BLUES (14-14-5) at CANUCKS (20-15-0)
Last 10: St. Louis 4-5-1; Vancouver 6-4-0
Season series: Second of four meetings this season. St. Louis pounded Vancouver 6-1 on home ice on Nov. 10 behind a hat trick from David Perron. Andy McDonald, Erik Johnson and Brad Boyes also scored for the Blues and goaltender Chris Mason stopped 22 shots. Henrik Sedin ended his shutout bid with a goal early in the third for the Canucks.
Big story: Vancouver doesn't want to have to worry about making up lots of ground when it plays 14 straight away from G.M. Place between Jan. 30-March 10 (eight games before the Olympic break, six after). Right now the Canucks are enjoying an eight-game homestand, part of the reward for that epic road trip down the line, and they're doing exactly what they needed to by winning four of the first five to move within one point of Detroit for eighth in the Western Conference.
Blues: At this point in the season a team is usually what its record suggests, and St. Louis has certainly fit the bill of a .500 club during the month of December. Inconsistency has plagued the Blues for most of the season, and after winning three of their first four they’ve dropped three of their next four. That includes a 6-3 loss at Scottrade Center to the Lightning on Friday.
"I would almost call this loss tonight dumb," coach Andy Murray said. "It was a dumb loss. The goals we gave up … to me, the game against Edmonton (Dec. 11) in the third period, in our own building, we got pushed around. Tonight, we just played dumb.
"I'm responsible here. I'm the head coach, and it doesn't sit well with me. We've got to talk about what we can do better as coaches as well."
Canucks: Bouncing back after a 3-2 loss to Anaheim on Wednesday, a pair of Mason Raymond goals helped Vancouver beat Washington by the same score Friday. Raymond netted his second of the game on a power play with 6:04 remaining, snapping a 2-2 tie. Ryan Kesler also scored and Roberto Luongo made 25 saves for the Canucks.
''We stayed with it and got some big goals there by Raymond,'' said Luongo, who stopped Alexander Semin on a penalty shot with 5:45 left to prevent the Capitals from tying the score.
Who's hot:T.J. Oshie has three goals and an assist in his last four games for the Blues. Paul Kariya has contributed four assists in as many games.
Raymond now has five goals in as many games and is second on the Canucks with 14 this season. Kesler has four goals and two assists in his last six games. Henrik Sedin had an assist against the Capitals to extend his points streak to nine straight games.
Injury report: St. Louis forward D.J. King remains on injured reserve following hand surgery and defenseman Eric Brewer is also sidelined with a lower-body injury.
Vancouver defenseman Alexander Edler should be back soon from a left arm injury, but forwards Pavol Demitra, Alexandre Bolduc and Michael Grabner are all on injured reserve.
Stat pack: Perron leads the Blues in goals with 12 but has gone without one in 16 of their 17 games since the hat trick against the Canucks. He last lit the lamp in a two-goal effort against the Islanders on Nov. 21.
Puck drop: Vancouver finishes up its homestand with games against Nashville and Edmonton before heading out on a four-game road trip. With a couple wins, the Canucks might be able to head out back in the top eight in the West.