MAPLE LEAFS (19-30-11) at BLUES (26-25-9)
Last 10 -- Toronto 2-6-2; St. Louis 4-4-2
Season series -- This is the only meeting this season. Last year, the Blues erased a 3-0 first-period deficit for a 5-4 road shootout win on Oct. 8. St. Louis scored three goals in the second period to trail 4-3 after 40 minutes before Paul Kariya scored the tying goal. Andy McDonald and Brad Boyes scored in the shootout and Manny Legace earned the win in goal.
Big story -- The Maple Leafs have been off since Monday. Since the two big deals to acquire Dion Phaneuf and Jean-Sebastien Giguere, they've done well to go 2-2-0 against San Jose, Ottawa and New Jersey (twice). They've even begun to audition a bit of their future by promoting 19-year-old Nazem Kadri earlier this week. The Blues are still sputtering at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, having gone 9-8-3 since bringing in Davis Payne to replace Andy Murray. They are six points away from the final playoff berth.
Maple Leafs -- This is Toronto's final game before the Olympic break. The Leafs last played on Monday, a 3-2 loss at home against the Sharks. Ryane Clowe scored with less than seven minutes left in the third period to give San Jose the win.
"I thought we outplayed a pretty good team," Giguere said. "They're obviously one of the better teams in this league, and being as young as we are, being able to outplay them is a really good sign for us."
With Christian Hanson and Fredrik Sjostrom falling ill before the game, Kadri, Toronto's first-round draft pick from 2009, was called up from London of the Ontario Hockey League on an emergency basis to make his NHL debut. Kadri had 26 goals and 66 points in 42 games with the Knights.
Blues -- This is the second game on a three-game homestand that began with a 4-3 shootout victory against Detroit on Tuesday. St. Louis plays its final game before the Olympic break on Saturday, hosting the Capitals.
The Blues squandered a 3-1 lead with less than six minutes remaining in the third period, but T.J. Oshie and Boyes scored against goaltender Jimmy Howard in the shootout. Kariya scored twice for his first goals at home in more than 15 months.
"Get the win first, but it was nice to get that monkey off my back at home," Kariya said. "I don't know what happened there, but it's behind us. Hopefully, they start flooding now."
McDonald also scored in regulation for the Blues, who have had trouble protecting leads all season and had to rally playing on consecutive nights after losing 5-2 at Colorado on Monday. St. Louis is an NHL-worst 10-16-5 at home and has blown a lead in the third period eight times this season.
Who's hot -- For the Maple Leafs, Kessel has 4 goals and 3 assists in three games, Bozak has 3 goals and an assist in three games, Luke Schenn has 2 goals and an assist in three games and Kaberle has a goal and 3 assists in four games. ... For the Blues, T.J. Oshie has 5 assists in six games, and ex-Leaf Alex Steen has 2 goals and 2 assists in five games.
Injury report -- For the Maple Leafs, Mikhail Grabovski (broken wrist), Mike Komisarek (shoulder), and Mike Van Ryn (knee) are on injured reserve, and Christian Hanson (illness) and Fredrik Sjostrom (illness) are day-to-day.
Stat pack -- Since his rookie season of 2005-06, Phaneuf leads all NHL defensemen in goals (75), power-play goals (48), game-winning goals (21) and shots (1,162). … The Blues have earned points in six of their last eight home games at Scottrade Center. … St. Louis is 13-0-0 when it scores four or more goals.
Puck drop -- "It's pretty gray right now. We'll make some hard decisions come March 3, but the players have to show us. We've got four games this week. They've shown us some hard work recently, but we need results.
"We've got (two) games before the break. So we're in a holding pattern, that's where we are. This is a big week." -- Blues President John Davidson on whether his team is a seller or buyer at the NHL trade deadline