Lightning At Blues Game Preview: Ben Bishop Returns Home, Ryan Miller Debuts

Dilip Vishwanat

Blues fans should be excited - tonight is the home start of the Blues' latest goaltending era. Will Ryan Miller continue to benefit from the Blues' defense or will Tampa Bay's high-powered offense break through?

The trade deadline deals are picking up, with Ilya Bryzgalov heading to the Wild(s), Viktor Fasth going to the Oilers, Dustin Penner heading to the Caps and Stephane Robidas changing Pacific Division teams (he's going to Anaheim). All of those deals came out of the blue - it's interesting that one of the most anticipated deals hasn't gone down yet.

Obviously, I mean Martin St. Louis to the whoever wants him. St. Louis informed Lightning GM Steve Yzerman of his desire to be dealt, which is a pretty silly thing to do over hurt feelings. The Bolts are having a great season so far, and Steven Stamkos is close to coming back.

Regardless, the Blues are dealing with Tampa's diminutive scoring powerhouse (29 G 31 A). They also will be dealing with a former Blues goalie and a St. Louis native in big Ben Bishop. Bishop, who probably would've made the US Olympic team had he not been injured and the selection committee so focused on Jimmy Howard, has a teeny 2.05 GAA and a damn good .932 SV%. You want a reason that Tampa Bay's playing so well? There you go.

They're about to start playing a whole lot better, as, Stamkos is returning their next game. For once, the Blues get cut a break.

This is the last game on Tampa's long four-game road trip, and the Blues' first game at Scottrade with their newest additions, Steve Ott and Ryan Miller. There will be a whole lot of buzz in the building and expectation in the air that the Blues need to seize on. The Lightning aren't a pushover, though - the Blues are going to have to work. Miller has played them once this year, allowing three goals in a 3-2 loss back on October 25th. Miller still walked away from that game with a .920 SV% and the third star of the game, because he faced 39 shots on goal.

It must be such a relief to not have to face a firing squad every night.

Ian Cole is returning from the press box tonight as well to play alongside Roman Polak, so the D might be a little bit tighter than it was in Phoenix - hopefully. From the same article by Jeremy Rutherford, it looks like the lines are back to some semblance of normal as well.

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