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Battered Blues take on red-hot Canucks

by Deborah Francisco /
CANUCKS (18-8-4) AT BLUES (15-11-5)


Last 10 --
Vancouver 8-1-1; St. Louis 3-5-2

Season Series --
This will be the second meeting of four between the Canucks and Blues this season. St. Louis edged the Canucks 3-2 at Rogers Arena on Dec. 5.

Big Story --
The St. Louis Blues have suffered several injuries to key players, four of whom will be missing from the lineup on Monday night. Meanwhile, Vancouver is 8-1-1 in its last 10 games, and has won three straight.

Team Scope:

Canucks -- Vancouver comes in on a roll, having most recently defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 on Saturday night in a comprehensive game that demonstrated how dominant the Canucks can be when they execute their system.

"It was a close game score-wise most of it, but I thought we had control of the game," Henrik Sedin said. "I thought we had the play most of the time."

Blues --
The Blues have been plagued with injury after injury this season. The squad is without defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (upper body) and forwards David Perron (concussion), Dave Scatchard (lower body), Andy McDonald (concussion) and T.J. Oshie (ankle).

The team was tested on Saturday night in a rough 4-1 loss to the Sharks.

"We didn't pass that test," coach Davis Payne said. "It started in the first period for sure, outworked to the puck, outworked at the puck. It was a pretty flat start for our hockey club.

"These are areas that we take a lot of pride in. We didn't meet our standard. We'll address that. We'll address it here tonight. We'll address it again (Sunday) and make sure on Monday when Vancouver shows up, we're back where we need to be."

Who’s Hot --
Daniel Sedin extended his point streak to 10 games with a first-period assist on Alex Burrows’ sixth goal. … David Backes leads the Blues in points this season with 24 and has four points in his last two games.

Injury Report --
Vancouver is missing defenseman Sami Salo (Achilles) and forwards Guillaume Desbiens (hand), Mason Raymond (hand), Peter Schaefer (undisclosed) and Rick Rypien (personal). … St. Louis did receive one piece of good news on the injury front Sunday as defenseman Roman Polak was activated off injured reserve. He hasn't played since Oct. 23 due to a wrist injury that required surgery.

Stat Pack --
The Blues have given up 13 goals in their last three games; however, Jaroslav Halak is 3-1-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average in his career against the Canucks. Roberto Luongo is 2-3-0 with a 3.01 GAA in his last six appearances against the Blues.

Puck Drop --
On facing a battered Blues squad, Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa said, "St. Louis has always played us tough. We can't ever take those guys lightly. They're a big, strong team. It's always a battle against them. Regardless of who's in their lineup, we can't expect anything less than a hard-fought game."

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