The St. Louis Blues will try to rebound from just their second loss this month when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes for tonight's meeting at PNC Arena.
The Blues had a five-game winning streak snapped with Tuesday's shootout loss in Chicago, dropping the Central Division leaders to 5-1-1 in March. St. Louis still has only suffered one regulation setback over its last 11 contests, going 9-1-1 over that span.
St. Louis enters tonight with a seven-point lead over Detroit for the top spot in the Central and the Blues are six ahead of Vancouver for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. The New York Rangers also trail the Blues by three points for the top overall seed in the NHL.
The Blues held a 3-1 lead over the Blackhawks after the first period on Tuesday, but Chicago scored once in the second and again in the third to force overtime. After a scoreless extra session, Patrick Kane then netted the lone goal of the shootout to lift the Blackhawks to the 4-3 decision at United Center.
Kane managed to slide a backhander between the pads of Jaroslav Halak to open the shootout. Corey Crawford then stopped T.J. Oshie, Andy McDonald and David Perron to cap the win.
Jamie Langenbrunner, McDonald and Patrik Berglund scored for the Blues, while Halak was the hard-luck loser, stopping 43-of-46 shots in the setback.
"We are not checking well at all for a consistent period because we're not managing the puck properly," Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said. "When you're not managing the puck properly it ends up burying you."
Tonight marks the third stop on a seven-game road trip for St. Louis, which is 16-14-4 as the guest compared to a splendid 29-4-4 record at home.
The Hurricanes, who are 11 points out of a playoff spot in the East, have lost two straight in regulation after going 8-2-6 in their previous 16 contests.
Carolina's most recent setback was Tuesday's 4-2 road loss against the New York Rangers. The 'Canes trailed 3-0 in the second period, but cut the deficit to one goal before the end of 40 minutes. New York's Carl Hagelin scored the only goal of the third period, as the Rangers held off the visitors.
Tim Brent and Drayson Bowman tallied goals for Carolina, which ended a five- game road trip with a 2-2-1 record. Cam Ward made 24 saves in the loss.
"Obviously we were down by a few and we stayed with our gameplan and were able to climb back into the game, said Carolina captain Eric Staal. "It felt like pucks were just hitting (Rangers goaltender Martin) Biron, hitting the posts, hitting everything we didn't want them to hit and then they scored that fourth goal to separate the gap."
Carolina is home for just one game before playing two in a row and five of its next six away from Raleigh. The Hurricanes have fared much better at home this year, going 17-13-6 as the host compared to a 9-16-9 road record.
Tonight marks the only meeting of the season between the Blues and Hurricanes. St. Louis has won two of the last three encounters overall and the Blues have claimed four of the last seven matchups in Raleigh.