The Ducks are a better team this year than I thought they would be. That said, when they were in St. Louis in early February, the Blues had them and let them off the hook. Elliott couldn't stop a puck to save his (Franking) life. Let's hope the Blues keep up their inspired play.
BLUES (13-9-2) at DUCKS (17-3-3)
TV: FS-MW, FS-W
Last 10: St. Louis 5-4-1; Anaheim 7-1-2
Season series: Second of three meetings, and the first was a wild one. Nick Bonino polished off a 6-5 win for Anaheim on Feb. 9 in St. Louis with the decisive shootout goal. Bobby Ryan (2-2-4) and Teemu Selanne (1-3-4) had huge nights for the Ducks, while Chris Stewart (1-2-3) and Alexander Steen (1-2-3) came up big for the Blues in a losing cause.
Big story: It's not a foregone conclusion that Chicago will run away with the top seed in the Western Conference just yet. After the Blackhawks finally suffered a regulation loss Friday at the hands of the Avalanche while the Ducks handled the Flames, Anaheim pulled to within eight points of first place in the West with two games in hand. The Ducks are home and rested on Sunday, while the Blues had to travel after Saturday afternoon's game in San Jose.
Blues: Known primarily for his strong defense and faceoff ability, Vladimir Sobotka singlehandedly assured St. Louis of one point Saturday afternoon when he rallied the Blues from a two-goal deficit in the third period against the Sharks, completing his first career hat trick in the process. That gave Patrik Berglund the opportunity to secure the second point when he redirected a Barret Jackman shot 1:12 into overtime for a 4-3 victory. It was rookie Jake Allen's fifth win in six decisions.
"It's not a new thing that [Sobotka's] playing well," Berglund said. "He's contributing to this team every night. He plays all the roles, and it's just really fun to see that he gets his goals now. It's well-deserved. He's a big part of this hockey team, hockey club, and I'm just real happy for him that he could collect the [hat trick] tonight."
Ducks: Over the course of this season, Anaheim has signed its Swedish sensation in goal, Viktor Fasth, and its top center, Ryan Getzlaf, to contract extensions, and it bodes well for the Ducks' future if Friday was any indication. Getzlaf had a goal and an assist hours after signing a new eight-year deal, while Fasth turned aside all 29 shots he saw in a 4-0 win over the Flames. Getzlaf's assist on linemate Bobby Ryan's goal in the second period was his 500th NHL point, but he credited Fasth as the game's first star.
"We didn't start the game the way wanted to," Getzlaf said. "Our goalie played unbelievable in the first period to even give us a chance. For us to come out [ahead] 1-0 after that period, we were pretty thankful."
Who's hot: Sobotka has six of his seven goals this season in the Blues' past five games. Berglund has three goals in two games. … Ryan has two goals and five assists during a five-game points streak for the Ducks. Getzlaf (3-4-7) and Corey Perry (2-2-4) have three-game points streaks active. Fasth's shutout was his second of the season, one off the NHL lead.
Injury report: Steen (upper body) is on injured reserve for St. Louis along with fellow forwards Andy McDonald (knee), Vladimir Tarasenko (concussion) and Jamie Langenbrunner (hip). … Anaheim defenseman Bryan Allen (flu-like symptoms) and forward Kyle Palmieri (upper body) are day-to-day.