Sunday, 10.16.2011 / 12:50 AM
Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor
While Jonas Hiller continues to shine in goal, the Anaheim Ducks' offense has yet to get going.
Picking up the pace could prove difficult without injured left wing Jason Blake.
Seeking a third consecutive win, Anaheim looks to continue its home domination of the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night.
Since kicking off their season with a 4-1 loss to Buffalo in Helsinki, the Ducks (2-1-0) have won two straight due in large part to Hiller's stellar play.
After making 14 saves in a 2-1 shootout win over the New York Rangers last Saturday in Stockholm, Hiller stopped all 31 shots for his 12th career shutout during Friday's 1-0 victory over San Jose.
Hiller, who missed nearly all of the second half of 2010-11 because of vertigo, seems to have recaptured the form that made him an All Star last season.
"I worked real hard to be where I am now. I know it didn't come back to me for free, so I know I have to keep working," he said.
"I want to make a statement every night, no matter what happened last year. It's nice to get these games and feel good out there. Goaltending is a lot about confidence, and it's easier to be playing well if you start a season with these kinds of games."
Hiller's efforts have helped Anaheim overcome a lack of offensive production - the Ducks' top two lines have both failed to tally a point this season.
Things aren't about to get any easier with Blake, who skated alongside center Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne on Anaheim's second line, expected to miss three months with tendon damage in his left forearm.
Blake, who had yet to tally a point this season but had 32 in 2010-11 and currently leads the team with 11 shots on goal, was accidentally cut just above his wrist Friday by Sharks defenseman Brent Burns' skate. The accident occurred after Blake fell down while trying to play the puck out of a faceoff.
"This was an unfortunate, freak accident, but we are pleased to hear that Jason is expected to make a full and complete recovery," Ducks general manager Bob Murray said. "He's a real character person and teammate, and we look forward to having him back in our lineup when he's ready."
While Blake's absence surely hurts, a matchup with the Blues (2-2-0) could help raise Anaheim's spirits. The Ducks are 13-2-0 with one tie in their last 16 home meetings with St. Louis.
Hiller is 5-2-0 lifetime in this series despite a lackluster 3.44 goals-against average. Left wing Bobby Ryan has notched 13 points in 11 career meetings with the Blues, recording a hat trick and an assist during a 7-4 win Jan. 12.
St. Louis, which began its current four-game road trip with a 3-2 loss to Dallas on Thursday, regrouped to mount a late rally Saturday, defeating San Jose 4-2. Kent Huskins
and Alex Steen
scored in the third period before captain David Backes
added an empty netter to ice the victory.
spelled No. 1 goaltender Jaroslav Halak
, stopping 34 shots in his Blues debut.
"Credit the guys for getting back on track," coach Davis Payne said. "San Jose got us way back on our heels in the second period. Fortunately, our goalie made some big saves."
Halak, 1-2-0 with a 2.70 GAA, is likely to be back in goal Sunday. He went 1-1-0 with a 1.52 GAA against Anaheim last season.
The Blues conclude their road trip Tuesday night in Los Angeles.