Blues-Senators Preview

On the heels of a come-from-behind victory, the St. Louis Blues

can match their longest win streak of the season with a victory

Monday night when they travel to take on the Ottawa Senators.

The Blues (22-6-3) rallied from a 3-1 deficit on Saturday to

defeat Columbus 4-3 in overtime, with Chris Stewart providing the

game-tying goal in the third period and David Backes scoring the

game-winner on a breakaway just 22 seconds into the extra session.

The win marked the third straight for St. Louis, which last won

four straight games to open the season.

“We had the good and bad right throughout the game,” St. Louis

coach Ken Hitchcock said to the team’s website. “Every part of our

game was bad and good. Everybody had a piece in every part of the

game — their team, our team.”

The good for the Blues for much of this season has been their

offense, which ranks among the league’s best at 3.45 goals per

game. St. Louis has yet to be shut out and has scored at least two

goals in all but one game this season.

The team is especially efficient on the power play, converting a

Western Conference-best 24.1 of its chances.

The bad for St. Louis has been its slow starts. Saturday’s

victory was its first in eight games (1-5-2) when trailing after

the first period.

Against the Senators (13-15-6), the Blues will face another

high-scoring offense. Ottawa has scored 95 goals and has one of the

league’s top two-way players in Erik Karlsson, who leads all NHL

defensemen on the season with 30 points. Karlsson, though, has been

somewhat quiet of late, totaling two goals and one assist in the

last seven games.

One of the goals came on Saturday in a 5-2 loss to Los Angeles.

Ottawa fell behind 3-0 in the first 12:56 and rallied to draw

within 3-2, but the Kings scored two third-period goals to finish

off the game.

“We stuck to it as good as we could,” Karlsson said. “We won

the second period and got an early goal in the third, but

unfortunately wasn’t able to hold on for the tie.”

Paul MacLean pulled starting goaltender Craig Anderson after he

allowed two goals in the opening 4:18. Robin Lehner saved 19 of 22

shots in relief, and MacLean has yet to announce a starter for this

game.

Ottawa will be aided by the return of defenseman Jared Cowen,

who was suspended two games for his hit to the head of Buffalo’s

Zemgus Girgensons on Tuesday. Cowen, who has three goals and three

assists on the season, will help slow down the strong Blues

offensive attack.

“We felt his game was getting better and improving and can still

improve but we really felt that he was starting to come on,”

MacLean said of Cowen. “I thought his practices he has had in the

last couple days have been very good as well. He has been physical

in them, skating well and handling the puck better so we’re hopeful

that when he gets back in there he’ll continue to grow.”

The Senators have won five of their past six meetings against

the Blues in Ottawa, though St. Louis came away with a win the last

time, 3-1 victory on Feb. 7, 2012.