Back on Track: Canucks down Blues

The Vancouver Canucks didn't play a perfect game thursday night; but they skated away with a 3-2 victory at the hands of the St.Louis Blues.

The Canucks were coming off a disappointing home loss to the Montreal Canadians, and looked hungry for a win off the puck drop.

Mikael Samuelsson, red hot as of late, opened the scoring with his 18th of the year, as he whacked a backhand shot past blues netminder Ty Conklin. Conklin, filling in for the injured Jaroslav Halak, finished with 24 saves.

Then, late in the first period, Sami Salo unleashed his patented howitzer past Conklin for his first goal of the season with four minutes left in the first. It was a great play by Tanner Glass that created the opportunity, as he got in hard on the forecheck, and managed to feed Salo a great pass.

In the second period, the Blues looked much better than the Canucks. There was a complete shift in momentum, and Alex Pietrangelo took advantage on the powerplay with his 8th of the year. The 21 year old sniped the puck past a sprawling Cory Schneider, who finished the game with 28 saves.

Soon after, David Backes got his 23rd goal of the year, as he crushed the puck past Schneider. It was just over a minute after Pietrangelo's goal, a disturbing trend for the Canucks, who too often have seen multiple goals go in over a short period of time.

However, the Blues goals set the stage for Manny Malhotra. Malhotra, much maligned this season for his lack of production, got his eigth goal of the year on a hard working shift that ended with a great wraparound shot that beat Conklin between the legs.

The goal happened one minute into the third, so the Canucks played defensively for the rest of the period. The Blues came close, but each attempt was thrwarted by Schneider, who was named the game's first star. The Canucks skated away with a 3-2 victory, and remain the top team in the NHL, one point ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Notes:Daniel Sedin had an assist to move him 2 points ahead of Steven Stamkos for the Art Ross race...Sami Salo has 3 points (1g, 2a) in 7 games since returning from injury...Salo's goal was his first since April 4th, 2010.