The Blues are in, surprisingly, what is a familiar position for them this season: first in the Western Conference. They've been here before, lost a little ground to the Detroit Red Wings, but after a 5-1 road trip have managed to get right back on top. They're currently tied with the NHL leading New York Rangers, and it's leading to talk of weird things like a "Presidents Trophy" and "playoff series win" and whatnot.
The Anaheim Ducks are former Stanley Cup winners, but they're barely hanging on in a race for eighth place in the West. They're six games back, and that's actually pretty impressive considering that at one point they were 20. In the time since Bruce Boudreau took over as Ducks coach, they have the second best winning percentage in the league. Who has the best? The home team tonight.
The Blues' last match came on Tuesday night, which was a 5-1 blowout of the rival Chicago Blackhawks. Jaroslav Halak took home his fifth win in a row, and tonight he'll be looking for number six. His counterpart for the opposition, Jonas Hiller, has a ton of weight on his shoulders but he's carrying the load well. As much as the Blues have been bolstered by their goaltending, so have the Ducks. It doesn't look like it, with a 2.72 GAA on average for the team, but that number's dropped over time. The Blues, of course, have the best average GAA in the league at a teeny 1.88. Factor in that they're one shutout short of the team record (21) and you have to say that the Blues' goaltending is key.
Scoring as of late has been too. Andy McDonald had two goals on Tuesday night, and has five in the past four games. T.J. Oshie has goals in two straight games, and five points in his last five. Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk are making a name for themselves as playmakers, especially when McDonald is on the ice. They both had both assists on McDonald's goals on Tuesday.
The two teams' power plays are evenly matched, but the Blues penalty kill is perfect going back to Valentine's Day. Tonight might be a way to keep climbing up the league PK wise to bolster the defense-first reputation that the Blues have acquired this season.