Preview: Canucks at Blues

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[March 23, 2017]  The red-hot St. Louis Blues have begun to feast on an advantageous schedule as they close in on their sixth straight postseason appearance. After defeating the worst two clubs in the Western Conference, the Blues vie for their fourth win in a row and ninth in the last 10 outings on Thursday when they host the team with the third-fewest points in the Vancouver Canucks.

Jake Allen turned aside all 31 shots he faced in Saturday's 3-0 triumph over Arizona and made 26 saves three nights later in a 4-2 victory versus Colorado. "Give them an honest chance to win and I thought I did that. I thought I played well and guys got the job done," said the 26-year-old Allen, who sports a 6-1-0 mark with two shutouts, a rail-thin 1.29 goals-against average and stellar .956 save percentage in March. While St. Louis is tied with Nashville for third place in the Central Division, Vancouver defeated the division's leader in Chicago on Tuesday to snap a six-game winless skid (0-4-2). Daniel Sedin scored in overtime of the 5-4 triumph, a contest that represented an offensive firestorm for a Canucks team that had been outscored 21-9 in the six-game slide and 15-5 in the final four of that run.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, Sportsnet Pacific (Vancouver), FSN Midwest (St. Louis), NHL.TV

ABOUT THE CANUCKS (29-34-9): Captain Henrik Sedin (club-best 30 assists) joins twin brother Daniel with one goal and three assists in his past four games overall and the Swedes each have two points versus St. Louis this season. Henrik Sedin scored in overtime of a 2-1 victory versus the Blues on Oct. 18 and also tallied in a 4-3 setback on Feb. 16, with his brother notching an assist on both tallies. Bo Horvat (team-leading 20 goals, 47 points) also scored in both encounters, but has been limited to just two assists in his last seven games overall.

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ABOUT THE BLUES (39-28-5): St. Louis' center depth is under fire as the team announced that veteran Paul Stastny is considered week-to-week with a lower-body injury on Wednesday while Jori Lehtera is nursing an undisclosed injury that has sidelined him for the past six games. Stastny was on the wrong side of a shot from teammate Vladimir Tarasenko, although coach Mike Yeo told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the 31-year-old "tweaked something" later in the game. Speaking of Tarasenko (team-leading 34 goals, 64 points), the 25-year-old Russian has eight points in as many games overall and had two goals and an assist in the first two meetings versus Vancouver.

OVERTIME

1. St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo has collected nine points (two goals, seven assists) in his last 12 games.

2. Vancouver G Ryan Miller will get the nod on Thursday despite yielding 13 goals in his last three contests.

3. The Blues will honor the memory of St. Louis singer/songwriter Chuck Berry with music from Billy Peek - Berry's long-time guitarist - during the game.

PREDICTION: Blues 4, Canucks 2

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