Blues vs. Ducks Preview
Anaheim, CA (AP) - Jonas Hiller may be the last goalie that the struggling St. Louis Blues need to see at this time.
Hiller has posted consecutive shutouts for the first time and is expected to be in goal Wednesday night when the Anaheim Ducks host the Blues, losers of four straight.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Ducks -125 money line favorites for Wednesday's game against the Blues. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 56% of more than 175 bets for this game have been placed on the Ducks -125.
Hiller has been outstanding over his last 13 games for Anaheim (23-18-4). He's 9-3-0 in that span with a 1.45 goals-against average that is among the best in the NHL since Dec. 10.
The Ducks' No. 1 goalie has been spectacular in his last two starts. He made 27 saves in a 6-0 victory over Columbus on Friday and turned in a 37-save effort in Sunday's 1-0 win over San Jose.
"It's fun to play in front of Jonas. He's playing with a lot of confidence and he's not making any mistakes," center Saku Koivu said. "It's a great feeling when your goaltender's playing that well because the know he's going to make some great saves, even when the other team gets some chances."
Hiller has never shut out the Blues, going 4-2-0 with a 3.33 GAA against them. He was pulled in the second period of a 5-1 loss Oct. 11 in the teams' lone meeting this season.
That was part of a difficult first month in which he went 3-5-1 with a 3.13 GAA. He's a much different goalie now.
"It's great that I'm not getting scored on. That's always a good feeling," Hiller said. "But what really counts is the two points against a conference rival. We had a great team effort."
St. Louis (20-15-6) is trying to avoid losing five straight for the first time since Nov. 10-17. The Blues have lost their last three games by one goal, falling 4-3 at home to Phoenix on Monday.
"There's not really much consolation in being close," defenseman Eric Brewer said. "There are some things that we are doing well out there. There's a fine line between winning and losing and now we're on the other side of it."
Matt D'Agostini and Brad Winchester scored 20 seconds apart in the third period to give the Blues a 3-2 lead, but they conceded two goals despite outshooting the Coyotes 17-8 over the final 20 minutes.
"Tonight's performance is a pretty solid performance that we'd take most nights," coach Davis Payne said.
The Blues are beginning a three-game trip after playing three times on the road in their last 15 games. St. Louis is 0 for 11 on the power play during this skid and among the worst teams in the league at 14.7 percent.
"I'd say it's just the way it goes sometimes," D'Agostini said. "That's been our story lately. When we haven't been so great, it's cost us."
Jaroslav Halak is 0-3-0 with a 4.00 GAA over the last four starts for St. Louis. He was pulled in the second period of his only start at the Honda Center last season with Montreal in a 4-3 overtime loss March 7.Halak was needed to make only 13 saves in the first meeting with Anaheim, allowing a goal to former Canadiens teammate Koivu. D'Agostini scored twice for St. Louis.
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