The Vancouver Canucks (23-13-9) host the red-hot St. Louis Blues (31-12-1) at Rogers Arena tonight. The Canucks are winless in five (0-2-3) after a wild 5-4 shootout loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday that included five goals in the third period while the Blues roll into town on a seven game win streak.
John Tortorella will coach his 900th NHL game tonight.
Zack Kassian had a goal and an assist on Tuesday – his first multi-point game of the season and first in nearly two years (March 3, 2012 vs BUF). Chris Higgins also had 1+1 on Tuesday and now has 12+13=25 in 44 games after registering 10+5=15 in 41 games last year during the lockout-shortened season. Chris Tanev scored on Tuesday and has scored all five of his goals this season in the past 20 games and has four in the last 13.
Mike Santorelli is without a point in his past five games and has 1+0=1 in his past eight games. While playing through a suspected finger injury, Henrik Sedin has now gone 10 games without a goal although he does eight assists during that span.
Eddie Lack will start his third straight game and his sixth in the past eight outings. Including relief duty, he has appeared in eight of the team’s last nine contests. Roberto Luongo skated prior to the team this morning – his first on-ice session since injuring his ankle last Saturday in Los Angeles. Ryan Stanton and Jordan Schroeder were on the ice, too.
The Canucks continue to lead the NHL in penalty killing at 89.0%. They were 2 for 2 against Pittsburgh and have not given up PPG in consecutive games since October 24th and 25th against New Jersey and St. Louis. Also, in the past 16 games, neither the Canucks nor their opponents have had more than four power play opportunities.
The Blues arrive in town after a 5-0 win in Calgary last night. This marks just the third time all season a visitor to Rogers Arena has played the night before.
St. Louis has won seven straight and is 12-1-2 in its past 15 games dating back to December 10th. The Blues have outscored their past four opponents 21-4 and 47-10 over past 10 games. Remarkably, St. Louis is 7-0-1 since 24-goal man Alex Steen left the line-up with a concussion.
The Blues have opened the scoring a league-high 30 times this season and are 26-1-3 in those games. St. Louis averages the most goals per game in the NHL (3.63) and is third defensively (2.21). The Blues have the best goal differential in the league at +61. St. Louis scored twice on the power play last night and is 11/31 (35.5%) over its last nine games.
After watching from the bench last night, Brian Elliott gets the start in goal tonight. He has won seven straight starts giving up just nine goals and posting a pair of shutouts during that stretch.