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Western Division hockey features the St. Louis Blues hosting the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night. The Blues are 16-12-5 and at fourth place in the division, having lost their last two games. The Ducks are 9-19-6, last place in the Division, and have lost seven of their last eight games, including losses in each of their last three times out.
Ducks Trying to End Losing Streak
Anaheim comes into this game tied for the second-worst record in the NHL, with only the lowly Buffalo Sabres performing worse. They’ve lost seven of their last eight games and just aren’t able to put the pieces together. Their last game was a 3-2 loss to Minnesota.
Max Comtois scored his team-leading tenth goal of the year, while Derek Grant added the team’s only other goal in the loss to Minnesota. Anaheim managed 30 shots on goal, an improvement from their average of 27.6 shots per game for the year. Team points leader Rickard Rakell went without a point in this game.
Ryan Miller saved 23 of 26 shots on goal, unable to back up a stepped-up defensive effort from a defense that averages 29.1 shots allowed on goal per game. Miller is having a dismal year, as is the entire Anaheim goalie rotation; he’s posting a .880 save percentage and 3.48 GAA. John Gibson is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury.
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) March 24, 2021
Blues Look to Shake Rough Patch
The Blues head back home after a five-game road trip, in which they only managed two wins. They stand at fourth place in the West with 37 points, which puts them at 14th overall in the NHL. Their last game was a shutout loss to Minnesota on Thursday night. Their last game against the Ducks was a 3-2 win on March 3rd in Anaheim.
In that game, Torey Krug and Oskar Sundqvist each came away with two points, and Sundqvist, Zach Sanford, and Brayden Schenn each scored goals. David Perron recorded an assist, and leads the Blues in points with 33 headed into Friday’s matchup with the Ducks. The Blues were efficient on a relatively light shooting night, putting three of 21 of their shots into the net. To this point, they average 29 shots on goal per game.
The shutout loss to Minnesota was an anomaly. They managed 37 shots on Cam Talbot, who stopped all of them to get the shutout, but played outstanding defense, allowing only 11 shots. The difference was goalie play, as Binnington wasn’t able to stop all 11 shots to keep the game level.
Craig Berube: “I thought it was a solid hockey game by our team. We only gave up 11 shots… You play like that, you’re going to win a lot of hockey games. I thought our team was really committed tonight.” #stlblues pic.twitter.com/bNBil6HCzs
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) March 26, 2021
Ducks are 0-4 in their last 4 Friday games.
The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Anaheim has enjoyed some bright moments lately with the emergence of some young talent, including center Trevor Zegras. Apart from hope for the future, there’s not a lot there right now to win games consistently. The Blues’ shutout loss to Minnesota was perhaps the least likely result when comparing nearly every other statline; holding an opponent to 11 shots will seldom lead to a loss. St. Louis is set to get back on solid ground. Blues win.
St. Louis -215
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Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams combined for five goals their last time out against each other, and are on a bit of a scoring drought of late. The Blues showed a remarkable defensive outing, and may be able to keep the Ducks to just a single goal in Friday’s game, if Binnington can make the few stops he needs to. Go with the under.