Preview: St. Louis Blues Vs. Vancouver Canucks

Sheldon SinghContributor IDecember 20, 2009

ST. LOUIS, MO. - APRIL 21: Alex Burrows #14 of the Vancouver Canucks scores a goal against Chris Mason #50 of the St. Louis Blues during Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scottrade Center on April 21, 2009 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Two teams that are heading in opposite directions in the standings will be meeting head-to-head as the Vancouver Canucks will be looking to get some revenge against a struggling St. Louis Blues squad at General Motors Place.

The Blues destroyed the Canucks by a score of 6-1 back on November 10th in St. Louis. David Perron led the way in that game by recording his first career NHL hat trick while combining with Brad Boyes and Andy McDonald for a game total of ten points. However, Perron has only scored two goals in 17 games since. 

As we fast forward into mid-December, the two teams are now heading in opposite directions. The Canucks have won four of their last five games while the Blues have dropped two in a row and four of their last six.

Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler feels his team is playing with confidence.

St. Louis Blues coach Andy Murray used a much different word to describe the way his team is playing.

In Vancouver's 3-2 victory over Washington on Friday, Mason Raymond tied the game at 2 late in the second period and scored the game winner on a power play with 6:04 left in the third. Kesler had a goal and an assist playing with Raymond. Henrik Sedin also recorded an assist in that game, extending his point streak to nine games.

Raymond has five goals in his last five games after scoring just once in his previous 10, while Kesler has four goals in his last six after going 14 without scoring.

"Confidence is a funny thing," Kesler said. "When you have it you feel good and it's effortless out there."

It hasn't been as effortless for St. Louis (14-14-5) lately.

The Blues, owners of one of the worst records in the league, are coming off Friday's 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay, their third defeat in four games. After the game, Murray kept his team in the locker room for a lengthy period.

"It was a dumb loss," Murray said. "I'm responsible here. I'm the head coach, and it doesn't sit well with me."

One of the biggest problems for the Blues, who haven't lost thee straight since a five-game skid from Oct. 29-Nov. 8, is an offense that has scored an NHL-worst 81 goals. And with Roberto Luongo in goal for the Canucks on Sunday, you can bet that the Blues will be having one hell of a time trying to get their offensive game going against him.

Luongo, who stopped Alexander Semin on a penalty shot with 5:45 left among his 25 saves Friday, has been tough against St. Louis lately. He is 5-1-0 with a 2.43 goals-against average in his last six starts against the Blues, and has posted a 1.24 GAA with two shutouts in winning his last eight starts against them at GM Place, including the playoffs.

The Canucks, who swept the Blues in a first-round playoff series last season, are 14-5-0 at GM Place.

The Blues, who are opening a four-game road trip, are actually playing much better away from St. Louis. They're 8-3-3 on the road compared to 6-11-2 at home.

Sunday's game faces off at 7:00pm PT and can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet Pacific. Listen live on the TEAM 1040 Sports Radio or online at