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Canes at Blues - Pregame Prose

The Hurricanes are in St. Louis to take on the Blues tonight which will end the club's longest road trip of the season. Carolina is 2-1-2 on this trip, and is 4-2-2 overall. With a win, they will match the second best six game road trip in franchise history.

The game also marks the beginning of a "three games in four days" period for the team as they play Edmonton on Saturday and Toronto on Sunday after returning home.

St. Louis is 5-3-0 and has played better than many expected so far this season. Number one goalie, Manny Legace is injured and will miss the game, so Chris Mason should get the nod in net even though he is coming off an appendectomy from just two weeks ago.

Paul Kariya and Andy McDonald lead the team with 12 points each. Keith Tkachuk has eight goals for the club. The Blues beat Florida 4-0 their last game, which was Saturday night.

The Canes are coming off a 3-2 shootout loss against Montreal on Tuesday night. Ray Whitney, Eric Staal, and Rod Brind'Amour lead them with 6 points each. Cam Ward will probably be in net.

Of course Carolina will still be missing Kaberle, Sutter, Walker, Pitkanen, and Williams who are all on the injured list. I would expect the lines to remain the same as they were against the Habs-

  • Staal, Ruutu, Whitney

  • Brind'Amour, Samsonov, LaRose

  • Cullen, Eaves, Bayda

  • Helminen, Brookbank, LaCouture

  • Gleason, Corvo

  • Wallin, Seidenberg

  • Babchuk, Melichar

Unlike in Montreal, the Hurricanes usually don't fare well in St. Louis. During the last 20 years, the franchise record is 3-11-2-1 in the "City of the Blues", and since 1995 it is 1-5-1-1. Last year the team lost a 1-0 contest with Michael Leighton in goal.

The puck drops at 8:30 local time and the game will be broadcast by FS Carolinas.

Here are some "Blues Tidbits" from Cory:

• The Blues' power play has been deadly. They have 13 goals — and a league-best 34.2 percent execution rate — with the man advantage, nine combined from Keith Tkachuk (six) and Brad Boyes (three). St. Louis is also sixth in killing penalties at 87.1 percent. In six home games, the Blues have outscored their opponents 10-3 with the man advantage.

• St. Louis has just four plus players through eight games. Rookie Patrick Berglund leads the way with a plus-3, and is joined by Roman Polak, David Perron (each at plus-2) and T.J. Oshie, another rookie, at plus-1. Carolina has 10 plus players.

• Only the Kings how fewer shots per game than the Blues, who manage just 24.5, while L.A. gets 23.5 a game. The Canes manage 29.2 shots a game. St. Louis allows a middle-of-the-pack 28.9 shots against. Carolina inched up a spot to 27th after the Montreal game. They're now at 34.4 allowed.

• The Blues are unbeaten in many scenarios this season: when scoring first, when leading after one period, when leading after two periods, and when outshooting their opponent.

• Defenseman Eric Brewer, who plays a team-high 25:16 per game, is also tied for the team's worst plus/minus with Andy McDonald at minus-5.

• McDonald has won 66 of 102 faceoffs this year — a 64.7 winning percentage. Jay McClement has taken a team-high 118 faceoffs and has a respectable 52.5 winning percent, but has won just 12 of 32 shorthanded draws.

• Goalie Chris Mason, who will start tonight, has only one other appearance vs. Carolina — a 31-save shutout last season on Feb. 5 while playing for Nashville.