Blues vs. Ducks Preview

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Anaheim, CA (AP) - In the last 31 meetings between the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues, the road team has won just eight times - and not at all this season.

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The Ducks hope that trend continues Wednesday night.

Anaheim tries for its third straight home win over the Blues, who open a critical four-game western swing.

According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Ducks -139 money line favorites for Wednesday's game against the Blues. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 65% of more than 229 bets for this game have been placed on the Blues +128.

The home team in this matchup has enjoyed plenty of success. The Ducks (37-27-5) have gone 12-2-0 with one tie against the Blues in Anaheim since the start of 2002-03, and posted a 7-4 victory in the teams' lone meeting there this season Jan. 12.

Anaheim has lost 10 of 16 in St. Louis during that stretch, including twice this season by a combined 14-4 score. The Blues (31-29-9) took the last matchup 9-3 at home Feb. 19 in their highest-scoring game since 1994.

St. Louis, though, will face an improved Ducks team this time, as Anaheim was in the midst of a five-game skid when they met last month. The Ducks have won five of seven to move within striking distance of a Western Conference playoff spot.

Anaheim will be looking to get back on track in that race after a 5-2 defeat to Phoenix on Sunday prevented a third straight victory.

"Everybody needs the points and it's important that you give your best effort," said coach Randy Carlyle, whose team plays six of eight on the road following Wednesday's contest. "Tonight was not one of our best efforts.''

It definitely wasn't for Dan Ellis, who allowed four goals in two periods and lost for just the second time in eight starts since being acquired from Tampa Bay last month.

Ray Emery came on and stopped all nine shots he faced in his first NHL action since Feb. 1, 2010.

"It wasn't perfect, but allowing no goals is good enough," he said.

In 13th place in the West, the Blues could see their slim playoff hopes all but dashed without an outstanding trip. St. Louis had a chance to win its fourth straight Saturday, but lost 5-3 to Detroit.

"Let's not get distracted or anything, just get ready for the next one," goaltender Jaroslav Halak said.

Halak made 13 saves in a 5-1 victory over Anaheim on Oct. 11 and seems to be back in net Wednesday. Ty Conklin got the start Jan. 12 and yielded a career high-tying seven goals, and he was replaced by Ben Bishop in the first period against the Ducks last month after allowing three goals on five shots.

Anaheim's Corey Perry has five goals and two assists in the last three games. He had a goal and an assist Jan. 12, while teammate Bobby Ryan recorded his third career hat trick and added an assist.

Neither recorded a point in the two games in St. Louis this season.

Blues top scorer David Backes has five goals and four assists during a six-game point streak versus the Ducks. He scored twice Jan. 12.

Each of the teams' last four meetings have been decided by at least three goals.

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