CANUCKS (23-16-1) at BLUES (17-17-5)
Last 10 -- Vancouver 7-2-1; St. Louis 4-6-0
Season series -- This is the third of four meetings. On Nov. 10, the Blues scored four times in the first 7:36 of the first period en route to a 6-1 home win. Andy McDonald, Brad Boyes and David Perron totaled 10 points, with Perron recording his first career hat trick. On Dec. 20, David Backes scored twice to lead St. Louis to a 3-1 road win.
Big story -- The Blues have not posted a victory at Scottrade Center since Dec. 15 and have the NHL's worst home record. They won only one of six home games in October and three of eight in November. Thus far in December, St. Louis is one for six. "We obviously have to change this," forward Alex Steen told the Post-Dispatch. "Our record at home is not getting us in the playoffs right now. That's the thing that needs to change ... if we want to be a playoff team we have to turn this around really quickly at home."
Canucks -- This is the third game on a four-game road trip for Vancouver that began with a 5-1 victory against Calgary on Sunday and was followed by a 3-2 shootout loss against Phoenix on Tuesday. The Canucks are playing their fourth game in six days.
Monday's defeat snapped Vancouver's three-game winning streak, but the Canucks still earned a point, their first bonus marker of the season, in the shootout loss. For the fourth time this season, the Canucks failed to extend a three-game winning streak.
In the contest, defenseman Kevin Bieksa suffered a nasty gash to his left leg, just above his ankle, on a collision with Petr Prucha. Two seasons ago, he missed 47 games after his calf was cleaved open by Vernon Fiddler's skate. "It's horrible," Bieksa told the Vancouver Sun. "It doesn't help when they score on the play, too, and it's my guy because I can't get back to the net." Prucha was unchecked at the top of the crease and converted Radim Vrbata's pass.
Also on Tuesday, Vancouver waived veteran defenseman Mathieu Schneider. If Schneider fails to clear waivers, the Canucks will use Aaron Rome as their sixth defenseman at St. Louis and recall a player from their AHL affiliate in Manitoba.
Blues -- This is the third game in a four-game homestand for St. Louis that began with a 5-3 loss against Buffalo on Sunday and a 4-3 loss against Nashville on Tuesday. The Blues are playing their fourth game in six days.
"In order for us to get points and win hockey games, I've got to be there and be better than I have been the last few games," said goaltender Chris Mason, who stopped 26 of 30 shots in Monday's defeat. "At home, I know our wins aren't there, but I didn't know the statistics were that drastic. It's unacceptable."
The Blues, who got a goal and an assist from Steen and goals from Carlo Colaiacovo and Andy McDonald, own the NHL's worst home record at 6-13-2. They've lost seven of their last eight at home. Steen and McDonald's goals came midway through the third period to cut Nashville's lead to one goal, but the Blues failed to notch the equalizer.
Who's hot -- For the Canucks, Daniel Sedin has 2 goals and 5 assists in four games, Henrik Sedin has 3 goals and 4 assists in four games, Sami Salo has 2 goals and 3 assists in eight games, Alexandre Burrows has 3 assists in four games, and Mason Raymond has 3 goals and an assist in three games. For the Blues, Patrik Berglund has 3 goals and 3 assists in five games, Steen has 4 goals and 4 assists in five games, Brad Boyes has a goal and 8 assists in nine games, and David Perron has 2 goals and an assist in five games.
Injury report -- For the Canucks, Pavol Demitra (shoulder) is on injured reserve, and Ryan Johnson (foot) and Bieksa (leg) are day-to-day. For the Blues, D.J. King (hand) is on injured reserve, and Paul Kariya (upper-body) is day-to-day.
Stat pack -- Keith Tkachuk is six power-play goals short of 100 in his career with the Blues. …. In the last 18 games, twin brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin have consistently produced well over a point-per-game average for the Canucks. Henrik has recorded 27 points (5-22-27) and Daniel has produced 24 (9-15-24).
Puck drop -- "When you start the season, you're going for 82 points at home. We have 21 home games left. In my calculations that's 42 points -- and we need to go after every single point." -- Blues coach Andy Murray to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch