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Hurricanes try to cool off Steen, Blues

by Brian Hunter

HURRICANES (8-7-4) at BLUES (12-2-3)


Last 10: Carolina 4-5-1; St. Louis 7-1-2

Season series: This is the first of two meetings between the Carolina Hurricanes and St. Louis Blues. In their most recent matchup, Cam Ward stopped all 40 shots he faced for his 200th NHL victory as the Hurricanes won 2-0 in Raleigh on March 15, 2012.

Big story: Blues wing Alexander Steen scored eight goals in 40 games during the abbreviated 2012-13 season. He had 15 goals in 43 games the season before that.

Seventeen games into the 2013-14 season, Steen has an NHL-leading 16 goals after scoring twice Thursday. He's eight away from matching his career high set in 68 games during the 2009-10 season, and he carries a 12-game point streak (12 goals, four assists) into Saturday.

Team Scope:

Hurricanes: Carolina finished a five-game homestand Friday, with the final three coming against tough Western Conference competition in the Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks. The Hurricanes went 2-0-1 during that stretch and now face another challenge as they visit the Blues, who are 8-1-2 at Scottrade Center.

Justin Peters has appeared in 10 straight games and started nine in a row, going 4-0-1 in his past five. Peters came up huge in a 3-2 shootout win against the Ducks on Friday, stopping 30 shots through 65 minutes and denying two of three attempts in the penalty-shot tiebreaker. Riley Nash and Chris Terry had shootout goals to lift the Hurricanes.

"I've known [Peters] for a long time and he's the hardest-working guy I've seen," Terry said. "I've seen him excel in Charlotte and win us games down there. I know it's in him. It's great to see his work ethic is paying off and he's playing tremendous up here."

Blues: In danger of going consecutive games without picking up a point for the first time this season, St. Louis showed off the NHL's third-ranked offense in a 7-3 thumping of Colorado on Thursday.

Steen is the most notable name on the Blues at the moment, but he was far from the only guy racking up stats against the Avalanche. T.J. Oshie set up four goals. David Backes and Derek Roy each finished with a goal and two assists. Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Pietrangelo also had multi-point nights.

"We were able to roll four lines, four lines that were willing to play hard on the puck and win battles along the walls and just kind of keep them [in] it, and getting into the O-zone and let some skill interchange and shots with traffic at the net," Backes said. "… A good win for our guys, but it's one win out of 17 so far. There's 82 in the year."

Who's hot: Peters has stopped 138 of 144 shots during his five-game run for the Hurricanes, a .958 save percentage. … Steen is as hot as anyone in hockey, while Kevin Shattenkirk has quietly but steadily produced offense from the blue line for the Blues, with one goal and nine assists in his past 10 games.

Injury report: Ward (lower body) and backup Anton Khudobin (lower body) are on injured reserve, as is forward Jeff Skinner (upper body). Defenseman Tim Gleason (upper body) and forward Kevin Westgarth (upper body) were also out Friday. … St. Louis defenseman Jordan Leopold (hand) and forward Magnus Paajarvi (upper body) are on injured reserve.

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