NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, November 1st
(All times Eastern)
St. Louis Blues (7-1-2) at Florida Panthers (3-7-2), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Alex Steen is a surprising leader atop the NHL's goal-
scoring list for this season, given that he scored just eight goals in 40
games last campaign.
Steen and his St. Louis Blues take aim at a third straight win on Friday night
when they visit the Florida Panthers.
The 29-year-old Steen has already netted 11 goals through 10 games this
season, having logged a goal in all but one of those contests. He scored in
his fifth straight game on Tuesday, putting home the game winner with one
minute to play in a 3-2 triumph over Winnipeg.
Steen's tally was a backhander from between the circles that dropped between
Ondrej Pavelec's pads and over the goal line. The tally was set up on a feed
from defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and came just over a minute into a power play
created when Jets defenseman Tobias Enstrom took an interference penalty.
"As we walked the line and it comes back, I know I've got a little bit of
space. It's a great read by (Bouwmeester) and a great pass. Once
I get it, I kind of figured I had a little bit of time. It's nice to see it go
in," said Steen, a former first-round pick by Toronto in 2002 whose career
high for goals in a season is 24 set in 2009-10 with St. Louis.
Brenden Morrow and Alex Pietrangelo also tallied for the Blues and Jaroslav
Halak made 21 saves to improve his club to 3-0-2 since its lone regulation
loss of the season on Oct. 15.
After placing forward Magnus Paajarvi on injured reserve after he suffered an
upper-body injury versus Nashville last Saturday, Morrow did not make the trip
with the Blues due to an upper-body ailment of his own sustained versus the
St. Louis is also set to visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday and Morrow
is not expected to join the Blues until Monday in Montreal at the earliest.
However, forward Maxim Lapierre is eligible to play for the Blues after
serving a five-game suspension for a hit on San Jose's Dan Boyle on Oct. 15.
Lapierre drove Boyle face-first into the glass and the Sharks defenseman had
to leave the ice on a stretcher.
Forward Chris Porter also was recalled from the American Hockey League on
St. Louis is also taking aim at a fourth consecutive victory over Florida, a
streak that includes a 7-0 home win on Oct. 5. Seven different Blues players
scored and Halak stopped all 19 shots faced for his club-record 17th shutout
with the franchise.
Halak surpassed Hall of Famer Glenn Hall, but is expected to cede tonight's
start to Brian Elliott and man the pipes on Saturday versus the Lightning.
Elliott will make his second start of the season and first since a shootout
loss to Winnipeg on Oct. 18. He is 3-2-0 with a 3.21 goals against average
lifetime versus the Panthers.
He'll hope for similar support from the earlier meeting, when Steen scored and
both Morrow and Derek Roy notched a goal and an assist. Jaden Schwartz added a
goal and two helpers.
The Panthers have lost three straight -- two of those in a shootout -- and six
of their last seven, leaving them 1-2-2 on a six-game homestand that ends
tonight. Florida rallied from two goals down to force extra time last Sunday
versus Tampa Bay before losing a 4-3 shootout decision.
Nick Bjugstad and Brad Boyes scored third-period goals to dig Florida out of a
3-1 hole. Shawn Matthias also scored and Jacob Markstrom made 25 saves but was
bested twice in the shootout.
"We have to play a full 60 minutes," said Boyes, who also scored in the
With nearly a week off in between games, Tomas Fleischmann should be ready to
play tonight after sitting out Sunday's loss due to the flu.
The Panthers will visit the Washington Capitals on Saturday, meaning both
Markstrom and Scott Clemmensen are likely to earn starts in the two-day
Markstrom came on in relief of the currently-injured Tim Thomas earlier this
season versus the Blues, giving up two goals on six shots in his first ever
game against them.
Clemmensen, who has made just a single relief appearance this season, won his
only previous encounter with St. Louis, giving up three goals on 31 shots.
11/01 10:37:14 ET