PreGame PostUp: Blues @ Ducks

Posted: 10/16/2011 by bc in Uncategorized
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Note: I missed Friday’s home opener due to a Sister-In-Law taking ill. Tried to stay up for the replay but my days of pulling all-nighters are in the rear view mirror now. We did get it right in the PreGame PostUp though, Ducks biggest edge could be between the pipes. Jonas Hiller is the likely starter going against either a banged up Antii Niemi or rookie backup Thomas Greiss. Bob Murray is looking like a freakin’ genius at the moment. Who predicted that our Ducks would have a winning record with a negative GF/GA differential while Perry, Getzlaf, Ryan and Visnovsky have yet to register a point in 3 games?

Barstool Bob deserves credit for upgrading the depth lines and sticking with Jonas Hiller despite very inconclusive medical reports.

St. Louis Blues have embarked on a substantial overhaul that is expected to include new ownership. Also gone is the Blues 2006 1st overall Entry Draft, Eric Johnson, who the Blues hyped as the heir apparent to Chris Pronger. He may well be but that will be in Colorado.  Like our Ducks, GM Doug McLean focused on upgrading the depth lines bringing in vets Jamie Langenbrunner, Jason Arnott and Scott Nichol.

In goal, Jaroslav Halak was solid but didn’t embarrass Pierre Gauthier and the Montreal Canadiens for trading him after an awe-inspiring playoff performance. Halak will get some help this season in the form centers Arnott and Nichol patrolling the low slot.

The St. Louis blue line is very young. Former Duck Kent Huskins is the senior citizen at 32. Stay@homer Barrett Jackman, 30, is the only other D-man 0ver 26 years of age. Alex Pietrangelo, who won’t turn 22 until January is leading the Blues in the all important ATOI category at 24:04 per game. Pietrangelo is the guy who convinced the Blues they could trade a prospect like Erik Johnson.

Up front the Blues are led by power forwards David Baackes and Chris Stewart, who was acquired in the Johnson trade. Blues are still waiting for 6’4″ 215# center Patrik Berglund to mature and realize his talent. Sound familiar? Flanked by T.J. Oshie and when he returns from IR, B.J. Crombeen, they could form a underachiever line. Berglund has started hot though, registering a goal and 2 helpers in 4 games.

Along with Crombeen, Blues are also without the services of former Duck Andy McDonald, David Perron and Carlo Colaiacovo. For our Ducks, Matt Belesky continues day-to-day and Jason Blake is out for 3 months with a deep laceration just above his left wrist.

The Blues could be just what the doctor ordered for our suddenly offensively challenged Ducks. Last season these teams combined for 32 goals in just 4 games. Despite our guys stinking up the barn in 5-1 and 9-3 losses we did manage to take other two tilts by scores of 7-4 and 2-1.

This is the second of back to back road games for the Blues. Last night these Blues defeated San Jose 4-2, scoring 3 unanswered third period goals.

As czhokej pointed out in the home opener, our Ducks forwards played a very strong positional game in support of the back line. These Blues will be a real challenge for our new-found defensive prowess. Look for our Ducks speed and puck possession game to carry the day.

  1. silentboba says:

    Was at the game last night and it was great to see the team playing so well. I noticed the forecheck looked much different than last year, with the puck carrier either skating the puck into the zone successfully, head manning it to their linemates with speed (!), or the occasional dumps into the corner. One of the most exciting things to watch was how the Ducks attacked the net, cycling when necessary, but time again either kicking the puck up to the point for a shot or walking it out front and towards the net.

    Also, the defense looks great. Stayed organized most of the night, quickly turning the puck up ice or chipping it out to reset the Blues attack. The transition game looks great from defense to offense and it all starts with the back end.

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