None of the NHL's new coaches have been able to fix their team as well as Blues' coach Ken Hitchcock. The Ducks, Capitals, and Hurricanes should be suffering from a bad case of coach envy, and the Ducks' is about to get worse after tonight.
The Ducks haven't done well this season. Sure, that's been ignored what with the Blue Jackets' troubles, but recently Anaheim has been the worst team in the Western Conference. Over their last ten games, they're 2-6-1, and under new coach Bruce Boudreau they're 1-1-1. Randy Carlyle lost the room, and it's up to Boudreau to get some focus out of a team who, admittedly, should be performing much better than they are.
Starting goaltender Jonas Hiller has allowed four goals in his last three losses, and his .902 SV% and 3.13 GAA are well above what is expected of him. He'll be squaring off against Jaroslav Halak, whose numbers seem to go up every game. His save percentage is a thousandth of a point above Hiller's, sure, but he's gotten his GAA down to 2.40 and has just one regulation loss in his last five games.
Hiller's going to have a heck of a time tonight, as the Blues've outscored Anaheim 20-7 the last four times they've played at the Scottrade Center. The Ducks also don't sound like a team who're pumped to go into a game guns blazing (via CBSSports.com):
"I think they're a very fragile group right now, and we're not out of the woods yet, but maybe we can build on this," said Boudreau, who was unemployed just two days last week after being fired by Washington.
"It's tough not to get down on yourselves," said Ryan, a 30-goal scorer each of the previous three seasons who has nine through 27 games. "But Bruce did a good job behind the bench, telling guys, `Let's move forward. We're not going to be beaten. I think he instilled that confidence in us."
Way to give yourselves a pep talk, guys.
The Blues, meanwhile, are 6-2-2 in their last ten games and have gotten themselves into 6th place in the Western Conference. A solid win Tuesday night over the Detroit Red Wings erased memories of the 5-2 hiccup that they suffered against the Chicago Blackhawks.