Strong play on the road is one reason the Anaheim Ducks are in contention for the top seed in the Western Conference.
The Ducks look to close out a four-game road trip on a positive note Saturday when they visit the St. Louis Blues.
Anaheim (46-20-12) won 5-2 at Columbus on Thursday to improve to 20-14-4 away from home and set a franchise record for road victories. The Ducks are 2-1-0 on their trip that started with a 1-0 loss to Detroit on Monday, followed by a 3-1 win to Chicago on Wednesday.
“We just had to play a pretty solid road game and I think we did,” Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne said after the victory over the Blue Jackets.
Anaheim is second in the West, chasing Detroit and Nashville for the top spot. The Ducks are also in the mix with the Red Wings, Predators and Buffalo Sabres for the Presidents’ Trophy for most regular season points.
After Saturday, the Pacific Division-leading Ducks host San Jose on Wednesday, then finish with road games against Dallas and Columbus before starting the postseason.
Anaheim is playing better away from home again after a recent rough patch.
The Ducks started 12-1-2 on the road - including a 6-5 shootout win over St. Louis on Oct. 30 - but went 3-10-1 away from Anaheim from Dec. 16-Feb. 13. They are 5-3-1 in nine road games since that slump.
On Thursday, Anaheim went 3-for-6 on the power play after going 0-for-7 in its previous two games and 2-for-18 in the last five. The Ducks are 5-for-15 with the man advantage in three games against the Blues this season.
“The power play finally stepped up,” said Anaheim defenseman Chris Pronger, who scored twice and added an assist for his first points in four games since missing seven with a broken toe. “We kind of got clicking again. That’s big for us down the stretch.
“We needed this hockey game a lot more than they did. We didn’t stray from what our task was.”
Selanne assisted on each of Anaheim’s power-play scores and added an empty netter for his team-leading 45th goal, which came in a four-goal third period for the Ducks. It was Selanne’s highest-scoring game since he had five points in a win over Phoenix on Nov. 19.
Selanne scored the shootout winner against the Blues in October and also scored in Anaheim’s 6-2 loss to St. Louis on Jan. 16 in the teams’ most recent meeting.
Anaheim leads the season series 2-1-0 and has won five of the last six meetings with the Blues, including the last two on the road.
St. Louis defeated Edmonton 5-2 on Thursday to avoid a third straight loss. The Blues (32-33-12) will play their final home game Saturday before finishing with four road games.
Despite missing the playoffs for the second straight season, the Blues want to finish strong.
“These games mean a lot to us,” said St. Louis’ Doug Weight, who had a goal and assist Thursday to give him a team-leading 55 points. “We got a big game Saturday. We need to play like we did tonight.”
Defenseman Barret Jackman added three assists against the Oilers for his first three-point game of the season.
St. Louis defenseman Eric Brewer had two of his career-high 22 assists and added a goal for the Blues in their January victory over the Ducks.