Blues, Sens both looking to break slides when they face off
Minus their leading goal-scorer, the St. Louis Blues need to start generating some offense.
They will look to do that while trying to avoid a third consecutive loss in this opener of a three-game trip Thursday night against the lowly Ottawa Senators, who are trying to avoid a season-high sixth straight home defeat.
St. Louis lost forward Vladimir Tarasenko to an upper-body injury during last Thursday's 4-0 win at Los Angeles. Tarasenko scored his team-leading 28th goal in that contest, but is out at least until next week.
Since then, the Blues lost 3-2 in overtime at San Jose and 3-1 to Arizona at home Tuesday. In the latter, they held a 40-22 shots-on-goal advantage, but mustered only Jaden Schwartz's power-play score late in the third while down 2-0.
"We've just got to find ways to score goals," defenseman Alex Pietrangelo told the Blues' official website. "One goal, 6-on-5, or just on the power play, isn't good enough right now."
St. Louis still sits third in the Central Division, but Dallas is just two points back.
"We have to respond and get back on track," said forward Ryan O'Reilly, who has four of his team-leading 67 points in the last four games. "It's a tight race right now."
And the Blues hope they won't be without a couple of other key pieces moving forward.
While forward David Perron (upper-body injury), out since mid-January, may be nearing a return, winger Brayden Schenn, who recently missed six games with a concussion, was banged up Tuesday. The status of defenseman Joel Edmundson is uncertain after he suffered a lower-body injury against the Coyotes.
St. Louis has lost three straight two other times this season, but not since Nov. 17-21. The Blues play the next three versus Eastern Conference opponents, beginning with an Ottawa team they've outscored 16-3 during a four-game series winning streak.
O'Reilly helped set up Carl Gunnarsson's go-ahead goal at 12:16 into the third period of January's 3-2 home victory over the Senators. St. Louis rookie Jordan Binnington made 28 saves in that contest.
Binnington went 10-1-0 with a 1.44 goals-against average in February, but is 1-2-0 with a 3.09 in March. Teammate Jake Allen is 4-2-2 with a 2.25 goals-against average in his last eight starts -- all of which have come on the road.
Already eliminated from playoff contention, Ottawa is mired in a 1-10-1 stretch following Monday's 3-2 loss at Philadelphia. Despite the Senators boasting a league-low 52 points, four of their last five games have been decided by one goal.
"We're doing the best we can to make it exciting," forward Zack Smith, who has two goals with an assist in five games, told the Senators official website. "We're a young group here. Our main goal is (to) get better every night. I think we're doing that, we're making strides."
Ottawa can take a positive step forward by avoiding its first six-game home slide since 2010-11.
The Senators' Craig Anderson is 0-12-1 with a 3.54 goals-against average as a starter since beating Nashville on Dec. 17. He stopped 35 shots in January during his fourth straight losing decision versus St. Louis.
Backup Anders Nilsson has a 5.14 goals-against average in his last five starts.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 13, 2019