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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, January 10th (All times Eastern)

St. Louis Blues (31-7-5) at Vancouver Canucks (23-13-9), 10 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The hard-charging St. Louis Blues will aim for an eighth straight victory and sole possession of first place in the Central Division when they visit the sliding Vancouver Canucks for Friday's test at Rogers Arena.

The Blues have won seven straight games and enter Friday tied atop the Central with the Chicago Blackhawks. Both teams have 67 points, but St. Louis has three games in hand and it will use one of them tonight as the Blackhawks are idle.

St. Louis, which is 9-0-1 over its last 10 games, has scored five goals or more in each of its last four games and the Blues slammed the Calgary Flames 5-0 in Thursday's tilt at the Saddledome. Jaroslav Halak posted 33 stops for his third shutout of the season in the easy road victory.

Vladimir Sobotka and Vladimir Tarasenko each had a goal and an assist, while Chris Stewart, Alex Pietrangelo and Ian Cole all scored for the Blues, who are on their longest winning streak since a nine-game run from Oct. 15-Nov. 5, 2002.

"It's nice to string a couple together here," said St. Louis center David Backes said. "It seems like you have to stay paced with some of these other teams in the West."

St. Louis will aim for a fifth straight road victory on Friday when it caps a three-game swing. The Blues are 14-4-3 as the visiting team this season.

While the Blues are on a big hot streak, the Canucks have matched a season- long skid with five consecutive losses. Vancouver is 0-2-3 during its current losing streak, matching another five-game slide (0-3-2) from Nov. 9-19.

Vancouver hasn't dropped six in a row since an eight-game losing streak from Jan. 9-31, 2009.

The club's two most recent losses have come after regulation, including a 5-4 shootout setback against visiting Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Although they trailed 2-0 early on, Vancouver scored four unanswered goals and led the game 4-2 after Zack Kassian scored with 6:36 left in the third period. However, the Penguins managed to even things before the end of regulation.

Kris Letang tallied for the Pens with 1:11 left in the third before Sidney Crosby notched the equalizer just 16 seconds later. Crosby also scored the lone goal of the shootout to help Pittsburgh grab the extra point.

Kassian and Chris Higgins each had a goal and an assist, while Eddie Lack posted 31 saves in a losing effort. Jason Garrison and Christopher Tanev also added goals for the Canucks.

"We dominated for 18 minutes in the third (period). In the end, they were better than us. They got the job done," said Tanev.

Vancouver suffered its third straight home loss, dropping the club to 11-6-5 this season at Rogers Arena.

With Roberto Luongo out due to an upper-body injury, Lack is expected to start in net again on Friday.

The Canucks have won two of three and four of their last six games against the Blues and they posted a 3-2 overtime victory in St. Louis on Oct. 25. Ryan Kesler scored the OT winner in that one and Lack picked up the win with 22 saves.

01/10 10:43:05 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
3rd
CHA 67
DET 59
 
Final
PHI 9
ATL 2
Final
MIN 4
BOS 4
Final
HOU 3
DET 2
Final
NYY 0
TAM 3
Final
BOS 7
TOR 9
Final
MIA 8
WAS 0
Final
NYM 4
STL 5
Final
OAK 4
ANA 1
Final
KAN 4
LOS 4
Final
CIN 0
ARI 3
Final
SEA 4
CWS 12
Final
SFG 5
CLE 2
Final
CHC 11
MIL 7
Final
CWS 2
SDP 8
Final
COL 10
TEX 4
6th
BAL 1
PIT 2
 
3rd
CHA 67
DET 59
 
3rd
WAS 80
PHI 55
 
3rd
ORL 56
SAN 78
 
Half
NYK 53
BRK 58
 
Half
BOS 50
IND 39
 
2nd
MIL 24
CHI 30
 
2nd
OKC 25
DAL 28
 
2nd
HOU 35
SAC 25
 
2nd
MIN 27
TOR 34
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
DEN
10:00pm Tonight
POR
LAC
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
NOP
1st
LAMON 23
LOYC 18
 
2nd
BUF 1
TOR 2
 
1st
PIT 1
PHI 0
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
EDM
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
COL