Is it just me, or have more game previews and game threads and game recaps mentioned "the Blues need to play the full 60 minutes" this season? Because it seems like we write that phrase a lot around here.
Of course, it's not like it's not true. The Blues need to play a full game. They're dominant when they do, and against weaker teams they can usually be dominant when they take a little time off. The Los Angeles Kings are not a weaker team, and the Blues got walked all over Thursday night. The Anaheim Ducks are the best team in the Western Conference, so the Blues will have to come to play tonight if they want to prevent a small losing streak.
Both teams are an excellent 8-2-0 in their last ten. The Ducks have done that fully staffed, while the Blues have been getting players back piece by piece. Tonight they get the biggest piece back: Alexander Steen has been cleared to go. Will this be enough fuel to get the Blues to beat the Ducks? They are beatable, after all. Ask the Chicago Blackhawks.
In net tonight will be two very-good 1B goaltenders. Brian Elliott is back in after Jaroslav Halak's struggles Thursday against the Kings. The guy who has almost made Jonas Hiller expendable (which management will never admit to that nearly happening) is Frederik Andersen. He's 11-2-0 this season with a 1.98 GAA and a .927 SV%. Elliott's played slightly more, going 13-2-2 with a 1.86 GAA and a .925 SV%. Tonight's game has the potential to be a low scoring affair. Maybe with Steen's return the Blues can be on the side that scores more.
Just get the puck to T.J. Oshie and keep it away from Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, and the Blues should be fine. Right? Right.