Ducks Versus Blues Tonight at Honda Center

There was some doubt as to whether Ryan Whitney would play in tonight’s game after he left practice early Friday, but that will not be an issue as Whitney will be playing tonight.

Meanwhile, James Wisniewski remains on track to get back in game action by Wednesday night. He is not participating in contact drills but has been skating and says he is progressing well.

No word yet on Andrew Ebbett’s waivers status.

From Rocky Bonnano at NHL.com:

BLUES (2-2-1) at DUCKS (3-2-1)

Season series: This is the first of four meetings between these teams this season. In 2008-09, the Ducks won three of four from St. Louis, twice on home ice and once on the road. The Blues’ only win came in overtime on a goal by Lee Stempniak. Ryan Getzlaf of Anaheim led all scorers in the series with 7 points (2 goals, 5 assists), Chris Kunitz added 3 goals, and goaltender Jonas Hiller posted 2 wins. St. Louis was led by Patrik Berglund’s 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists) and 2 goals by Brad Boyes.

Big story:
Neither team, both of which had high expectations entering the season, has set the world on fire yet. But with the talent on these rosters, the Blues and Ducks are sleeping giants who will have an impact on the Western Conference when all is said and done.

Team scope:

Blues: After opening with back-to-back wins against the Red Wings in Stockholm, the Blues dropped consecutive home games against Atlanta and Los Angeles last week.

“We could be 4-0, we could be 0-4, and we’re 2-2 because our level of consistency hasn’t been there the way that we would like,” coach Andy Murray told the Belleville News-Democrat. “There’s been phases in each game where we’ve been good, but also phases where, for example in the first period of both games against Detroit, we could have lost the games in those periods.

“We did lose two games at home here because we started poorly. We’re not where we need to be, but where we deserve to be. We haven’t been consistent enough.”

This is the second game of a three-game road trip for St. Louis. It began with a 3-2 overtime loss at Phoenix on Thursday in which the Blues surrendered a 2-1 third-period lead.

Swedish center Patrik Berglund, coming off 47 points in 2008-09, has struggled early this season. After playing the first three games, he was a surprising healthy scratch on Oct. 10 against Los Angeles. “We need him to compete on every puck,” Murray told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “to play hard, play good in the traffic areas as well as open ice, make sure he’s good in practice so he can get into games, shoot the puck. … The bottom line is, he has to win his battles.” Berglund has one goal and only six shots in four games.

Ducks: This is the second game in a six-game homestand for Anaheim which began with a 3-2 victory against Minnesota on Wednesday.

After opening the season with two losses, the Ducks have won three of their last four.

Right wing Corey Perry, who attended Team Canada’s Olympic Orientation Camp, is off to one of the best starts of his career with 4 goals and a team-high 7 points in 6 games. “It’s a credit to Corey because the work that he put in preparing for the Team Canada tryout and thus preparing himself earlier for the season is paying dividends,” coach Randy Carlyle told the Orange County Register. Perry’s linemates, however, are not as hot. Center Ryan Getzlaf has only 3 assists in six games, and right wing Bobby Ryan has one goal and one assist.

Who’s hot: For the Ducks, Perry has multi-goal efforts in two of his last four games. Goaltender Jonas Hiller is riding a three-game win streak. In those three appearances, he has stopped 98 of 103 shots for a 1.63 goals-against average and .951 save percentage. For the Blues, defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo has recorded assists in each of the last two games.

Injury report:
For the Ducks, defenseman James Wisniewski is on injured reserve with a sprained shoulder. For the Blues, defensemen Eric Brewer and Barret Jackman are on injured reserve with a bad back and left ankle injury, respectively.

Stat pack:
With Anaheim’s victory against Minnesota on Wednesday, veteran center Saku Koivu is now 3-2-0 all-time in head-to-head matchups against his younger brother Mikko, a center on the Wild. Saku has recorded 1-2-3 in the five contests while Mikko has only one goal.

Puck drop: “We’ve got to have game patience … the patience to make the right plays, the right decisions. Playing hard is one thing, but we haven’t played smart. We need to play smart.” — Blues coach Andy Murray

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