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game preview

Canucks at Blues preview

St. Louis looking to win Central for first time since 2014-15

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

CANUCKS (35-36-10) at BLUES (44-28-9)



The Game

The St. Louis Blues will play the Vancouver Canucks in the final game of the regular season at Enterprise Center on Saturday looking to win the Central Division for the first time since 2014-15.

St. Louis, 8-1-2 its past 11 games and coming off a 7-3 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, is one point behind the first-place Nashville Predators and tied with the Winnipeg Jets for second. The Blues would win the division if they defeat the Canucks, and the Predators and Jets lose in any fashion; or if they lose in overtime or the shootout, and Nashville and Winnipeg lose in regulation.

Vancouver, which will miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fourth straight season, had its three-game winning streak end with a 3-2 loss to the Predators on Thursday. The Canucks are 7-4-1 in their past 12 games.


Players to watch

Canucks center Bo Horvat has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in the past 13 games and needs two goals for 100 in the NHL.

Blues center Ryan O'Reilly has 28 goals, one shy of a new NHL career high, and needs three points for 500 in the NHL.


They said it

"Everyone dreams as a kid of playing playoff hockey. I haven't gotten a taste of it, but I think we're taking steps in the right way this year. Hopefully next year at this time, we're fighting for the home-ice advantage or looking for a playoff spot." -- Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton

"To clinch and get into the playoffs after the ups and downs we had throughout the year, now we have a chance to get first. Obviously, we need help along the way, but we'll worry about ourselves." -- Blues forward Brayden Schenn


Canucks projected lineup

Tanner Pearson -- Bo Horvat -- Loui Eriksson

Jake Virtanen -- Elias Pettersson -- Brock Boeser

Ryan Spooner -- Adam Gaudette -- Josh Leivo

Tim Schaller -- Jay Beagle -- Markus Granlund

Alexander Edler -- Troy Stecher

Ben Hutton -- Brogan Rafferty

Quinn Hughes -- Luke Schenn

Thatcher Demko

Jacob Markstrom

Scratched: Ashton Sautner, Josh Teves, Nikolay Goldobin, Derrick Pouliot, Jake Kielly, Sven Baertschi, Alex Biega

Injured: Guillaume Brisebois (hip), Tyler Motte (upper body), Christopher Tanev (ankle), Antoine Roussel (knee), Brandon Sutter (hernia)


Blues projected lineup

Brayden Schenn -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Jaden Schwartz -- Oskar Sundqvist -- David Perron

Pat Maroon -- Tyler Bozak -- Robert Thomas

Robby Fabbri -- Ivan Barbashev -- Alexander Steen

Vince Dunn -- Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson -- Jay Bouwmeester

Joel Edmundson -- Robert Bortuzzo

Jordan Binnington

Jake Allen

Scratched: Michael Del Zotto, Mackenzie MacEachern, Zach Sanford

Injured: Colton Parayko (mid body), Sammy Blais (lower body)


Status report

Kielly might be the backup goalie. ... Parayko didn't practice Friday. Coach Craig Berube said the defenseman's absence was more rest-related and that he might not play after missing his first game of the season Thursday. ... Blais could play after missing 12 games.


Stat pack

Pearson has four points (three goals, one assist) the past two games. ... Perron has 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists) his past 24 games. ... Binnington, who set the Blues rookie record with his 23rd win Thursday, is 19-4-0 with a 1.86 goals-against average and .928 save percentage in his past 23 starts. ... St. Louis has won six in a row at home and 13 of 15.

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