BLUES (8-5-1) at CANUCKS (8-3-2)
TV: FS-Midwest, Sportsnet-Pacific
Last 10: St. Louis 5-4-1, Vancouver 7-2-1
Season series: First of three, two at Rogers Arena. The teams split at each venue last season and the previous three, the last outright series win going to the Vancouver Canucks in 2007-08.
Big story: Though only a point separates these teams in the Western Conference standings, the St. Louis Blues have the dubious honor of sharing a division with the rampaging Chicago Blackhawks. The result is the Canucks lead the Northwest, while the Blues sit third in the Central, eight points back.
Blues: Sometimes a change of venue can do some good. Clearly it's what the Blues needed as they left for Detroit on Monday. Losers of five straight, including all four games of a homestand, they got another crack at the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena, where the slide began two weeks prior. Alex Steen ended a five-game losing streak in the Motor City with an overtime goal, giving the Blues a 4-3 win.
Then it was off to western Canada and Scotiabank Saddledome. A four-goal first period and a 5-2 win over the Calgary Flames made the mood giddy -- for everyone except maybe coach Ken Hitchcock.
"For us to get to the next level, we have to collectively enjoy the competition and not want it to be something different," Hitchcock said to NHL.com. "For me, we need to find 60 minutes in our game. We've been playing 40 minutes but we've had our foot off the accelerator. We're making some strides but we aren't there yet."
Canucks: Friday should have been a night for celebration. Alex Burrows made the most of a perfect cross-ice pass and buried it past Dallas Stars goalie RIchard Bachman. It gave the Canucks a 3-1 lead well into the second period, and gave Henrik Sedin career point 757, passing Markus Naslund as the all-time top scorer in Canucks history.
The festive atmosphere didn't last, though; the Stars came back with three unanswered goals for a 4-3 win.
"Very disappointing," Henrik told the Vancouver Sun. "I don't really know what happened. I thought we played a good game up to the halfway point and then they took over. Giving up four goals 5-on-5, that never happens with this team."
The crowd's response to the record-setting point was a long standing ovation among video tributes from Naslund and Canucks great Trevor Linden.
"It was very special," Henrik said. "To be a part of something like that and getting a chance to get the record on home ice in front of our fans was an honor and a great feeling out there. It means a lot to me."
Who's hot: Steen followed his game-winner in Detroit with a goal and two assists in Calgary, adding to his five-game points streak and four-game goal-scoring streak. Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk has points in four of his past five games. David Perron scored twice at Calgary. … Henrik may have the all-time accolades, but twin brother Daniel has the edge in goals and points this season (four goals, eight assists vs. zero goals and 10 assists).
Injury report: Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak (groin) skipped Friday's game but may be available to start Sunday. Forward Jamie Langenbrunner (hip) had surgery and likely is out for the season. … Canucks forward Manny Malhotra was placed on injured reserve Thursday because he has not adapted sufficiently after his eye injury in March 2011 and was deemed vulnerable to serious injury. Forward David Booth (groin) has been making progress but no return date has been set.