The upstart Vancouver Canucks will road test their revamped lineup against the St. Louis Blues Thursday night.
Winners of three straight, the Canucks kick off a four-game trip that continues on to metropolitan New York (to face the Devils and Rangers) and Detroit.
The Blues should provide a stern test at Enterprise Center. They returned home after a 2-1-1 road trip to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Long Island.
They also squeezed in a White House visit to celebrate their Stanley Cup triumph before getting back to work. Blues coach Craig Berube saw some signs of progress during his team's 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders on Monday afternoon.
"I thought that we did a real good job managing the puck, controlling the play in the offensive zone for most of the game," Berube told reporters afterward. "Doing all the right things. Just a couple bad breaks and that's the way it goes sometimes."
Brayden Schenn has scored goals in five consecutive games for the Blues. Linemate Vladimir Tarasenko failed to score a goal in his first five games before finally breaking through against the Islanders.
"He got a nice (power-play) goal, but he's inside the dot shooting that puck," Berube said. "He got five shots on net. He played a lot better. It was good to see."
"We've talked about being a 60-minute team," Canucks coach Travis Green told reporters after the 5-1 victory over the Red Wings on Tuesday night. "We want to be a team that kind of plays the same way all the time. When we don't have the puck, we want to look very similar in our work ethic, in our compete. I thought tonight was probably our best game."
The Canucks added forwards J.T. Miller and Micheal Ferland in the offseason along with defensemen Tyler Myers and Jordie Benn. Rookie defenseman Quinn Hughes is settling in after getting his first NHL taste late last season.
Miller scored two power-play goals Tuesday night against the Red Wings. The Canucks came into the game determined to be more aggressive with the man advantage.
"We shot a couple more pucks, and I think it was just a matter of time," Miller told NHL.com. "It's amazing; sometimes when you simplify like that and get back to what makes some power plays good, it's having a shooting threat. It worked out tonight and it's good for our confidence going forward."
The Canucks will once again be without top goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who is away tending to family matters. Thatcher Demko will likely start in his place after beating Detroit.
Demko allowed Dylan Larkin's breakaway goal in the game's first minute, then settled in to stop 26 shots.
"Every goalie has been through that, so just kind of drawing on past experiences," Demko said. "I felt good and didn't want that one to ruin my night. It's tough. I haven't played in a while and gave up the first one, but if you want to play at this level, you've got to put that behind you. The team just did a great job. After we gave up that goal we really started rolling."
--Field Level Media