Preview: Canadiens at Blues
The St. Louis Blues brought out the best in the Montreal Canadiens last weekend and now they will get a chance to avenge their lone regulation defeat of the season on their home ice. The defending Stanley Cup champions have not won since that 6-3 setback in Montreal and will look to put an end to a three-game slide when they host the Canadiens on Saturday afternoon.
The Blues have earned a point in every game with the exception of the matchup versus the Canadiens, dropping a 3-2 overtime decision at the New York Islanders before falling in a shootout to Vancouver on Thursday in the opener of a four-game homestand. "We have to come out and have more energy than we had in Montreal," St. Louis coach Craig Berube said. "We played a soft game against Montreal, so with a team like that with speed, we've got to make sure that we're physical." The Canadiens wrapped up a 2-2-0 homestand on Thursday with a 4-0 rout of skidding Minnesota and, in a scheduling oddity, also face a rematch against the Wild on Sunday. "It's going to be tough. They are both big and heavy teams," Montreal forward Tomas Tatar said of the two Central Division foes. "We just have to stick to our plan. When we play our game, we're a pretty fast team and we play well."
TV: 3 p.m. ET, RDS, TSN2 (Montreal), FS Midwest (St. Louis)
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (3-2-2): Defenseman Victor Mete finally put an end to a dubious streak, netting the opening tally versus the Wild for his first goal in 127 games -- the longest goal drought to start a career in franchise history. "It feels good to finally get that out of the way," Mete said. "That was pretty cool. The crowd was going pretty nuts. Everybody's wanted me to score for quite a while so to see everyone get as excited as they did, it's pretty special. It means a lot." Carey Price will get the start Saturday while backup Keith Kinkaid goes Sunday.
ABOUT THE BLUES (3-1-3): St. Louis was unable to protect a two-goal lead against Vancouver and also crumbled late in Montreal, surrendering three unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes. "It's a staple of our game for years here, right, is closing out leads," Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said. "We've just got to find a way to keep playing the same way. ... Once we start closing out teams, we can be pushing things in the right direction." Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson exited Thursday's loss due to a lower-body injury and has been ruled out Saturday.
1. Price is 6-6-2 with a 2.61 goals-against average versus St. Louis.
2. The Blues have won six of the last eight meetings versus Montreal, including four in a row at home.
3. Canadiens F Joel Armia has scored four times in the last five games.
PREDICTION: Blues 3, Canadiens 2