After recording their first home win in more than three weeks, the St. Louis Blues appear to have a good chance at making it two in a row.
The Blues look to build on a significant victory as they face a Toronto Maple Leafs team trying to avoid a sixth straight road loss Friday night in its final game before the Olympic break.
St. Louis (26-25-9) is in 13th place in the Western Conference primarily because it's been unable to protect home ice, going an NHL-worst 10-16-5. Paul Kariya has a lot to do with those home woes, but he came up big in Tuesday's 4-3 shootout victory over Detroit.
The Blues rallied from two down in the third period for their first victory in five home games since beating the New York Rangers 4-1 on Jan. 16. It also marked their first home win over a team with one of the top nine records in either conference since a 4-3 victory over Calgary on Dec. 15.
Kariya scored twice Tuesday, and his goal at the 12:20 mark in the second period was his first at the Scottrade Center since Oct. 25, 2008.
"Get the win first, but it was nice to get that monkey off my back at home," said Kariya, who has 12 goals on the season. "I don't know what happened there, but it's behind us. Hopefully, they start flooding now."
Kariya has had no trouble scoring on the Maple Leafs with seven goals and nine assists during a 12-game point streak against them dating to Feb. 5, 1997. In the last meeting between these teams, Kariya's third-period goal forced overtime and the Blues went on to win 5-4 in a shootout.
Just as the Blues have struggled at home, Toronto has had more trouble on the road.
The Maple Leafs (19-30-11), owners of the worst record in the East, have lost five straight away from Toronto and are an NHL-worst 2-12-2 on the road since Dec. 5. This will be the Leafs' first game in St. Louis since a 2-1 win Feb. 6, 2007.
Toronto hasn't played since a 3-2 home loss to San Jose on Monday, though staff and players attended Tuesday's funeral for Brendan Burke, the son of Leafs general manager Brian Burke.
Against the Sharks, highly touted rookie Nazem Kadri made his NHL debut as regular forwards Christian Hanson and Fredrik Sjostrom were both out with an illness.
Kadri, selected seventh in last spring's draft, played 17 minutes without a shot or a point after notching 26 goals and 40 assists in 42 games in the Ontario Hockey League.
"He skated well," coach Ron Wilson said. "This was a great opportunity for him to see what the NHL is all about. He had a lot of turnovers, and things he can probably get away with in junior hockey, you can't get away with in our league."
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, acquired from Anaheim on Jan. 31, made 23 saves Monday in losing for the first time since becoming the first Leafs goalie to have shutouts in his first two games with the team.
Giguere is 9-1-2 with a 2.33 goals-against average and two shutouts in his last 13 starts against St. Louis.