|STL||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
|TOR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
No team needed a break to regroup more than the slumping St. Louis Blues.
The Blues hope come out of the All-Star break recharged and pick up their first win in nearly three weeks when they visit the Maple Leafs on Tuesday in their first game at Toronto in more than four years.
St. Louis (22-19-7) was in eighth place in the Western Conference after defeating Dallas 4-2 on Jan. 10, but the Blues have lost seven straight since.
St. Louis has been outscored 34-16 during the skid, which has dropped it into 12th place in the West, five points back of Colorado and Columbus for the final playoff spot. This is the Blues' longest losing streak since dropping 11 in a row from Nov. 25-Dec. 17, 2006. That skid led to the firing of former coach Mike Kitchen, and the hiring of Andy Murray on Dec. 11, 2006.
St. Louis lost 4-1 at San Jose on Thursday in its final game before the break. The Blues limited the Sharks to three shots in the first period, before allowing 23 over the final two.
"They took over in the second and third periods," said St. Louis goaltender Manny Legace, who made 22 saves. "It looked like we got a little tired. When you show a weakness they're going to bury you."
Brad Boyes scored his team-leading 29th goal to provide the only offense for St. Louis. Boyes has scored in each of his last four games, and has eight goals in his last eight.
Legace has started all but one game during the Blues' slide, posting a 3.56 goals-against average in those six contests. He also took the loss for the West in Sunday's All-Star game, allowing three third-period goals as the Eastern Conference won 8-7.
Legace is 1-4-0 with a 3.18 GAA lifetime against the Maple Leafs.
This is the first meeting between these teams in Canada since St. Louis won 3-2 at the Air Canada Centre on Dec. 9, 2003. The Blues have won four straight games in Toronto since a 2-all tie on April 5, 1999.
Paul Kariya, who leads the Blues with 32 assists and 44 points, has six goals and seven assists during a 10-game point streak against the Leafs.
Much like St. Louis, Toronto (20-23-8) is looking to turn things around in the second half of the season.
The Leafs are 5-9-1 since Dec. 26, and are 1-1 since general manager John Ferguson was fired and replaced by Cliff Fletcher on an interim basis.
Toronto lost 2-1 at Washington on Thursday, when two more Leafs suffered shoulder injuries.
After Alexei Ponikarovsky dislocated his right shoulder in Wednesday's 3-2 home win over the Capitals, Alex Steen and Darryl Boyce both went down in the back end of the home-and-home.
Steen (separated right shoulder) is expected to miss 10 to 14 days. Boyce (separated left shoulder) is out indefinitely, while Ponikarovsky will be out for six weeks.
"We've had some experience and some success playing games with some beat up guys and some injuries and we expect to do the same," Leafs coach Paul Maurice told the team's official Web site.
Vesa Toskala made 18 saves against Wednesday, but saw his four-game winning streak snapped. Toskala, in his first season with Toronto after four with San Jose, is 6-1-0 with a 2.28 GAA and two shutouts lifetime against the Blues.
|Jan 29 '08||STL 3 at TOR 2||D. Backes|