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Preview: Blues at Canucks

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The St. Louis Blues look to extend their winning streak to eight games when they conclude their three-game road trip against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday. St. Louis began its run after a shootout loss at Calgary on Dec. 23 and continued it by trouncing the Flames 5-0 on Thursday. Vladimir Sobotka and Vladimir Tarasenko each recorded a goal and an assist while Jaroslav Halak made 33 saves en route to his 28th career shutout.

Vancouver has been streaking in the opposite direction, going 0-2-3 since blanking Calgary on Dec. 29. The Canucks dropped a 5-4 decision to Pittsburgh in a shootout on Tuesday as they allowed two goals in the final 71 seconds of the third period before Penguins captain Sidney Crosby netted the lone tally in the bonus format. Vancouver captured the first meeting of the season, escaping St. Louis with a 3-2 overtime victory.

TV: 10 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), RSN Pacific (Vancouver)

ABOUT THE BLUES (31-7-5): St. Louis is in the midst of its longest winning streak since it posted nine consecutive victories from Oct. 15-Nov. 5, 2002. The Blues have earned at least one point in each of their last 10 games (9-0-1), last losing in regulation on Dec. 17 to San Jose. Five out of St. Louis' six defensemen registered a point Thursday while Halak also got in on the act offensively by notching his third career assist.

ABOUT THE CANUCKS (23-13-9): Vancouver's inability to hold a late lead cost it two points over the last two games. Prior to squandering the two-goal advantage over Pittsburgh, the Canucks allowed Anaheim to score with 1:27 remaining in the third period on Sunday before yielding the winning tally at 4:58 of overtime. "Once we get that lead, we need to keep playing offensively and on our toes and not sitting back trying to protect it," defenseman Dan Hamhuis said. Eddie Lack will make his third straight start Friday as Roberto Luongo remains out with a sprained ankle.

OVERTIME

1. Jay Bouwmeester was the only St. Louis blue-liner not to appear on the scoresheet against the Flames on Thursday.

2. Lack has allowed four goals in each of his last three contests after yielding a total of four tallies over his previous three appearances.

3. Blues LW Alex Steen, who leads the team in goals (24) and points (38), missed his eighth straight game due to a concussion. The 29-year-old hasn't played since Dec. 21.

PREDICTION: Blues 4, Canucks 2

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/140110/preview-blues-at-canucks