Blues fans are dealing with a severe case of Deja Vu right now. It seems we're witnessing some old habits returning, namely the "not playing 60 minutes worth of hockey" and "getting injured" and also some spotty special teams play. This team cannot afford a slow start - the flashes we've seen so far (that third period in Dallas was beautiful) need to be applied throughout the game. There's a sense of urgency that's simply missing. Even worse, when the team in front is not playing up to their potential, it puts all of the pressure on the goaltending to be perfect. Right now, of all the words that could be used to describe Jaro's performance thus far, "perfect" is .... well, pretty damn far down the list. I think Gallagher nailed it: Jaro isn't playing with confidence right now. When you expect the worst, it makes it more likely to come true. The good thing is, the opposite is also true; if you play boldly, you tend to yield better results. I don't know how to bring this about, but Jaro definitely could use a boost here. He needs to keep his head up.
The Enemy: The Sharks are likely still finding their stride, as well. They opened their season with a 6-3 pounding of the Coyotes on Oct 8th, and then didn't play again until last night - a 6 day layoff. That second game was a 1-0 shutout loss to the Ducks. So, the Sharks have just played the night before, and are looking to bounce back after a posting a goose-egg on the score sheet. One thing that may help our cause: the Sharks were playing their 3rd-string goalie last night, Thomas Greiss. In his two starts so far this year, he's posted a .920 / 2.02 GAA stat line. Antti Niemi is coming back from injury, and was dressed as the backup last night. Early reports indicate that Griess will be back in net tonight, though. As good as his numbers are, there's gotta be a reason he's behind Niemi and Antero Niittymaki on the depth chart. Martin Havlat is also missing time with an injury. Additionally, we get to see old friend Brad Winchester (BFW!), likely playing on the Shark's fourth line tonight.
Final Verse: The puck drops at 9:00 St Louis time, and the GDT will be along shortly before. The broadcasts are on the usual outlets: FSMW for TV, and KMOX 1120 for the radio. Until then, this is your pre-game warmup. Get your fish jokes ready, welcome our friends from FTF when they drop in, and also note that, if you're in the St Louis area and want to watch the game amongst friends, some of us will be gathering tonight at Cousin Hugo's in Maplewood. We'll be easy to find- we'll be the loud table with a lot of empty bottles and glasses around us.
Also, consider that Cheech Marin might need to be hired as goaltending coach for Jaro's case of the yips:
Tin Roof (via rtnewman)