No rust in Steen's game as Blues visit Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- With more pieces becoming part of the equation for the St. Louis Blues, things might be coming together.

That could be the case for the Carolina Hurricanes as well.

The clubs meet Friday night at PNC Arena having deviated in different directions.

"We're a good hockey team," St. Louis coach Mike Yeo said. "We need to make sure we're ready to compete at the level we need to."

The Blues (7-2-1) mark the second divisional leader to visit Carolina in a four-night span. St. Louis has a four-game points streak (3-0-1).

The Hurricanes (4-3-1), who lost to Tampa Bay 5-1 on Tuesday, are coming off an explosive performance with Thursday night's 6-3 victory at Toronto to snap a two-game losing streak.

It was time to perk up for the Hurricanes after a few outings that brought considerable frustration.

"They need to get going," Peters said of his top scorers. "It's time. One thing they can't do is grip the stick too tight."

The Blues, who defeated Calgary 5-2 at home Wednesday, arrived Thursday in Raleigh, so they've been waiting for the Hurricanes.

St. Louis' Alexander Steen is coming off a four-point performance (one goal, three assists), clearly shaking off the rust from missing the opening six games of the season with a broken thumb. But Yeo said Steen's strong training camp put him in good position to make key contributions.

Steen willplay his fifth game of the seasonin the matchup with Carolina.

"He looks quicker out there and he looks fast out there and he makes things happen, especially in the offensive zone," Yeo said. "He's getting on pucks. He's a guy you trust out there in all situations."

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The Blues could have defenseman Carl Gunnarsson back after he missed Wednesday's game because his wife was giving birth. Gunnarsson's absence allowed Nate Prosser to join the lineup for the first time this season.

Blues left winger Jaden Schwartz holds a five-game points streak.

This is the Blues' sixth game against an Eastern Conference team. Yeo said he believes the differences in the conferences are starting to even out.

"The East used to be a little bit more up and down. I think we still see that a little bit more in the East," Yeo said. "We harp on as coaches, it doesn't matter who you are playing, where you are playing, your game shouldn't change."

The Hurricanes have been willing to turn to their fourth line for key sequences. That could serve as a message to other players.

Peters said he's looking for sustained success.

"If not, we'll have to do some different things," he said.

Thursday night's game marked a season-high goals total for the Hurricanes, who have tallied only one goal in three of their games. Carolina is counting on a core of players with limited experience, so it could take time for it to all click.

"Younger players get a little bit impatient and they try to do somebody else's job," Peters said.

The Blues and Hurricanes have split four games across the past two seasons, each team winning twice on the road. The Blues have won their last three outings in Raleigh, with two of those in shootouts.