Hurricanes-Blues Preview

The Associated Press

After a period of dormancy, the St. Louis Blues rediscovered their explosive power play in a dominant victory.

Producing similar results could prove to be a challenge Saturday night when they host the Hurricanes, given the goaltending Carolina has received of late.

The Blues (12-2-3) went 1 for 14 on power-play opportunities during a five-game span, though it only cost them two losses. They broke out with three goals in four chances during a 7-3 home win over Colorado on Thursday.

David Backes - who accounted for one of those power-play goals and recorded two assists - cited a more aggressive approach. St. Louis' 26.2 power-play percentage leads the league.

"We simplified and started shooting the puck," said Backes, whose 19 points rank second on the team behind Alexander Steen. "We got a few ugly ones in front to start it off. From that, we hopefully learned our lesson that scoring one out of 20 that are pretty isn't worth it, when we can score a couple a game if we just do things the hard way and shoot the puck."

St. Louis became just the third team to score more than two goals versus Colorado.

Steen improved his league-leading goal count to 16 with two scores, also extending his career-best point streak to 12 games. He was slashed in the third period, but coach Ken Hitchcock said he was fine.

Steen owns a minus-5 rating over his last six matchups with Carolina with only one point despite 20 shots.

The Blues' power play has been even stronger at home, converting 12 of 39 chances - a 30.8-percent success rate compared to their 18.2 on the road. Carolina, meanwhile, has surrendered six power-play goals on 17 chances over its last four road games.

But the Hurricanes (7-7-4) have been much tougher to score against during a 4-0-1 run, primarily because of Justin Peters in net. Peters has stopped 138 of 144 shots during that stretch as he continues to fill in for the injured Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin. He has never faced St. Louis.

Carolina wrapped up the homestand with a 3-2 shootout victory over Anaheim on Friday. The club had been winless in three shootouts.

"I'm just really proud of the effort of the guys," coach Kirk Muller said. "We've had a couple injuries - guys have jumped in different spots, different roles, starting with Peters in net. He's had a great week, great homestand here."

The Hurricanes hope their success can translate to the road, where they've dropped three in a row by a 12-4 margin.

Alexander Semin - who scored for the first time in eight games Friday - has five points in his last five matchups with St. Louis.

The Blues are 13-4-1 with a tie all-time at home against the Hartford/Carolina franchise, though they've dropped two of the last three meetings there.

What to Read Next