Tonight the Blues stay in the Eastern Conference and take on the Devils. Unfortunately, these Devils are going to present a tougher challenge than the Sens did. They are one of the hottest teams going right now. Scoring a couple of goals early, like Tuesday, will help a lot. Hell, scoring goals -period- is a big bonus. No matter what happens, the Blues need to stand tall, take what the Devils dish out, and keep coming at 'em.
Musical note: as much as I enjoy the Tom Petty original, no one sings this with as much conviction as The Man In Black.
The Enemy: This is probably the worst time to be pulling into East Rutherford, NJ to play the Devils. They are on a hell of a hot streak, having won 5 in a row including 2 against the current Conference-leading NY Rangers. In 4 of those games, NJ scored 4 or more goals. In the last 10 games, their record is 7-2-1. Their PK is second in the league, killing 88.7% of opponent power plays.
No surprise, the players to watch are familiar names Ilya Kovalchuk (10 pts in the last 5 games), Patrik Elias (currently riding a 6-game point streak) and Zach Parise (also on a 6-game point streak). Add to that David Clarkson, who has 5 goals in the last 5 games. Suffice it to say, their offense is clicking right now. Also, one new player to watch out for is rookie center Adam Henrique (13G/ 21A), who is one of the leading candidates for the Calder Trophy this year.
As for goaltending, the venerable Martin Brodeur has put up a stat line of .899 SV% and 2.66 GAA. According to the Twitterverse, backup netminder Johan Hedberg will likely get the start tonight. His numbers are .909% / 2.52.
Final Verse: An early start once again, as the puck drops at 6:00 PM St Louis time. The broadcasts are on the usual outlets, Fox Sports MW for TV and KMOX 1120 AM for radio. Until then, this is your pregame warmup. Gather here, vent just one more time about the Stevens deal, laugh at the redonkulous Kovalchuk contract, and enjoy this two-for-one special, as two fights broke out at the same time in NJ's last game with the Rangers: