Slumping Goalies

The St. Louis Blues and the Vancouver Canucks can almost always rely on strong goaltending. Lately, though, Manny Legace and Roberto Luongo have slumped, and their teams are struggling as a result.

Legace and the Blues hope to end a five-game losing streak while Luongo and the Canucks try to put the brakes on a four-game skid Wednesday night at GM Place.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Vancouver -164 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 62% of bets for this game have been placed on Vancouver –164 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

Recently named to his first All-Star team, Legace hasn't been sharp in his last two starts - both against Nashville. He allowed four goals on 15 shots before he was pulled in the second period Saturday in a 5-2 loss, and gave up five goals on 26 shots in Monday's 6-3 road defeat.

"We failed to execute in certain key situations," Blues coach Andy Murray said. "I thought that we did some solid things, but we can't give up that many goals on that few of shots."

Legace is 0-2-1 with a 4.03 goals-against average in his last four games. He has lost his last three starts at Vancouver, yielding 12 goals.

Brad Boyes, Dan Hinote and Keith Tkachuk had goals Monday for St. Louis (22-18-6), which has been outscored 26-13 during its longest losing streak of the season.

One reason why St. Louis is 6-9-5 in its last 20 games is a power play that has converted only nine of 84 opportunities in that span.

"We're battling hard, but just not executing the plays," defenseman Barret Jackman said. "We have to get back to the basics until we get everyone working together and get synched again."

To return to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons, the Blues need to play better on the road. They are 8-10-2 away from home, where they play 21 of their final 36 games.

Boyes' goal Monday was his career-high 27th of the season and gave him six in his last six games.

Although far from the only reason for his team's season-high four-game skid, Luongo hasn't been sharp lately. He has allowed three goals or more in five of his last six starts, including Monday's 4-2 home loss to Minnesota.

"Listen, I'm trying to do the best I can out there," Luongo said. "I'm a human being like everyone else. It's hard to be on top of you're A-game for 82 games. Obviously I gave up some bad goals tonight but you can always do better."

Luongo would have been Legace's teammate on the Western Conference All-Star team, but he has decided to skip the game to spend time with his pregnant wife. Luongo also received permission to miss the Canucks' first game after the All-Star break, Jan. 29 at home against Dallas.

The Canucks (25-19-5) have lost four straight for the first time since a five-game skid from March 5-14, 2006.

Even playing at home hasn't helped Vancouver lately. It has lost three straight at GM Place after recording at least one point in each of its previous 14 games (12-0-2) there.

The Blues are 1-0-1 this season against the Canucks, but this is the first meeting in Vancouver. St. Louis has at least one point in nine of the last 10 meetings (6-1-3).

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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