The Anaheim Ducks are surging since Teemu Selanne chose to put off retirement, but Jean-Sebastien Giguere might be playing a bigger role in that success.
They will try to help the reigning Stanley Cup champions win for the eighth time in nine games when they host the St. Louis Blues on Friday night.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Anaheim -220 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 65% of bets for this game have been placed on St. Louis +200 (View NHL Bet Percentages).
The Ducks (34-23-7), who are fourth in the Western Conference, are 7-1-0 since Selanne's return. The future Hall of Famer has contributed two goals and three assists in that span and also became the franchise's all-time leading scorer.
The left wing, who led Anaheim with 48 goals last season, found the net again Wednesday, and Giguere made 26 saves plus three more during the shootout in a 3-2 victory over Colorado.
"Jiggy used to struggle quite a bit with shootouts, he's worked so hard in the last little while to be able to steal us one like tonight," said Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf, who assisted on Selanne's goal to give him six points (one goal, five assists) in five games. "He stood in and got it done for us."
Giguere has been a major factor of late, going 6-1-1 with a 1.35 goals-against average and two shutouts. That stretch started with a 20-save performance in a 1-0 shootout loss at St. Louis (28-23-9) on Feb. 1. He wasn't as sharp in the previous meeting, allowing three goals on 32 shots in a 4-2 road loss on Oct. 23.
In his last seven home matchups against the Blues, Giguere is 6-0-0 with a tie, a 1.98 GAA and a shutout.
He hopes Selanne, who has five goals and five assists in eight games against St. Louis since the end of the NHL lockout, can help him improve on that.
Anaheim, though, could be without center Todd Marchant due to a strained shoulder suffered Wednesday. The team will definitely be without Ryan Carter - a rookie center with four goals in six games - after he fractured his left wrist when he was checked into the boards and had his hand go through the photographer's hole.
The Blues, meanwhile, are looking to rebound from Thursday's disappointing 5-1 loss to Los Angeles, the team with the fewest points in the NHL. St. Louis had won two straight by the same score.
Manny Legace likely will start for the Blues, and hopes to redeem himself. He was pulled midway through the second period against the Kings after giving up four goals on 19 shots. That was in stark contrast to his previous five games, when he went 4-0-1 with a 1.40 GAA.
Legace hasn't lost in his last 13 starts against Anaheim, posting a 10-0-0 record with a tie and a 1.85 GAA. He stopped all 30 shots and one more in the shootout on Feb. 1.
The Blues hope their power play, which has a 14.6 success rate to rank only ahead of league-worst Colorado (13.3), can continue its strong play. The unit has gone 7-for-16 in the last three games after scoring seven goals with the man advantage in its previous 15 games.
Paul Kariya, who played for the Ducks from 1994-2003 and whose team scoring record Selanne broke, has only one assist in his last four games. The left wing - St. Louis' leader with 51 points - hasn't fared well in five games as a visitor to the Honda Center, posting three assists while his team has lost each game.
by: Staff Writers - Email Us
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