Two first-place teams aim to carry their form into the season's unofficial second half when the St. Louis Blues visit the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.
After welcoming the league's biggest stars to St. Louis for Saturday's All-Star Game, the Blues hit the road as the regular season resumes. Monday's date in Vancouver begins a four-game road trip for the Blues through Canada, concluding with a visit to the division rival Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 1.
Perhaps the toughest challenge will come right away as the Blues face a Canucks team that recently has been unbeatable in its own building.
Vancouver is 8-0-0 in its past eight home games. A Canucks victory on Monday would tie the fourth-longest regular-season home winning streak in franchise history and put Vancouver closer to the team record of 11 straight home wins.
The recent home ice dominance has carried Vancouver to an 11-3-0 record over its past 14 games overall. The Canucks enter the second half of the season on a two-game winning streak.
St. Louis already has notched one win in Vancouver this season, emerging with a 2-1 overtime victory on Nov. 5. The Canucks also hold a road victory over the Blues, earning a 4-3 shootout win on Oct. 17. Monday's game is the third and final regular-season meeting between the two teams.
The Blues hold a six-point lead over the second-place Colorado Avalanche in the Central Division. St. Louis entered the All-Star break on a down note, however, going 0-1-1 in its last two games.
Ryan O'Reilly, David Perron, Alex Pietrangelo and Jordan Binnington were starters for the Central Division's all-Blues starting lineup in Saturday's All-Star Game. The home-ice advantage didn't help as the Pacific Division team -- which included Vancouver's Jacob Markstrom, Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson -- routed the Central 10-5.
The Canucks hold a one-point lead over four teams in the tightly compacted Pacific Division. Neither the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Vegas Golden Knights or Arizona Coyotes play Monday, giving Vancouver an opportunity to create some much-needed space atop the standings.
Vancouver forward Bo Horvat has 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in his past 10 games.
Perron has nine points (five goals, four assists) in his past seven games.
Sammy Blais (wrist surgery) and Colton Parayko (upper-body injury) could be available for St. Louis. Blais has been out of action since Nov. 19. Parayko has missed the Blues' past seven games.