Canucks can't play Blues' tune

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

Vancouver Canucks will need rhythm to beat the Blues tonight in St. Louis (5 p.m., Team 1040/Sportsnet).

Canucks put in four efforts without soul last season, allowing the Blues to sweep the series with a 16-4 goal margin.

Wins over the Canucks accounted for 19 per cent of the lowly Blues' 21 victories.

The beginning of Vancouver's midseason slide can be traced to the first game of the New Year on Jan. 2 when St. Louis recorded a 4-1 home ice victory. The bad performances against St. Louis are a big reason why the Canucks finished three points behind the Edmonton Oilers for the last Western conference playoff spot.

It's a new season and the Blues are showing little improvement. Ex-Canuck Martin Rucinsky leads the way with three goals and two assists. Veterans Doug Weight and Keith Tkachuk have failed to score in six games. Blues improved their goaltending with the addition of Manny Legace, but the club has won twice in six games.

Expect Canucks' head coach Alain Vigneault to continue line-juggling as he seeks the elusive combination for an effective second unit. Roberto Luongo should return to goal tonight after resting Tuesday when Dany Sabourin was tabbed with the 2-1 loss in Edmonton.

Canucks, who have dipped to 3-3-1, also visit the Nashville Predators tomorrow night (5 p.m. CFUN 1410/CBC).

Canucks beat Nashville once last season, but lost twice in regulation - including a 5-0 laugher in Tennessee - and once in overtime.


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