Ryan Miller might not necessarily have had this game circled on his calendar when the season began but he has had a lot of time to look forward to it. In fact, he had a little more time than he anticipated after being yanked from the net just over a minute into the second period of Tuesday's 6-3 loss to the Stars after he allowed five goals on just 13 shots faced. Miller will hope to rebound with a much better performance when he leads his new team back to his former temporary stomping grounds. Although an official announcement was not made, the early indications after yesterday's optional practice suggested that Miller would get the call for tonight's tilt. One thing we know for certain is that Blues goaltender Brian Elliott, who served as Miller's understudy for the latter part of last season, won't be between the pipes for St. Louis. That duty will, instead, fall to 24-year-old rookie Jake Allen as confirmed by Blues coach Ken Hitchcock.
The Blues have been enjoying or, perhaps more accurately, enduring a three-day break and should be eager to hit the ice tonight to try to erase the memory of a 3-0 blanking at the hands of the Ducks on Sunday. Pegged by many as a Cup contender this season, the Blues have been off to a slow start winning just two of their first five games. They're also missing prized free agent acquisition Paul Stastny after the ex-Avalanche suffered a shoulder injury in a win over the Coyotes last Saturday. Stastny may not be the only player missing from the lineup as the Blues are currently dealing with the flu bug which could lead to some game-time decisions as far as their lineup is concerned. The Blues finished with the third-best record overall in the NHL last season but couldn't find a way to beat the Canucks losing all three head-to-head meetings.
Puck drop at 5 pm PT – Live on Sportsnet Vancouver Hockey, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
Regular Season Record
2014.15 Season Series
Keys to the Game
Survive the first period. In their last two games, the Canucks have been out-scored by a combined 5-1 in opening frames. Vancouver doesn't need to come out on fire on offence tonight to start the game but they can't lose control and give the game away in the opening 20 minutes either. The Blues have yet to lose a game when opening the scoring this season, but have yet to win when giving up the first goal.
Vancouver's PK steps up. In their two wins this season, the Blues are a combined 6-for-9 on the man-advantage. In their three losses, they are a combined 0-for-11. The task for Vancouver's penalty killers is simple – keep St. Louis off the scoresheet. Even better yet, maybe stay out of the penalty box altogether.
Push the pace. Even without the currently-injured Stastny the Blues have more than their fair share of offensively-gifted players. Maybe Hitch ought to let them loose. The Blues are averaging just 2.40 goals per game this season. They scored just three goals in three games against the Canucks last season.
By the Numbers
Save percentage for Eddie Lack against the Blues last season. He won all three starts vs. St. Louis.
Third period goal allowed by the Canucks this season. Only Chicago (0) has surrendered fewer.
Career start against the Canucks for Jake Allen tonight. He is 1-1-0 with a 2.90 GAA and .880 save percentage.
Straight games without a regulation loss for the Canucks in head-to-head meetings against the Blues (6-0-2).
Games played - regular season plus playoffs - by Ryan Miller as a member of the Blues last season.
Faceoff win percentage for the Canucks this season – among the worst in the NHL.