Thank God the Blues showed up and got us a win in Phoenix! While it wasn't a perfect game, there was plenty to be happy about - especially the two points that the Blues earned. Now, a lot has already been said and written about the explosion of offense from the line of Patrik Berglund, Chris Stewart, and David Perron, and rightfully so. But, I'd like to highlight someone else here: Jaden Schwartz. Since joining the top line with David Backes and T.J. Oshie, he has really stepped up his game. The stats aren't there to show it yet, but the kid has really impressed me. I'm thinking the stats will come in time; he just needs to keep at it.
The Enemy: The Sharks started off pretty hot this year, opening with a 7-0-1 run. Since then, they've been much more human. In their last ten games, they've gone 4-4-2 and have had some troubles scoring. In fact, they have the fewest team goals in the league (51) and the second-fewest goals-for average at 2.08. The usual names are at the top of the leaderboard: Joe Thornton leads in points (5-18-23), followed by the goals leader Patrick Marleau (12-6-18). Joe Pavelski (17pts) and Logan Couture (16pts) are right behind, and then there's a drop off. There's a lot of eggs in one basket there.
As for the net, the Sharks have been pretty good at keeping the puck out, with only 50 team goals against. That's been their saving grace. The starter is Antti Niemi, who so far has gone 10-4-4 with a 1.83 GAA and a .935 save percentage. Backing him up has been Thomas Greiss (1-3-0, 2.79 and .906), but he may be having some neck issues. As such, they've called up Alex Stalock as a possible backup. He has 30 minutes of NHL stats, but it was a perfect shutout for those 30 minutes.
Final Verse: It's an afternoon game today! I'm sure our European friends will appreciate that. The puck drops at 3:00 PM St Louis time. The TV broadcasts are on Fox Sports Midwest AND on the NHL Network for you out-of-market types. The radio call is, as usual, on the mighty KMOX 1120 AM. The GDT will drop shortly ahead of the puck. Until then, this is your warmup. We'll need some folks to carry the weight in the GDT, as there will be some regulars at our watch party at Cousin Hugo's (you may have heard about it). Join us there if you can, or join the GDT chat.