Tonight the Blues pay a vist to the Sunshine State and former captain Eric Brewer when they face the Bolts. There are a few storylines that converge tonight. Obviously, everyone here is excited to see our boy Jaden Schwartz make his Blues debut tonight. The Blues are also needing to rebound from this rough patch that we've hit lately. The Tampa squad is all but officially out of the playoffs, but cling to thin hopes. They've lost players to injury, but are riding Stamkos and Tokarski as far as they will take them. All of this is set on the backdrop of St Patrick's Day, one of the best drinking holidays around. Not that we Blues fans need much reason to drink. Fitting, then, that our greenest rookie starts on the greenest of days.
The Enemy: The Lightning will be in desperation mode, where every game will be make or break for them and their postseason chances. They are likely to end up on the outside, looking in; they currently stand in 11th place with 71 points and 12 games left to play. That is 7 points behind 8th place Washington and 10 points behind division leader Florida. Making the stretch run even more difficult is the recent loss of goaltender Mathieu Garon, who had played himself into the starter's role. Enter the callup Dustin Tokarski, who has started the last 4 games and posted a 1-2-1 record and stats of 2.79 GAA and .900 SV%. That doesn't sound incredibly good, but that GAA leads the team, and the .900 is tied for best with Garon. Given their recent goaltending history, it is no surprise then that the Bolts lead the league in Goals Allowed with 237.
Offensively, the Lightning are obviously led by Steven Stamkos (50G / 34A), who leads the league in goals and is second in overall points. Next is Martin St. Louis (23G / 41A) and Teddy Purcell (Newfie!) (20G /36A). Besides the goaltender Garon, the Lightning are missing defensemen Bruno Gervais, Marc-Andre Bergeron and Mattias Ohlund, and forward Vincent Lecavalier.
Final Verse: The puck drops at 6PM St Louis time, and the GDT should be along shortly beforehand. The broadcasts are on the usual outlets: Fox Sports MW for TV and KMOX 1120 AM for the radio call. Until then, this is your pregame warmup. Gather here, tell us how you enjoyed the sunshine, share your favorite St Patty's story, and predict the kind of night Jaden is going to have in Tampa. Also, here's a clip of one of my favorite Irishmen, comedian Ed Byrne:
Ed Byrne Emos and Goths (via SpiirytStarrchild)