St. Louis Blues Look to Continue Their Dominance of the Eastern Conference

Michael WagenknechtContributor IDecember 10, 2010

Jaroslav Halak watches as the puck just slips by the post.
Jaroslav Halak watches as the puck just slips by the post.Rich Lam/Getty Images

The St. Louis Blues look to continue their strong play against Eastern Conference opponents as well as extend their winning streak when they face the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.

The Blues are coming off a commanding performance against Columbus in which they scored on three power plays and killed off eight penalties. The victory moved St. Louis up to No. 7 in the conference and put them on a two game winning streak. That streak will hopefully continue, as the Blues have a 7-1-0 record against the East.

Carolina plays in Dallas on Friday night before flying to St. Louis. The Hurricanes are 2-2-1 in their last five games and sit in 12th place in the Eastern Conference. Carolina has fared pretty well against the West this year with a 6-4-0 record, and have also played well against St. Louis the past two seasons.

Alex Steen, who has scored the first goal in each of the last two games, will look to continue his streak against a team he has fared well against in his career. In 13 games against Carolina, Steen has netted five goals and five assists.

Held scoreless in the last four games, Brad Boyes looks to get back on the score sheet. In 12 games against the Hurricanes, Boyes has six goals. With only six on the season, Boyes will need something to restart his scoring touch and this game may be it.

After his meltdown in mid-November, Jaroslav Halak has regained the touch he had at the start of the season. In the last three games Halak has allowed five goals, but has made many timely saves to preserve wins. But in three games against Carolina, Halak has a 1-2-0 record with a 2.72 GAA, well above his 2.30 GAA of this season.

Carolina will rely on Eric Staal and Jussi Jokinen for their offensive punch.

Staal leads the team with 12 goals and 16 assists and has played very well against the Blues. In just six career games, Staal has an impressive four goals and three assists.

Not to be outdone, though, is Jussi Jokinen. Before being traded to Carolina, Jokinen was a Blues nemesis and the trade hasn't changed that at all. In 11 games against the Blues, Jokinen has two goals and eight assists.

The biggest threat to the Blues lies in the Carolina net. Cam Ward is a solid goalie who has 11 wins and a 2.68 GAA, but against St. Louis he turns it up a notch. In his four games against the Blues, Ward is 3-1-0 and has a sparkling 1.75 GAA.

While they only meet once a year, games between St. Louis and Carolina have proven to be very close and competitive. Look for a low scoring game as two solid goaltenders look to exert their will over their opponents.