(SportsNetwork.com) - With just seven games under their belt, the St. Louis
Blues have skated in the fewest games of any team this season.
On Friday, they emerge from a week-long break to host the Vancouver Canucks,
who are set to wrap a season-high road trip with their NHL-high 13th contest
of the campaign.
The Blues have been out of action since a 4-3 shootout loss at Winnipeg last
Friday, when they played the back end of consecutive games on back-to-back
nights. They have lost two of three since opening the campaign 4-0 and seven
games through the first 22 days of the season marks the lightest schedule to
begin a campaign in club history.
St. Louis spent its time off tweaking its lines after failing to hold a lead
over the Jets a week ago. Alexander Steen scored late in the first period and
again early in the third to stake the Blues to a 3-1 edge, but the Jets scored
twice in the frame's final 6:47 and then outscored St. Louis 3-2 in the seven-
David Backes scored his sixth goal, matching his total from all of last
season, while Brian Elliott made 26 saves in his first start of the season.
"We were managing the game properly," said Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock,
"and we made a puck error and gave them a little bit of life, but we had
complete control. They were just playing the game out and we made mistakes
with the puck that hurt us. But we were in complete control and rolling four
lines, everything was going good. It was a brutal loss."
Hitchcock is expected to start Jaroslav Halak tonight and he is 4-2-0 with a
2.18 goals against average in seven lifetime meetings with the Canucks. St.
Louis is right back in action on Saturday in Nashville.
The Canucks wrap their own string of back-to-back games, having picked up a
3-2 shootout victory over the hosting New Jersey Devils on Thursday night. It
marked Vancouver's second meeting of the season with New Jersey and former
goaltender Cory Schneider, with the Canucks and netminder Roberto Luongo
winning both games.
Luongo made 28 saves and stopped all three Devils skaters he faced in the
shootout, while Mike Santorelli had the lone tally of the tiebreaker.
Santorelli had scored the overtime winner the last time the clubs met.
Ryan Kesler notched a goal and an assist, Daniel Sedin scored once and Henrik
Sedin had a pair of assists to give him nine points over a seven-game point
"It's one of those games on the road where you're grinding and you're trying
to get a point and we got two tonight so it feels great," Daniel Sedin said.
Vancouver improved to 4-1-1 on its seven-game road trip and is set to play its
first home game since Oct. 12 when it hosts Washington on Monday.
The Canucks played a good part of last night's game down two forwards when
both David Booth and Dale Weise departed with lower-body injuries. Their
status for this game is unknown, but Vancouver did recall center Pascal
Pelletier and winger Darren Archibald from Utica of the American Hockey
It is unknown if Luongo will get the call on back-to-back nights or if rookie
Eddie Lack will make his third career start. Luongo is 15-11-1 with a 2.32 GAA
and three shutouts in 28 games versus the Blues.
The Canucks are 3-0-2 in their last five meetings with the Blues, but have
dropped three of the past four in St. Louis.
The Sports Network