Blues, Ducks in need of wins in playoff chase

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Two teams scrapping to remain relevant in the playoff race face off Monday night at the Honda Center.

The Anaheim Ducks come in on a two-game losing streak and the St. Louis Blues enter after a convincing win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Anaheim (34-23-12) lost 2-1 on Friday evening in Dallas. The Ducks gained the early lead, but the Stars scored two power-play goals in the third period. Ryan Miller stopped 35 shots for Anaheim.

The team is 6-3-1 in the last 10 games. Before the two recent losses, the Ducks had won three of four games and gained standings points in four consecutive games.

St. Louis (36-27-5) played an early afternoon affair on Saturday in Los Angeles and defeated the Kings 7-2 after jumping out to a 2-0 lead early in the first period. The Blues are 2-6-2 in their last 10 games. Jake Allen posted 38 saves to grab the win.

Before the offensive outburst, the Blues registered 14 goals in 10 games while getting shut out three times. Against the Kings, 14 Blues players had points, led by Jaden Schwartz with a goal and two assists.

None of the Blues' seven goals against the Kings came with a man advantage. The St. Louis power play ranks 29th in the NHL.

"It takes a toll on them, not scoring goals, and we needed one of those games," Allen said. "I don't know when the last time would have been for a game like that. Maybe not (since) the first 10, 15 games of the year. I think it gave us a good boost."

Blues coach Mike Yeo said, "When you can score some goals, what you hope now is that some guys can build some confidence off of that and carry some momentum into our next one. We know the next one is going to be a real tough challenge."

For Anaheim, leading scorer Rickard Rakell (30-29-59) has 11 points in the past six games (eight goals). He assisted on the Ducks' goal against the Stars. Ryan Getzlaf was the scorer.

Getzlaf is also on fire offensively. He is second on the team in scoring with 50 points (10 goals) despite playing 20 fewer games than Rakell because of injury or illness.

In seven of Getzlaf's last eight games, he has points (three goals), including a four-point effort (one goal) against Edmonton on Feb. 25. He missed the team's first game in March against Columbus with the flu.

Getzlaf summarized the game against Dallas. "I thought we did a good job of holding our own. (The) goaltender made some saves when we needed him to; he kept us right in the game. Special teams was the difference."

The Ducks had been on a run of 25 straight penalty kills until they allowed goals on both Stars' power plays.

Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle commented, "Well, again that is the difference in the game. They score two power-play goals, one to get even and the other one to win the hockey game for them. And what did we do? We went 0-3 in the game. Special teams -- we lost the battle; they won the hockey game with it."

Lineup changes anticipated for Anaheim include the swap of defensemen Francois Beauchemin for Kevin Bieksa, a rotation Carlyle has used lately.

Carlyle also has five players who battle for spots on the fourth line, including Olympic bronze medalist Chris Kelly, who joined the team after competing in Olympic men's hockey in South Korea.

The Blues will likely stick with the reunited first line of Schwartz, Brayden Schenn, and Vladimir Tarasenko. The trio produced five points against the Kings.

"Part of putting those three back together was giving them the opportunity and the ability to make some plays that we saw them make," Yeo said, "and we also felt that it would sort of sharpen the focus and the mindset of the other players."

St. Louis has two players with more than 50 points. Tarasenko's 27 goals and 58 points pace the team.

Schenn trails by a point (24-33-57) but has been cold lately. He has points in two of his last eight games, but his last goal came in Dallas in mid-February. Tarasenko has points in six of the last 10 games.

St. Louis sent four players to AHL San Antonio and Chicago on Saturday. The Blues recalled defenseman Chris Butler from San Antonio.

For the Ducks, Monday's game marks the start of a four-game homestand. The Blues are at the end of a four-game road trip. They play Colorado at home on Thursday.

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