NHL Game Preview - Canucks v Blues

 
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4
Final 1 2 3 OT Tot
Vancouver 1 1 1 1 4
St. Louis 0 1 2 0 3
3
Canucks lead 2-0
Three Stars
1: Bo Horvat, Van (2G)
2: Jacob Markstrom, Van (34 Saves)
3: David Perron, StL (2A)
3:30 PM PT4:30 PM MT5:30 PM CT6:30 PM ET22:30 GMT6:30 3:30 PM MST5:30 PM EST2:30 UAE (+1)18:30 ET19:30 BRT, August 14, 2020
Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta  Attendance: 0

Sputtering Blues brace for Game 2 versus Canucks

Vancouver Canucks at St. Louis Blues

  1. The Canucks took Game 1 of this series, 5-2, outscoring St. Louis 3-0 in the third period. It was their first postseason period outscoring an opponent by three goals since doing so in the second period against San Jose in Game 4 of the 2011 Western Conference Final. They also did it in the third period of Game 2 in that series.
  2. This is the first series in which Vancouver has won Game 1 since the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, which they would go on to lose in seven games. However, they had won six of the previous eight series in which they won the opener.
  3. Bo Horvat scored twice in Game 1, giving him three multi-point games this postseason, accounting for all six of his playoff points (4g, 2a). In his only other postseason experience, a six-game loss to Calgary in 2015, he had four points total (1g, 3a).
  4. The Blues have won Game 2 in each of the last five series in which they've lost Game 1, including both the conference final and the Stanley Cup Final last season, both of which they won. The Blues are 1-17 all-time in series in which they go down 2-0, with the lone win coming in 1972.
  5. David Perron scored his third goal of the postseason in Game 1; the rest of the Blues have combined for five goals. Perron now has a point in six of his last seven playoff games dating back to last season.
  6. Since the start of last season's Western Conference Finals agaisnt San Jose, St. Louis is 8-1-1 when allowing two or fewer goals in the postseason, and 0-7-0 when allowing three or more. Vancouver has scored at least three goals in each of its last four games (all wins) following a shutout loss in its playoff opener.

Losing the first game of their best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series doesn't put the defending champion St. Louis Blues on the ropes.

However, another defeat at the hands of the upstart Vancouver Canucks in Friday's Game 2 in Edmonton would have the Blues in a rough spot.

"We had three games to try and get our pace and we just weren't good enough," St. Louis forward Brayden Schenn said. "I don't think we were good enough as a team right from our exhibition game.

"We're going to continue to build here, get better, and try and wear 'em down. That's what the playoff series is all about. We've been in this situation before. Even all last year, we were down in some series. They're a good team over there. And we're gonna have to find a way to be better."

The Blues have dropped all five games -- counting an exhibition contest -- since resuming action after the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the league in March. They were winless in the four-team round-robin tournament, a surprising development for the squad that was tops in the Western Conference when the league was paused in March.

There are myriad reasons for their struggles, among them being without a complete line of forwards in Ivan Barbashev, Sammy Blais and Alexander Steen while sniper Vladimir Tarasenko is trying to find his form following a shoulder injury in October.

A surprising trend has developed since the restart, as St. Louis has been outscored 9-0 in the third period -- including 3-0 in Wednesday's 5-2 setback to the Canucks.

"I liked our game (overall)," Blues coach Craig Berube said. "We made two mistakes in the third period and they both ended up in our net. I didn't like those mistakes and we have to stop those from happening."

Meanwhile, the Canucks are trending in the other direction.

Vancouver has won four straight games and looked stronger in each outing.

"You want to get up for the big games, you want to be a difference maker, especially at this time of year," said captain Bo Horvat, who scored twice in the series opener.

"You're playing the Stanley Cup champs, it's easy to get up for. These are the games you want to win."

And now the Canucks are bracing for an even more motivated Blues squad, which twice won series last year despite losing the opening clash.

"This series is not going to be easy," said Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom, who made 29 saves in the opener.

"It's going to be really tough. St. Louis is a great team, and we have to count on them coming really hungry for Game 2, and we have to step up our game as well and grow and keep building on what we started."

--Field Level Media

Updated August 13, 2020

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