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Steen, Blues Look for More Success vs. Leafs

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

ST. LOUIS - Despite knowing Alexander Steen quite well, the Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t figured out a way to stop him.

Steen has scored five goals and seven assists (12 points) in seven career games against the Maple Leafs since he was traded by Toronto in 2009 in a deal for Lee Stempniak.

In fact, since the start of the 2013 calendar year, Steen’s 10 points against Toronto is the most scored against them by any player in the Western Conference.

The Blues hope Steen’s dominance of Toronto continues tonight as the teams meet for an early start at 6 p.m. at Scottrade Center (FSMW, KMOX 1120 AM).

The Blues did not hold a morning skate today after arriving around 1 a.m. last night from Brooklyn, where they played well to earn a point in a 2-1 shootout loss against the New York Islanders. Kevin Shattenkirk scored the Blues’ goal in front of more than 100 friends and family, while Brian Elliott stopped 24 of 25 shots in regulation and overtime.

“Really wish we could have gotten Brian a win,” Shattenkirk said after the game. “He’s playing fantastic for us, so that’s the only tough part to swallow.”

“Not very many scoring chances either way,” Steen said of last night’s game. “Unfortunately we had some in the OT and we couldn’t convert them.”

Tonight’s game will be the fourth back-to-back set of the season for the Blues, who are 2-1-0 in the second night of back-to-back games.

The Maple Leafs are 1-4-1 in their last six games and currently rank last in the Atlantic Division (8-13-5, 21 points).

In their last nine games against Toronto, the Blues are 7-0-2 and have hovered 4.33 goals per game.

HARD-HITTING ACTION

Just several days after a game between the New York Rangers and New York Islanders made headlines as the teams dished out a combined 104 hits, the Blues and Islanders topped it on Friday.

Ryan Reaves (7), Troy Brouwer (7), Robert Bortuzzo (6), Carl Gunnarsson (5), Jay Bouwmeester (3) and Kevin Shattenkirk (3) all tied their season-high in hits last night as the Blues landed 53 against the Islanders, which ranks as the second-most in a single-game in franchise history.

The most was Jan. 6, 2011, when the Blues connected on 54 hits vs. Toronto.

Overall, the Blues and Islanders combined for 106 hits last night, which is the highest number for an NHL game this season.

PARAYKO ‘SHOCKS’ BLUES

In the third period Friday, Blues defenseman Colton Parayko got tied up with the Islanders’ Ryan Strome and fell awkwardly with what looked liked a serious leg injury. Parayko was helped off the ice but returned after just a few minutes.

“It was scary,” Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “Obviously something is going on in that blood. The kid is a machine. He gets back up, comes back and plays. I was surprised. I was getting ready to play (with five defensemen) the rest of the way.”

Parayko played eight shifts and had 6 minutes, 5 seconds of ice-time following the injury.

“I was shocked,” Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said of seeing Parayko return. “It’s good news, but I was shocked.”

BLUE NOTES

David Backes has scored six goals and two assists in his last six games against the Maple Leafs.

Tonight’s game will begin at 6 p.m. and will be the featured game for Hockey Night in Canada. Doors to Scottrade Center will open at 4:30 p.m.

The first 12,500 fans at tonight’s game will receive a Blues Camouflage Hat.

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