New faces on the team means developing new chemistry. Nothing bonds a team together like a road trip. Of course, the last time the Blues were on the road, they came back a different team than what they left as. Hmmm.
Fans don't want to let go of the playoff hopes, but these two home losses certainly makes things that much harder. These are essentially the games-in-hand that give the Blues a chance to make up ground. Talk about missed opportunities! Of course, just as things get gloomy, they've tended to win a game or two and stretch that tease just a little further. I believe it was just last year that the Blues swept the Western Canada Road Trip for the first time in franchise history... and the Blues lead the season series this year against the Canucks 2-1. It could happen.
New teammates. Travel. Trade Deadlines. Playoffs. The Smell... Nineteen might be underestimating it...
The Enemy: The Canucks have had their defensive corps truly devastated by injury lately. Nonetheless, they've managed to win games. A LOT of games. In 31 home contests, the Canuckleheads have only lost 5 in regulation. The reason for their success can be revealed in simple stats: Daniel Sedin leads the
team league in points with 78. Henrik is close behind at 73 points, 3rd in the NHL. Kevin Bieksa leads the league in +/- at +26 (VAN has 4 of the top 10 +/- leaders, and Henrik is #11). Goalie Roberto Luongo is 5th in the league with a .924 save % (2.27 GAA). And on top of everything else.... that D is starting to get healthy again. Both Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard came back for VAN's loss to Montreal. They are still missing Bieksa, Alex Edler, Andrew Alberts and Lee Sweatt on the blueline. If they are doing this well now, who knows how far they can go into the playoffs, once they get them back...
As expected, it's a late start tonight. The puck drops at 9:00 PM St Louis time. The broadcasts are on the usual outlets, FSMW for TV, and KMOX 1120AM for radio. Until the GDT comes along, this is your pregame warmup. Meet here, marvel over how long Mick and Keef have lived, continue/monger any trade rumors (Blues or otherwise), and enjoy this little blast from the past:
The Backup (via streakypro)