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Canucks face Blues to end seven-game trip

by John Kreiser /

CANUCKS (7-4-1) at BLUES (5-1-1)


Last 10: Vancouver 6-3-1

Season series: It's the first of three meetings this season between the Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues, and the only one at Scottrade Center. St. Louis won twice in shootouts last season, with the Canucks taking the only game decided in 60 minutes.

Big story: Vancouver's seven-game trip comes to an end with a huge challenge: The Canucks are playing back-to-back games against a team that's at home and has had a week off. Vancouver comes to St. Louis with a 4-1-1 mark on the trip after a 3-2 shootout victory against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.

Team Scope:

Canucks: Vancouver is piling up points on its trip despite losing players. The Canucks beat the New York Islanders 5-4 in overtime Tuesday despite losing center Jannik Hansen with an upper-body injury. They topped the Devils even though David Booth and Dale Weise left with lower-body injuries.

But the Canucks still had Roberto Luongo, who stopped all 17 shots he faced in the third period and denied New Jersey's three attempts in the shootout for the win.

"It's probably his best period (this season)," coach John Tortorella said of Luongo's third-period heroics. "He's still trying to get his game to where he wants it, but he was outstanding and certainly gave us a chance to get the point and also earned us the second one."

Blues: A 4-3 shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets last Friday is a distant memory for a team that hasn't played in a week. The Blues headed off to Charleston, S.C., for a four-day team-bonding trip while practicing at the Carolina Ice Palace. They continued working out after returning to St. Louis, but as center Derek Roy told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "It's hard to get the battle drills that you'll get in a game. We tried our best this week to work hard and make sure our battle level stayed high."

St. Louis is 1-1-1 in its past three games after a 4-0-0 start; the Blues have allowed 11 goals in those three games after surrendering seven in the four wins.

Who's hot: Luongo is 4-0-1 on the trip, though he may sit in favor of Eddie Lack because the Canucks are playing on back-to-back nights. Luongo is 10-5-1 lifetime against the Blues. … Alexander Steen has seven goals in the Blues' seven games and David Backes has six; the rest of the team has 13.

Injury report: With Hansen, Weise and Booth all sidelined, Vancouver recalled center Pascal Pelletier and winger Darren Archibald from the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League. Vancouver was already without forwards Alexandre Burrows (foot) and Jordan Schroeder (ankle). … The Blues report no injuries, but they'll be without forward Maxim Lapierre, who's sitting out a five-game suspension for a hit on Dan Boyle of the San Jose Sharks 10 days ago.

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