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Rangers hope to halt Blues' six-game win streak

by Brian Hunter
BLUES (8-1-2) at RANGERS (7-5-1)


Last 10:
St. Louis 7-1-2; New York 6-4-0

Season Series:
First of two meetings this season, with the teams facing off again at Scottrade Center on Jan. 8, 2011. St. Louis won both matchups last season, with backup goalie Ty Conklin besting Henrik Lundqvist 4-3 at Madison Square Garden in the most recent game on March 18.

Big Story: Conklin could be in line to start Sunday with the Blues playing their second game on the road in as many nights, but coach Davis Payne is probably having trouble these days justifying sitting Jaroslav Halak for any reason. With Saturday's 2-1 shootout win over the Bruins, he's now 8-1-1 with a 1.46 goals-against average and .944 save percentage.

"He was solid again," Payne said. "He makes a lot of key saves for us when we make mistakes. That's why he is the goaltender he is."

Team Scope:

Blues: This is the second stop on a three-game road trip for St. Louis. Home, road, it doesn't matter these days -- the Blues are winning everywhere. They'll be going for their seventh in a row Sunday.

Contributions are coming from throughout the lineup. Vladimir Sobotka scored his first of the season Saturday against his former team, then T.J. Oshie and Brad Boyes scored on the Blues' two shootout attempts. The only thing that kept it from being a perfect night was Halak losing a bid for his fourth shutout in five starts on Gregory Campbell's goal with seven minutes left in regulation. It snapped a scoreless streak of 150:03 for Halak.

Rangers: If Halak does get the start, it'll be a battle of the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object, with the Blueshirts' Brandon Dubinsky representing the unstoppable force. He scored twice Friday in a 3-0 win at New Jersey to tie Steven Stamkos and Patrick Sharp for the NHL lead in goal scoring with 10 for the season. Lundqvist put on a goaltending clinic of his own, meanwhile, stopping all 33 shots he faced for his 26th career shutout.

"Henrik is Henrik, it's what's to be expected," coach John Tortorella said. "It's something I've always appreciated about him the short time I've been with him, he's a competitor. You don't have to worry about how he's going to handle himself. He's got that in him, and I truly respect that about him."

Who's Hot: Oshie's shootout goal doesn't count in his stats, but his 10 points for the season pace the Blues. … Dubinsky now has 5 goals in the Rangers' last three games.

Injury Report:
St. Louis forward David Perron missed Saturday's game with concussion-like symptoms. Defensemen Barret Jackman (sprained knee), Carlo Colaiacovo (concussion) and Roman Polak (wrist surgery) are on injured reserve. … New York forward Ryan Callahan (neck) sat out Friday and is day-to-day. Forwards Marian Gaborik (separated shoulder), Chris Drury (broken finger) and Vinny Prospal (knee surgery) are on injured reserve.

Stat Pack:
The Blues' six-game winning streak is their longest since 2003. … Brian Boyle of the Rangers already has a career-high 5 goals after scoring Friday against the Devils.

Puck Drop:
Perron was on the receiving end Thursday of the Joe Thornton hit that earned the San Jose captain a two-game suspension. Perron was able to return to that game and even scored a goal, leading some to charge he embellished the force of the check. St. Louis president John Davidson took exception with such criticism.

"That's what's really disappointing," Davidson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "to know there were people out there actually being critical of him and questioning the validity of it. It should be a lesson to everyone. Look at Boston's Marc Savard (out with a concussion), his symptoms didn't show up until a little later and he's still trying to get back.

"And what does it say about the kind of guts David Perron has, to come back after that and score a big goal the way he did?"

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