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Canucks-Blues Preview @NHLdotcom
Canucks-Blues Preview

GAME: Vancouver Canucks (28-15-5) at St. Louis Blues (10-29-7).

TIME: Monday, 8 p.m. EST.

The Vancouver Canucks will try to build on their best period of hockey in 14 years as they begin a season-high, seven-game road trip against the St. Louis Blues.

The Canucks have won four straight and seven of eight, a stretch during which they've won three of four on the road. This trip begins with consecutive games against the worst teams in the Western Conference - St. Louis and Columbus.

Vancouver scored six goals in less than 14 minutes in a 6-2 win over Montreal on Saturday. Henrik Sedin led the flurry with a goal and two assists while Mattias Ohlund added a goal and an assist.

Todd Bertuzzi and Daniel Sedin each had two assists for the Canucks, who tied a team record last achieved in 1992 with their first-period output.

"I don't think we've had a period like that, probably ever," said Canucks left wing Markus Naslund, who scored a power-play goal. "We got some bounces and they came out flat and it was a combination of all of that."

The Canucks have been anything but flat lately, outscoring their last four opponents 22-6. They'll look to continue that success on the road, where they're averaging just 2.79 goals per game and have a 10-12-2 record.

At home, they're 18-3-3 while averaging 4.0 goals per contest.

Alex Auld made 24 saves on Saturday in his 10th consecutive start for Vancouver, which has 61 points and is tied with Calgary for the Northwest Division lead.

"It's nice to be able to work on staying focused," said Auld, who improved to 20-11-3. "I had to make sure I stayed sharp. I knew a quick goal at any time could change the momentum, so you have to stay in it."

Defenseman Ed Jovanovski has missed 11 games with a groin injury, but has resumed skating and will accompany Vancouver on the road. Jovanovski has six goals and 22 assists in 37 games this season.

While the Canucks continue to tally wins, the Blues have not won since they beat Vancouver 4-1 on Jan. 2. St. Louis has since lost nine in a row and the last two have come in shootouts, including Friday's 4-3 defeat to Columbus.

The Blues outshot the Blue Jackets 44-35, including 10-5 in overtime, but were shut out in the shootout.

"We should have won," said Blues center Doug Weight, who had an assist and leads the team with 41 points. "We should have won the game. We outchanced them 8-1 in overtime."

St. Louis tied a franchise record with two short-handed goals, scored by Mike Sillinger and Dennis Wideman. Dean McAmmond also scored for the Blues while Dallas Drake and Jamal Mayers each had two assists.

Starting goalie Jason Bacashihua was placed on injured reserve Sunday after hurting his left shoulder in the defeat. Curtis Sanford is expected to start in his place and Chris Beckford-Tseu was recalled from the ECHL to serve as the backup.

The Blues hope to avoid matching their season-high, 10-game losing streak from Oct. 20-Nov. 12.

STANDINGS: Canucks - 61 points, 1st place (tied), Northwest Division. Blues - 27 points, 5th place, 40 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Canucks - Naslund, 23 goals and 52 points; Sedin, 33 assists; Bertuzzi, 78 PIM. Blues - Sillinger, 18 goals; Weight, 31 assists and 41 points; Mayers, 100 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Canucks - Power play: 19.7 percent (63 for 320), 7th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.0 percent (241 for 294), 17th. Blues - Power play: 15.2 percent (47 for 310), 25th. Penalty killing: 80.4 percent (225 for 280), 22nd.

GOALTENDERS: Canucks - Auld (20-11-3, 2.71 GAA); Maxime Ouellet (0-1-1, 4.39). Blues - Sanford (4-10-3, 2 SO, 2.96); Beckford-Tseu (no appearances).

SEASON SERIES: Blues, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 2; Blues, 4-1. At St. Louis, Sillinger had two goals and an assist, and Sanford made 30 saves to lead the Blues to victory.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canucks - 10-12-2 on the road; Blues - 5-14-3 at home.

Associated Press
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