By LAURA MEDINA
Though the Anaheim Ducks displayed their dominance at home last season, they've started establishing a similar comfort on the road in 2008-09.
Seeking to win six consecutive away games for the first time in nearly two years, the Ducks face a struggling St. Louis Blues team that will be without top scorer Andy McDonald for an extended period.
Anaheim (10-8-2) finished with the second-most home victories in the league in 2007-08, securing 28 of its overall 47 wins at Honda Center.
But the Ducks haven't been able to carry that success into the current season. They've lost eight of 13 as hosts so far and went 2-3-1 during a recent homestand, capped by a 6-4 loss to Washington on Wednesday.
Bobby Ryan had two goals with an assist, while Ryan Getzlaf scored a goal and set up another but it wasn't enough as the Ducks faced a three-goal deficit 7 minutes, 13 seconds into the first period and trailed by four in the third.
"Coming out and giving up three goals right away, it doesn't help our cause. We have to be ready to play for the full 60 minutes," said Corey Perry, who contributed three assists.
Anaheim is scheduled to play five of its next seven contests on the road, where it has won five straight after losing its first two of the season. A win Friday would give the Ducks their longest road winning streak since a seven-game run from Nov. 28-Dec. 13, 2006.
They'll look to continue their recent success versus the Blues (6-8-2), who have dropped seven of their last eight overall.
Anaheim is 14-6-3 with a tie in the series since Jan. 28, 2002, winning the last three matchups including a 5-2 home decision on Nov. 5. The Ducks, however, have lost six of their last nine (3-3-3) in St. Louis, including the last two.
The Blues won their first three home games this season, but have since posted a 1-4-1 mark there following Sunday's 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal.
Perhaps a bigger blow for the Blues, though, was losing McDonald, the team leader with 18 points. The center, dealt to St. Louis from Anaheim in December, broke his left leg after crashing into the corner boards late in the first period, and will be sidelined at least eight weeks.
McDonald is just the latest injury for the Blues, who have also played the last five games without left wing Paul Kariya - tied for second on the team with 15 points - as he is out indefinitely with a lower-body ailment.
"It's just unfortunate weird stuff happens for us to get hurt," said goaltender Manny Legace, who is 1-1-1 with a 3.79 goals-against average in four games since returning from a hip injury. "It's unfortunate and it's a part of the game, but guys have got to step up now."
With both McDonald and Kariya out, St. Louis will rely more on Lee Stempniak, who has two goals and eight assists in his last six games.
Anaheim likely will have Jean-Sebastien Giguere in net after backup Jonas Hiller struggled in Wednesday's loss. Giguere has allowed 14 goals on 101 shots in losing his last four decisions, but has compiled a 2.34 GAA in winning eight of his last 10 starts against St. Louis.