The St. Louis Blues have been among the top teams in the Western Conference all season but they have hit a wall with the Christmas break approaching. The struggling Blues have dropped three straight and five of six and will look to avoid coming up empty on a four-game road trip when they visit the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.
St. Louis, which has scored three times in the first three games of the Canadian trek, continued its tailspin when it surrendered a pair of goals in the last four minutes of a 3-2 loss at Edmonton on Thursday. The Blues do have history on their side against the Canucks, extending their point streak in the series to seven games (6-0-1) with a 4-3 overtime win at Vancouver on Nov. 18. The Canucks also are mired in a three-game skid after Thursday’s 5-4 overtime defeat at San Jose -- their seventh loss in eight games. Vancouver has been solid on the road with a 9-7-2 mark, but it is 6-9-3 at Rogers Arena -- the third-fewest home wins in the league.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), Sportsnet, CBC (Vancouver)
ABOUT THE BLUES (22-13-2): Coach Mike Yeo has shuffled his lines repeatedly in an attempt to jump-start an offense that has produced six goals in six games -- a slump that followed an injury to third-leading goal scorer Jaden Schwartz. Yeo kept only one line intact against Edmonton -- Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny and Tage Thompson -- and it paid off when rookie Thompson netted his first NHL goal in his sixth career game. “He continues to be a positive,” Yeo said of Thompson, who was recalled on Monday.
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (15-16-5): Vancouver’s offense has finally come alive with a dozen goals over the past two games, but the Canucks are struggling at the other end of the ice, surrendering 41 goals during their current 1-6-1 tailspin and allowing nine power-play tallies in the past six -- three against San Jose. “Obviously we need to clean up some special teams there,” said rookie standout Brock Boeser, who collected his 19th goal in Thursday’s loss. Six of Boeser’s goals have come in the past eight games.
1. St. Louis has snuffed out 34 of 36 short-handed situations in December.
2. Canucks captain Henrik Sedin has nine assists during a six-game point streak.
3. Blues F Vladimir Tarasenko doesn’t have a point on the road trip, the first time this season he’s gone three straight games without one.
PREDICTION: Blues 4, Canucks 2