Canucks vs. Blues Preview

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ST. LOUIS, MO (AP) - The Vancouver Canucks have earned at least one point in each of Roberto Luongo's starts over the past two-plus months.

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The St. Louis Blues were the last team to prevent that from happening.

Vancouver continues its chase of the Presidents' Trophy at St. Louis, where the Blues are looking to revive their fading playoff hopes.

According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGlobal.com have made the Canucks -130 money line favorites for Monday's game against the Blues. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 50% of more than 57 bets for this game have been placed on the Canucks -130.

Luongo has gone 16-0-5 with a 1.90 goals-against average since a 3-2 regulation loss to the Blues on Dec. 5, including a 3-1 victory in the rematch Dec. 20. He won his sixth straight start Saturday, making 24 saves in a 4-2 win against Calgary.

For all of Luongo's success, he credits his team for playing well in front of him. Vancouver (36-11-9), which has an NHL-best 81 points, has killed off 31 straight penalties over its last eight games and 38 of 39 in the last 10.

``Our penalty kill has been good all year and come up big in crucial situations and (it was) no different (Saturday)," Luongo said.

Mikael Samuelsson stayed hot, scoring twice to give him seven goals and seven assists in his last eight games after tallying only a single assist in the previous 14. He attributed his recent surge to coach Alain Vigneault moving him back on the second line with Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond, who assisted on Samuelsson's first goal.

``I'm not only here to score goals, but when it doesn't go in for you, what are you going to do?'' Samuelsson said. ``You gotta stick with it and believe in yourself. Everybody is important to the team and not everyone puts points up.''

Alex Burrows also added a pair of goals.

While Luongo continues his stellar play, the recent struggles of Jaroslav Halak have contributed to St. Louis' freefall toward the bottom of the Western Conference.

Halak was pulled midway through the second period after allowing three goals on 20 shots in a 3-1 loss in Minnesota on Saturday. The Blues (24-21-9) have lost seven of nine, with Halak going 1-3-2 with a 3.62 GAA during that stretch.

``Any time you're taken out, as a player you're going to be angry and upset,'' defenseman Erik Johnson said, ``but we weren't very good in front of him and didn't give him much of a chance. It's not his fault at all.''

After a five-game winning streak, St. Louis has lost 13 of 17, allowing 3.5 goals per game in that stretch.

``We have to understand that success comes from that collective five-man effort,'' coach Davis Payne said. ``This is not the time of year where you can have any guys take off.''

Alex Steen has three goals - including the game-winner Dec. 5 - and an assist against the Canucks this season. However, Steen has only one goal in his last 15 games.

Vancouver has won its last two at St. Louis and three of four overall versus the Blues.

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