Blues continue playoff push, host Canucks

By Matt Becker
Stats Senior Writer

Vancouver (39-24-9) at St. Louis (34-30-9) 8:30 p.m. EDT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Although the Vancouver Canucks have been the
NHL’s hottest team over the past seven weeks, winning on the
road has not come easy.

After notching their first road victory in more than a month,
the Canucks hope to carry the momentum into Thursday night’s
game at St. Louis against a Blues team that’s battling for a
Western Conference playoff spot.

Vancouver (39-24-9) opened a six-game trip with a 5-1 loss to
Phoenix on Saturday before bouncing back with a 5-2 win over
Dallas on Tuesday, snapping a four-game road losing streak. It
was the Canucks’ first win away from GM Place since a 3-2
shootout victory over Toronto on February 21.

“It was a huge win for us,” forward Henrik Sedin told the team’s
official Web site. “Losing in Phoenix and coming in here and
losing again with two tough back-to-back games coming up would
have been tough, all the sudden you’re back in the race again,
so it was a big win for us.”

The Canucks, an NHL-best 17-4-1 since the start of February
after losing their final eight games of January, are battling
Chicago for fourth place in the West and home-ice advantage in
the first round of the playoffs. Vancouver also has a chance of
catching first-place Calgary in the Northwest Division.

Henrik Sedin scored twice and added an assist Tuesday to give
him five goals and four assists in his last six games, while his
brother contributed a hard-fought goal.

Daniel Sedin’s 27th goal of the season broke a 1-all tie late in
the first, coming 1:40 after he was hit by a high stick from
Mark Fistric. Sedin had a bloody lip, needed multiple stitches
in his mouth and lost a cap that protected one of his teeth.

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Roberto Luongo stopped 35 shots Tuesday in his 17th straight
start for Vancouver, going 13-3-1 with a 2.02 goals-against
average. His one shutout in that stretch came last Thursday when
he made 30 saves in a 3-0 win over St. Louis (34-30-9).

Luongo has won both of his starts versus the Blues this season
and posted a 2.13 GAA in winning five straight against them.

Henrik Sedin had a goal and an assist in the win over St. Louis
last week, and his twin added two assists.

While the Canucks appear to be a lock for the postseason, the
Blues are hoping to end a three-year playoff drought that’s
followed 25 straight postseason appearances.

St. Louis improved to 9-4-1 since February 24 with Tuesday’s 2-0
win over Los Angeles. Rookie Patrik Berglund scored twice in the
third period and Chris Mason finished with 22 saves for his
fifth shutout.

“It’s the desperation, it’s the urgency, it’s the no quit in
this team,” said Mason, 14-6-4 with a 2.17 GAA and two shutouts
in starting the last 24 games for the Blues. “In the third
period, we just turned it on.”

Mason has keyed St. Louis’ hot streak, especially at home, where
he’s 9-3-2 with a 1.82 GAA and three shutouts since January 31.

Mason is helping the Blues stay in the playoff race, but he
hasn’t had much success against Vancouver lately. He’s allowed
eight goals in losing his two starts versus the Canucks this
season, dropping him to 0-4-1 with a 3.37 GAA in seven career