The St. Louis Blues welcome the road tripping Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night. The Ducks will play their third consecutive game on the road after stops in Los Angeles and Chicago. St. Louis isn’t their final destination on the road trip. They will depart for Columbus after tonight, and then Nashville and Vegas to wrap it up. No team likes these grueling trips on the road, but it’s better to get them out of the way now than later.
The Ducks have been treading water thus far this season, as they enter St. Louis with a record of 10-10-2. The Ducks are also on a four-game losing streak, capped off by a 7-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night. The schedule makers were none too kind to the Ducks, who must play the Hawks and Blues back-to-back. These are the teams you have to beat to garner any respect, though.
I don’t know if the Ducks are going to garner any respect in the regular season, though. They’re like the, well, the Blues. The Blues have been fine in the regular season, but their issues always arise in the playoffs. They have looked like one of the best team this season thus far, so we’ll see if it can finally carry over to the playoffs. Take your pick, it’s either the Blues or Lightning.
The Blues at 17-6-1 and the Lightning are 17-5-2. That line of Schwartz-Schenn-Tarasenko looks like the best in hockey. But then you think of Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos of the Lightning, and it’s tough to go against those two guys. We can all agree on the fact that the Blues have been the best in the Western Conference, and the Lightning in the Eastern Conference, duh.
It’s easy to pinpoint why the Ducks are struggling lately. Ryan Getzlaf took a puck to his face and underwent facial surgery to repair a fracture. Getzlaf will be out a minimum two months. It’s a critical blow to a team who focuses their entire game plan around Getzlaf. With Corey Perry’s numbers regressing, the absence of Getzlaf is huge. He isn’t the only crucial component on the shelf for the Ducks. Ryan Kesler is out because of a bad hip, and Patrick Eaves was diagnosed with a rare disease, Guillian-Barre Syndrome. That’s a whole lot of production out of the lineup. Get our free Ducks vs. Blues pick below.
Anaheim Ducks vs. St. Louis Blues Pick
The Blues had a minor slip-up against the Nashville Predators the day of Thanksgiving, as they took a 2-0 loss in a game they didn’t look too interested in. They got right back on the horse, though, and took care of the Minnesota Wild by a score of 6-3. The Blues have won four of their last three games, and seven in their last ten. They take a record of 9-3-0 at home into tonight against the Ducks. Jake Allen has been flawless against the Ducks in his career, with a 1.40 GAA and record of 5-0-0.
He’s also been better at home in 2017-18, where he sports a 2.23 GAA compared to 2.60 on the road. The Ducks will likely counter with John Gibson, who has been a complete mess away from home in Anaheim. He owns a 4.07 GAA and 0.885 save percentage on the road, compare that to his 2.77 GAA and 0.927 save percentage at home. Gibson has a 2.72 GAA against the Blues in his career.
I don’t think this losing streak for the Ducks is any surprise. Here’s a team with two of their best playmakers out on the shelf. It’s also no surprise that they’ve had difficulties scoring the puck. In their last four games the Ducks have scored just 1.75 goals per game. In that same stretch, the Blues have netted 4.5 per game and 3.9 in their last ten games.
The Blues are 5th overall with 3.42 goals scored per game. Conversely, the Ducks are 27th in scoring, which should continue without Getzlaf and Kesler. St. Louis have been a money machine on the puck line this year. They’ve gone 15-9 to the -1.5, which most often carries plus-money with it. They’re getting a tempting number on the puck line tonight. The Blues should benefit from playing their fourth in a row at home. Meanwhile, the Ducks are banged up in the middle of a long road trip. If the Blues come to play, they should take a 4-1 or 4-2 hockey game. Given everything, it’s certainly worth a shot to make a play at +140. Best of luck as always, whether you’re tailing, fading, and with the rest of your action on Wednesday night.
PICK: BLUES -1.5 (+140)