Hiller, Ducks try to stay hot in clash with Blues

A healthy return for Jonas Hiller could make the Ducks contenders once again in the Pacific Division. The Blues have certainly seen just how good the goaltender can be.

Hiller looks to lead Anaheim to a third straight victory this evening as it hosts St. Louis at the Honda Center.

The 29-year-old Hiller missed the majority of last season's second half due to vertigo, but has started all three of the Ducks' games so far this year. After yielding four goals on 25 shots in a season-opening loss to the Sabres in Finland, the Swiss has stopped 45 of the 46 shots he has faced over back-to- back wins against the Rangers (in Sweden) and the Sharks.

Hiller turned aside all 31 shots faced at home on Friday to lift Anaheim to a 1-0 win over the San Jose and record his 12th career shutout.

"I felt comfortable tonight, but it was a great game by our whole team. It's nice to get these kind of games early in the season," said Hiller, who is 5-2-0 with a 3.44 goals-against average in seven career starts versus the Blues.

Maxime Macenauer's first career goal at 13:59 in the first period was the only offense Hiller would need or get as the Ducks began a string of playing four of their next five at home.

Though defenseman Toni Lydman made his season debut and logged 20 minutes of ice time after sitting out the first two games due to shoulder surgery, the Ducks lost forward Jason Blake for three months after he suffered a deep laceration just above his left wrist during the third period of Friday's win. Blake need sutures to close the wound and suffered tendon damage that will require surgery on Monday.

"Jason is resting at home and doing very well," said Ducks general manager Bob Murray on Saturday. "This was an unfortunate, freak accident, but we are pleased to hear that Jason is expected to make a full and complete recovery. He's a real character person and teammate, and we look forward to having him back in our lineup when he's ready."

The Blues have split their first four games of the season and are coming off last night's 4-2 win over the Sharks. Kent Huskins and Alexander Steen scored in the third period to erase a one-goal deficit and David Backes sealed the victory with an empty-net goal.

Brian Elliott stopped 34 shots to pick up the victory in his first game in a Blues uniform. Jaroslav Halak had started St. Louis' first three contests of the season, going 1-2-0 with a 2.70 GAA and .857 save percentage.

"We just knew we had to capitalize on our chances and the guys did a great job doing that," said Elliott. "We kind of got away from our game a little bit in the second period, but first period we came out really good and took it to them and that's the type of hockey we need to play and we want to play."

St. Louis has split the first two of a four-game swing and will visit Los Angeles on Tuesday. It will likely finish up the trip without Andy McDonald, who returned to St. Louis following Thursday's loss to the Stars to have a head injury further evaluated.

Though these two clubs have split their four-game series in each of the past two seasons, the Ducks have won three straight and seven of the past eight played at home. In face, St. Louis owns just two wins and a tie in its past 16 trips to Anaheim.