With their goaltending and defense sagging, the St. Louis Blues are hoping the return of goalie Jaroslav Halak can bring some relief from a four-game losing streak.
Halak, out since Feb. 1 with a groin strain, was activated from injured reserve Sunday and is expected to be the starter when the Blues (6-4-1) host the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Monday.
The Kings lost 3-2 at Detroit on Sunday on a goal by the Red Wings' Jonathan Ericsson with 4.5 seconds remaining. Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard turned away 45 shots.
The Blues dropped to 0-2-1 on their four-game homestand and now face a Kings team that swept them out of the Western Conference playoffs in the second round last spring.
Rookie goalie Jake Allen was assigned to minor-league Peoria on Sunday to clear the way for Halak's return.
Halak is 3-0 in five games with a 2.10 goals-against average and .889 save percentage. The Blues have allowed 21 goals during the four-game losing skid.
A 6-5 shootout loss to Anaheim on Saturday got the Blues one point in the standings, but continued their stretch of ineffective play.
Chris Stewart and Alex Steen each had a goal and two assists for the Blues, who were unable to hold a 3-1 lead when Anaheim scored three times in the span of 1 minute, 41 seconds.
David Backes had a goal and an assist while David Perron and T.J. Oshie also scored.
"We started well, we finished well," Steen said. "In the middle of the game, we let them back in."
Despite the loss, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock saw things he liked.
"We competed for 65 minutes at a very high level," Hitchcock said. "We played a heck of a hockey game."
After being selected to the NHL all-star team and leading the NHL in goals-against average (1.56) and save percentage (.940) last season, Blues goalie Brian Elliott was 56th and 59th in those same categories following Saturday's defeat.
Elliott has a 3.51 goals-against average and .853 save percentage and allowed five goals on 23 shots to the Ducks as the Blues lost to a rookie goalie for the second straight game.
After the game, Hitchcock indicated Allen would have started in goal Monday against the Kings unless Halak was able to return.
Elliott gave up a goal to Ryan on Anaheim's first shot at 11:09 of the first period. He appeared to settle down after that, as St. Louis built a 3-1 lead.
But the Ducks wiped out their deficit and took their first lead by scoring three times on three shots in a span of 2:21 in the second period.
Teemu Selanne started the run when he put in a deflection with Elliott out of position at 12:40. Just 45 seconds later, Andrew Cogliano scored. Bobby Ryan then beat Elliott at 14:21 to make it 4-3.
St. Louis trailed 5-4 when Stewart tied the game with a power-play goal at 15:26 of the third.
Nick Bonino had the deciding tally in the shootout for the Ducks on their sixth attempt.
Blues veteran forward Jamie Langenbrunner has a hip injury that will require surgery and will be out indefinitely, the team announced Saturday.
The 37-year-old right winger has one assist in four games this season and six goals and 24 points in 70 games since joining the Blues.
He has 243 goals and 663 points in 1,109 games and 18 NHL seasons. The Blues signed Langenbrunner as a free agent in July, 2011.
* Blues defenseman Wade Redden was presented with a silver stick, a watch and a painting before Saturday's game after becoming the 280th NHL player to play in 1,000 games. Redden reached the milestone Thursday against Detroit.