GAME: St. Louis Blues (23-12-5-1) at Montreal Canadiens (21-16-5-2).
TIME: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
Sheldon Souray had never given any indication he was anything more than a
stay-at-home defenseman who wasn't afraid to throw his weight around.
Souray will look to continue his surprising offensive season when the
red-hot Montreal Canadiens host the St. Louis Blues.
Souray, who had never recorded more than 11 points in any of his previous
six seasons, has emerged as one of the best offensive defenseman in the league
this season. He is tied with Rob Blake of Colorado and Chris Pronger of St.
Louis for second among defenseman in scoring with 32 points, seven behind
league leader Sergei Gonchar of Washington.
The 27-year-old blueliner set a Montreal single-game record for points by a
defenseman with a goal and five assists in an 8-0 rout of Pittsburgh on
Saturday, the Canadiens' fifth win in their last seven games (5-1-1).
Souray broke the team record of five points, shared by Hall of Fame
defensemen Doug Harvey and Lyle Odelein, assisting on each of Montreal's first
five goals -- the first four on the power play -- before scoring midway through
the third period on a slap shot from the left point off a faceoff.
Souray's five assists were one short of the Montreal record of six, set by
Elmer Lach in an 8-3 win over Boston on Feb. 6, 1943.
"When I scored a hat trick (Dec. 18 against Detroit), I said it was the
first time I did that since a father-son game -- and I don't remember having six
points in that game," said Souray, whose previous career highs were four
points and three assists.
"This is probably the first time for me."
Michael Ryder, who had two goals and two assists in the rout, said Souray
made his job a lot easier.
"Souray has a great shot and when he shoots the puck, it's so hard the
rebound's usually right there," said Ryder, who leads NHL rookies with 31
points on 11 goals and 20 assists. "I just went to the net and stood around
and the puck managed to bounce out and I whacked it in."
The Blues ended a four-game winless streak (0-3-1) with a 7-4 victory over
Chicago on Monday. Reinhard Divis rescued the Blues after replacing ineffective
starter Chris Osgood in goal in the second period, stopping 15 of 15 shots the
rest of the way.
Pronger, who had two goals and an assist on Monday, has three goals and six
points in six games this month.