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Preview: Canucks at Blues

St. Louis without center Paul Stastny; Ryan Miller starts in goal for Vancouver

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

CANUCKS (29-34-9) at BLUES (39-28-5)

8 p.m. ET; FS-MW, SNP, NHL.TV


Canucks team scope

The Vancouver Canucks will get Nikolay Goldobin back after the right wing missed the past six games with the flu; he lost 15 pounds. "I missed a lot of games and I'm excited to be back," Goldobin said. "I'm feeling great better than 10 days ago." Coach Willie Desjardins will play Goldobin on a line with center Brandon Sutter and left wing Jack Skille. "He's got good skill," Desjardins said of Goldobin. "As a player, he's got a good skill level, but it doesn't matter where your skill level is, you just have to be engaged and you have to be willing to play hard. There are some things we're going to want to see out of him. The more he's with us, the more he should get. He has missed a lot with being sick." The Canucks, who will start Ryan Miller in goal for the 13th time in 15 games, are not mathematically eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but they trail the Nashville Predators by 16 points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with 10 games remaining. Vancouver is 1-4-2 in its past seven games after winning 5-4 in overtime at the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday despite being outshot 44-15. "Our group has played hard," Desjardins said. "The game we probably didn't deserve to win was the Chicago game, but a couple games before that, I think we could have won them."


Blues team scope

The Blues, who have won eight of nine, are tied with the Nashville Predators for third place in the Central Division but hold the tiebreaker based on more regulation/overtime wins (38-34). They'll try to hold off the Predators without No. 1 center Paul Stastny, who will be out for at least a week. Stastny took a shot off his right foot in the first period and had to leave a 4-2 road win against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. Coach Mike Yeo initially thought the injury was a tweak of something else, but an examination Wednesday showed that it was in fact related to being hit with teammate Vladimir Tarasenko's wrist shot. "Surprised [Wednesday] for sure," Yeo said. "It was interesting. He blocked a shot in the game obviously, left the game, and we assumed he left the game because of something else, so we didn't really think it would be a big deal. But obviously [Wednesday] we get some news that he's going to be out and we'll just have to deal with it now." For the Blues, it's a next-man-up mentality. "That's been the thought process all year," captain Alex Pietrangelo said. "You never want to see a guy like that, you don't want to see anybody get hurt, but Paul's such an important part in every aspect of our game. He plays in every situation, plays big minutes. Next man up is kind of the mindset you have to have at this time of the year." Jake Allen, who has a 1.72 goals-against average and .942 save percentage since Yeo took over on Feb. 1, will start.


Canucks projected lineup

Daniel Sedin -- Henrik Sedin -- Michael Chaput

Sven Baertschi -- Bo Horvat -- Reid Boucher

Jack Skille -- Brandon Sutter -- Nikolay Goldobin

Joe Labate -- Drew Shore -- Alex Biega

Alexander Edler -- Troy Stecher

Luca Sbisa -- Christopher Tanev

Ben Hutton -- Nikita Tryamkin

Ryan Miller

Richard Bachman

Scratched: Philip Larsen, Joseph Cramarossa

Injured: Markus Granlund (wrist), Jacob Markstrom (illness), Derek Dorsett (back), Erik Gudbranson (wrist), Anton Rodin (knee), Loui Eriksson (knee), Jayson Megna (upper body), Brendan Gaunce (hand)


Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Alexander Steen -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Zach Sanford -- Patrik Berglund -- David Perron

Magnus Paajarvi -- Ivan Barbashev -- Nail Yakupov

Scottie Upshall -- Kyle Brodziak -- Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester -- Alex Pietrangelo

Joel Edmundson -- Colton Parayko

Carl Gunnarsson -- Robert Bortuzzo

Jake Allen

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Jordan Schmaltz

Injured: Paul Stastny (foot), Robby Fabbri (knee), Jori Lehtera (upper body), Dmitrij Jaskin (upper body)


Status report

Desjardins said Megna could be back quicker than anticipated, perhaps at the end of the five-game trip. He skated Thursday morning. Gaunce is likely another week away after the trip, Desjardins said. Markstrom, who has missed the past 11 games due to injury/illness, will join the team on the trip but probably won't play. ... With Stastny out, Yakupov will dress for the fifth time in 21 games. Steen moves into Stastny's role as the top-line center and Sanford moves up to the line with Berglund and Perron.


Who's hot

Each of the Sedins has four points (one goal, three assists) in the past four games. ... Tarasenko has eight points (six goals, two assists) in his past eight games. Pietrangelo has four points (one goal, three assists) in the past five games. Allen is 6-1-0 with two shutouts in his past seven starts.

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