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First-place Thrashers set to host Blues

by Brian Compton /
BLUES (15-12-5) at THRASHERS (19-11-5)

Last 10: St. Louis 3-5-2; Atlanta 6-2-2.

Season Series: This is the second and final meeting between the teams. St. Louis earned a 4-3 shootout victory against Atlanta on Oct. 30 at the Scottrade Center. Blues forward Jay McClement notched his first career hat trick in the victory.

Big Story: Ladies and gentlemen, your first-place Atlanta Thrashers. That's right -- with Monday's 6-3 win at Toronto, the Thrashers moved past Washington and Tampa Bay and now sit atop the Southeast Division. Atlanta has earned points in 14 of its last 16 games.

"Our feeling in the dressing room is that everyone's involved in the offense," Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said. "Everybody has to be involved in the offense. We don't designate a scorer, we don't designate checkers. We expect everybody to participate, and that's what we're getting."

Team Scope:

Blues: The woes continued for St. Louis on Monday night as it lost for the fourth time in five games with a 3-1 defeat to the Vancouver Canucks at the Scottrade Center. The Blues mustered only 16 shots on goal, while Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves in the loss.

The Blues are in the middle of a 15-game stretch, with 12 of those contests at home.

"There wasn't a lot of space or opportunity to be had out there," coach Davis Payne said of Monday's loss. "You had to fight for everything you got. We beat people with real smart, predictable plays on our own part. That's something we're going to have to address and make sure it shows up in Atlanta."

Thrashers: Tobias Enstrom had a big game against the Leafs, as he tallied two goals and two assists, while Freddy Modin added two goals against his former team. Anthony Stewart and Andrew Ladd also scored.

"Everyone has confidence in each other," defenseman Dustin Byfuglien said. "The 'D' core's been great. The more you play, the more comfortable you are and the more confidence you have in everybody."

Who's Hot: Byfuglien had two more assists Monday night and leads all NHL defensemen with 35 points this season.

Injury Report: The Blues will be without David Perron (concussion), Andy McDonald (concussion) and T.J. Oshie (ankle).

Stat Pack: Blues winger B.J. Crombeen appeared in his 200th NHL game on Monday night, while teammate Alex Steen notched his third goal in two games against the Canucks this season.

Puck Drop: "If I see a chance to jump up I can go and not worry about sticking to a plan. I'm always going to have someone backing me up. They all know I've played forward and they all know I'm not afraid to jump up and go in front of the net on a rush." -- Thrashers defenseman Dustin Byfuglien
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