|Canucks search for consistency vs. Blues|
VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks should need little motivation for their next game.
Coming off arguably their worst performance of the season, against an expansion team, no less, the Canucks (9-8-2) host the St. Louis Blues (14-5-1) -- one of the National Hockey League's top clubs -- on Saturday night.
"We know it might be the best team in the league coming in," said Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin. "It's going to be a great test for us. We show up for these challenges."
The Blues lead the Western Conference and were out of sorts recently because they had lost two games in a row. The Canucks have been a model of inconsistency -- great some nights, lousy on others.
Before losing to Vegas, the Canucks downed the Los Angeles Kings. Consequently, Sedin is confident that they can rebound after the loss to the Golden Knights, who were considered vulnerable due to a spate of injuries to their goaltenders but still prevailed.
"We beat L.A. on the road," said Sedin. "They are a really good team. Now we are on home ice. It should be a fun game."
It will be even more enjoyable if Vancouver can avoid giving up early goals. In both of their last two games, the Canucks allowed the opposition to stake claims to 2-0 leads.
Vancouver managed to overcome the deficits on both occasions, but could not prevail over Vegas after completing the comeback with a win in L.A.
"That's not really the way we want to start," said Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton of the early goals against. "We have to sharpen up, especially in the first period. Maybe start a couple of games with the first goal."
That will be easier said than done against the Blues, who beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-1 without much trouble on Thursday night.
The Canucks will have to pay close attention to Brayden Schenn, who recorded two goals and an assist in against the Oilers, and now has 14 points in the last six games. Schenn is shining with St. Louis after joining the Blues in an offseason trade from Philadelphia.
"I've got a good opportunity to play with good players in all situations," Schenn told reporters in Edmonton.
With 25 points in 20 games, Schenn has a strong chance to surpass the career-best 59 points that he recorded with Philly in 2015-16.
"Whether the Blues are more my style of hockey, or whatever, it has been a lot of fun so far," he said. "We have a good team here and it's been fun being a part of this organization. I've got a lot of confidence right now."
Meanwhile, goaltender Jake Allen's self-esteem is high these days, too. He is becoming a steady presence with the Blues after struggling in his early days as a starter last season.
Allen posted his 100th career win against the Oilers.
"I didn't know until (Thursday night)," Allen told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I don't like stats. "It's pretty cool when you look back at it -- my second really full year as a starter. Hopefully, (I) get a hundred more the next couple years."
Allen sports a 10-5-1 record with a 2.71 goals-against average and .912 saves percentage. The Canucks will be looking to put more difficult shots on net than they did against Vegas. At the same time, Vancouver will also try to deliver a more physical effort than they did against the expansion club.
"They are a hardnosed team," said Hutton. "They come with speed. They are pretty deep. They are going to come hard."