lydman spent a team-high of 5:06 killing three shorthanded stints.

The tight affair’s one goal dipped well below the NHL odds, making the ‘under’ 4-2-1 in the Ducks’ last seven games.  Anaheim went 0-for-2 on power plays, while outdrawing San Jose in faceoffs, 32-27.

The Ducks moved to 15-7-1 (31 points) in their first 23 home dates, with the ‘under’ improving to 12-9-2.  Ryan and Co. have scored goals on a sizable 23.2 percent of their power plays in that stretch.

St. Louis suffered its latest defeat in Monday’s 4-3 loss as a 136 home favorite against the Phoenix Coyotes.  Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak could not protect a 3-2 lead in the third period, allowing two goals at even strength in the game’s final 10:02.

Halak notched 29 saves, facing his highest number of shots in four games.  The 25-year-old dropped to 15-13-4 (34 points) in his 32 season outings, with his GAA rising to 2.54.

St. Louis’ Matt D’Agostini finished with a team-high two points, logging one goal and one assist.  The fourth-year right wing connected with a 10-foot wristshot in the third period, tying the game, 2-2.

D’Agostini’s mates Brad Winchester and David Backes notched the team’s other two goals.  Winchester extended his streak of games with at least one goal to three, while Backes logged his ninth point in eight games.

The close battle’s combined seven goals jumped above the ‘total’ of five, bringing the ‘over’ to 4-1 in the Blues’ last five games.  Both squads went 0-for-2 on power plays.

St. Louis is 6-8-4 (16 points) in its first 18 road games, with the ‘total’ splitting at 9-9.  Davis Payne’s crew has killed 79.1 percent of its penalties in that span.

Anaheim is 4-1 in its last five home meetings against the Blues, with the ‘over’ also going 4-1.

St. Louis won this season’s sole battle between the foes, 5-1, as a 170 home favorite in an Oct. 11 clash.  The Blues outshot Anaheim, 53-14, with the matchup marred by penalties in the second and third stanzas, including six misconduct infractions.

Anaheim center Ryan Getzlaf will remain sidelined at least three more weeks accordind to the Don Best Sports injury report.  Getzlaf, second on the team with 27 points, suffered sinus fractures when he was struck by a puck on Dec. 28.  St. Louis' Andy McDoonald is out indefinitely as he recovers from a December concussion.

Wednesday’s rematch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (PT), with Fox Sports Midwest and West both providing television coverage.

St. Louis is playing the front end of a back-to-back, visiting the Los Angeles Kings as part of Thursday’s league slate.  Anaheim will have two days off before Saturday’s road game at Phoenix.

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