I'm both happy about and nonplussed by this tweet from Lou Korac:
Hitch: "Backes will play, don't go to the bank on the rest of the lineup." Said some guys felt good, some didn't feel great. #stlblues— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) November 1, 2014
Obviously, it's good to have David Backes back tonight. It's also getting old-hat to see half of the team be questionable for a game thanks to the mumps or whatever is going around. I would be lying if I weren't concerned at how fast Backes seems to've bounced back from this latest concussion, but he passed a baseline test. They wouldn't let him play if he couldn't go.
The Blues won three of four against the Avs last season, and if not for the end of the year meltdown would've bested them for the Central Division title. The Avalanche flew incredibly high last season, overachieving under new head coach Patrick Roy, and have crashed this season. Neither the Blues nor the Avalanche have gotten off to the best starts this season, though one could say that the rough start was probably only expected for one of the two teams. The Avalanche are one point behind the Blues in the Central by virtue of four losses in extra time; they've won just three of their first eleven games.
The Blues should keep an eye on the usual suspects. Rookie of the year Nathan MacKinnon had two goals in the Avs' 5-2 drubbing of the Islanders. It would also be helpful if the power play could step it up tonight even more than they have so far this season. One place where the Avalanche excel is the penalty kill, which is going on at a probably unsustainable clip of 91.1.% for the year.
Tonight's line-up should be interested. As of now, both Dmitrij Jaskin and Jay Bouwmeester (!) are listed as "sick" along with Joakim Lindstrom again. What will the lineup look like tonight for the Blues? We're going to have to wait.