Preview: Blues take on the Canucks after a week off
While the Vancouver Canucks have played six games in 10 days, the St. Louis Blues have had enough time off since their last game to take a team-bonding trip.
Off for the past week and having played a league-low seven games, the Blues on Friday night host the Canucks, who will wrap up their season-high seven-game road trip looking for a fifth victory.
The Canucks (7-4-1) have played a league-high 12 games, four of which have come since the Blues last took the ice. They're 4-1-1 thus far on their trip after rallying past New Jersey 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday.
Mike Santorelli scored the only goal in the tiebreaker while Roberto Luongo stopped all three Devils attempts after making 28 saves in regulation and overtime - 17 of which came in a third period that impressed his coach.
"It's probably his best period," coach John Tortorella told the team's official website. "He's still trying to get his game to where he wants it, but he was outstanding and certainly gave us a chance to get the point and also earned us the second one."
Luongo is 10-5-1 with a 1.96 goals-against average in his last 16 starts versus St. Louis - postseason included - but he hasn't started games on back-to-back nights this season. Backup Eddie Lack is 1-1-0 in his two starts, having earned his first NHL win by making 26 saves in a 3-1 win at Columbus on Sunday.
Though the Canucks earned two points Thursday, they lost forwards David Booth and Dale Weise to lower-body injuries after the first period and may not have either Friday. With Jannik Hansen already injured, Vancouver recalled center Pascal Pelletier and winger Darren Archibald from AHL Utica.
"It's tough when they're rolling their lines and you've got to play with a short bench, but that's why you work in the summer," said Henrik Sedin, who has a team-high 15 points and a seven-game point streak.
The Blues (5-1-1) had their own mini summer vacation over the past week. They haven't played since a 4-3 shootout loss at Winnipeg last Friday, heading off to Charleston, S.C., for a team-bonding trip while practicing daily at the Carolina Ice Palace.
St. Louis should be eager to get back on the ice after blowing a two-goal lead in the final 6:47 of regulation against the Jets.
"We gave away this one," center Alexander Steen, who scored twice, told the team's official website. "We're up by two late in the game, we shouldn't be giving away points like that."
Steen has a team-high seven goals and fellow center David Backes six - half of the Blues' 26 goals.
The Blues are 1-1-1 in their last three after starting the season 4-0-0. They've allowed 11 goals in the past three games after giving up seven in their first four.
St. Louis will have Jaroslav Halak back in net after Brian Elliot made his first start against the Jets. Halak is 4-2-0 with a 2.23 GAA and a .932 save percentage in six career starts versus Vancouver, though he hasn't faced the Canucks since February 2011.
The Blues will be without forward Maxim Lapierre, who was suspended five games for an Oct. 15 hit on San Jose defenseman Dan Boyle. Forward Brenden Morrow and defenseman Barret Jackman, neither of whom dressed against the Jets due to upper-body injuries, will both be in the lineup Friday as will Alex Pietrangelo, who was hurt blocking a shot in Winnipeg.
The Blues are 3-0-1 against Vancouver in the last four regular-season meetings in St. Louis.