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Canucks-Blues Preview @NHLdotcom
Canucks-Blues Preview

GAME: Vancouver Canucks (21-12-5) at St. Louis Blues (9-22-5).

TIME: Monday, 8 p.m. EST.

The Canucks need to stop coming up one goal short.

Vancouver - losers of six of its last seven, all by one goal - continues its four-game road trip against the St. Louis Blues, who are trying to become the last team to 10 wins.

The Canucks started the road trip with a 4-3 loss Saturday to division-rival Minnesota. Matt Cooke staked Vancouver to an early lead in the second period, but rookie goaltender Maxime Ouellet gave up three Wild goals in a 4:16 span.

Markus Naslund drew assists on power-play goals by Sami Salo and Bryan Allen for the Canucks.

"For Minnesota, it's too many shots and too many chances," Allen said. "Once they got some pressure in our end, it was tough to overcome."

The loss dropped Vancouver to 1-3-3 in its last seven games and into third place in the Northwest, one point behind the Edmonton Oilers and two in back of the Calgary Flames.

"We did some good things, but we also took too many penalties," said Canucks coach Marc Crawford. "We didn't adhere to the things we need to do for an entire 60 minutes."

Vancouver has won just 10 of 21 one-goal decisions this season.

The Canucks have given up 11 power-play goals in its last eight road games. After this contest, Vancouver will play 13 of its next 16 on the road.

Vancouver defenseman Ed Jovanovski, who has six goals and 22 assists on the season, did not play against the Wild and is day-to-day after injuring his foot blocking a shot in a 4-3 win Wednesday over the Nashville Predators.

St. Louis lost its third straight at the Savvis Center after a 5-4 shooutout loss Saturday to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

Jamal Mayers scored 23 seconds into the game and the Blues also got power-play goals from Dean McAmmond, Doug Weight and Mike Sillinger.

But in a reflection of what has been the Blues' season so far, a pass by McAmmond to the point in the second period went the length of the ice into an empty net.

"I was fairly deflated," McAmmond said. "As for the rest of the guys, I'm sure they weren't excited. But you know what, they said 'Let's not let that beat us' and we battled back."

The Blues have the fewest wins at home (four) and overall (nine). They have used ... different goaltenders this season while giving up a Western Conference-high 142.

St. Louis has dropped 12 of its last 14 at home overall. The Blues are 11-3-1 in their last 14 home games against the Canucks since an 8-0 loss on Dec. 15, 1996.

STANDINGS: Canucks - 47 points, 3rd place, 3 PB, Northwest Division. Blues - 23 points, 5th place, 32 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Canucks - Naslund, 21 goals and 44 points; Todd Bertuzzi, 26 assists and 68 PIM. Blues - Sillinger and McAmmond, 12 goals; Weight, 24 assists and 31 points; Mayers, 88 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Canucks - Power play: 18.6 percent (48 for 258), 10th (tied) in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.7 percent (192 for 235), 16th. Blues - Power play: 15 percent (38 for 254), 24th. Penalty killing: 81.4 percent (184 for 226), 17th (tied).

GOALTENDERS: Canucks - Alex Auld (13-8-3, 2.91 GAA); Ouellet (0-1-1, 4.39). Blues - Curtis Sanford (3-5-1, 2 SO, 2.78); Jason Bacashihua (3-3-0, 3.64).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Canucks, 3-1.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 28, 2004; Canucks, 2-0. At Vancouver, British Columbia, Johan Hedberg made 31 saves to earn the victory while Artem Chubarov and Mattias Ohlund each scored.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canucks - 7-9-2 on the road; Blues - 4-12-3 at home.

Associated Press
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