The St. Louis Blues are looking to defend their Stanley Cup title but they have to first overcome something the franchise has yet to ever do: beat the Vancouver Canucks in a playoff series.
The Blues take on the Canucks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday night, their fourth meeting in the playoffs. Unfortunately for St. Louis, the Canucks won the series every time, most recently sweeping them in 2009.
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS: BOSTON BRUINS, CAROLINA HURRICANES FACE OFF IN ROUND 1
St. Louis has a powerful offense that saw them end the regular season as the number one team in the Western Conference with 94 points. But their performance didn’t transfer in the round-robin games where they lost to the Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights and the Dallas Stars and were outscored 10-6.
The Canucks, by contrast, won the qualifying round against the Minnesota Wild 3-1, outscoring their opponents 12-10.
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The teams have faced off three times this past season with the Canucks going 2-1.
With two strong offenses who each bode having the top face-off teams in the NHL, the series will likely come down to the wire.
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WHAT TO KNOW
Game 1: Aug. 12, 10:30 p.m. ET.
Game 2: Aug. 14, 6:30 p.m. ET.
Game 3: Aug. 16, 10:30 p.m. ET.
Game 4: Aug. 17, 10:30 p.m. ET.
Game 5 (if necessary): Aug. 19, TBD.
Game 6 (if necessary): Aug. 21, TBD.
Game 7 (if necessary): Aug. 23, TBD.
Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta.
Canucks’ defenseman Oscar Fantenberg skated Tuesday signaling that he would be good to play in Wednesday night’s game. Jay Beagle will likely join him after dealing with a hand injury. Wingers Tyler Toffoli and Michael Ferland have been ruled out.
Blues’ Ivan Barbashev left the bubble to be there for the birth of his first child. He is set to return to the bubble Friday but it remains unknown if he’ll be cleared in time to play the Canucks.