NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, December 12th
(All times Eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (16-13-3) at St. Louis Blues (20-6-3), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The St. Louis Blues look to secure a second straight
victory on Thursday night as they play host to the struggling Toronto Maple
The Blues had lost three of four ahead of Tuesday's 2-1 victory over the
Winnipeg Jets. Alexander Steen had a second-period goal and Kevin Shattenkirk
put home the deciding goal while on the power play with 3:02 remaining in the
Shattenkirk's third goal of the season changed direction on the way to the net
after he took a feed from Derek Roy.
"Sometimes you get rewarded with a couple lucky ones and it was a great game
by both teams," said Shattenkirk.
Brian Elliott stopped 20 shots for the Blues, who reached the 20-win plateau
by claiming their seventh victory in the last 10 outings.
"Our goalie made some great saves and I think we were getting nervous when we
didn't score on some opportunities, but I really like the way we fought," said
Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock.
Steen, a former first-round pick by Toronto in 2002, scored his first goal in
five games and his 21st of the season. That is tied for second most in the NHL
and three off his career high of 24 scored with the Blues in 2009-10.
That season was Steen's first full one in St. Louis after getting dealt by
Toronto along with defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo for Lee Stempniak on Nov. 24,
The 29-year-old Steen has two goals in three career games versus Toronto.
Steen will look to give Elliott some more support tonight with the netminder
set to get the call again. He is 5-1-1 with a 2.04 goals against average and
.919 save percentage in 10 games this season, including seven starts. Elliott
has allowed two goals or fewer in five of those starts.
The goaltender is 3-5-1 with a 3.07 GAA in 10 previous meetings with the
Leafs, who were in action last night and lost a 3-1 decision to the Los
Cody Franson scored and Jonathan Bernier made 20 stops for the Maple Leafs,
who stumbled to their seventh loss in nine outings.
"That was much closer to what we need," Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle.
"Hey, we're third in the Eastern Conference in goals scored. It's on the
defensive side where our work ethic and commitment hasn't been there."
Toronto was without defenseman Dion Phaneuf as he served the first portion of
a two-game suspension for a boarding hit in Sunday's game versus Boston.
However, winger Joffrey Lupul returned after missing seven games in a row due
to a groin strain. He has eight goals and 15 points in 22 contests before the
Carlyle could give James Reimer his first career start versus the Blues
tonight. Bernier is 2-1-0 with a 2.99 GAA in four starts against them.
The Maple Leafs have won two straight versus the Blues, both in a shootout,
following a three-game series losing streak. They notched a 3-2 win in their
last trip to St. Louis on Nov. 10, 2011.
12/12 10:54:25 ET