What a strange time to be a Blues fan. On one hand, you could mourn the loss of fan favorites like T.J. Oshie or the prodigal son Paul Stastny. On the other, it's hard to be upset with a 4 game winning streak. Sure, you can complain that we let the Avs sneak out a point, but the more important thing is that the Blues came out with two. These are interesting times, indeed. There are plenty of positives to satisfy you and balance out the negative.
An intriguing pattern has emerged in the NHL already this season. There seems to be a disturbing amount of injuries to teams that use "blue" in their name. You're already familiar with the roster turnover that the Blues have gone through. The Blue Jackets have been through the grinder as well...
good lord pic.twitter.com/RpO7E8SwAX— Steph (@myregularface) October 31, 2014
The NY Rangers have been called the "Blueshirts" for several years, and they are feeling the injury pinch as well. Particularly, their D corps has been affected. In the season opener here in St Louis, defenseman Dan Boyle broke his hand. He is still on the shelf. John Moore is off the ice for an injury, but for one he inflicted rather than one of his own. He's in the midst of of a 5-game suspension for a hit on the Wild's Erik Haula. Then, the Rangers got a double whammy by losing 2 defenseman early in the same game. Kevin Klein took a shot off the foot and is dealing with a "contusion". Bigger than that, captain Ryan McDonagh took a hit from Evander Kane that separated his left shoulder. This should keep him off the ice for 3-4 weeks. The Rangers were forced to play most of the game with just 4 defenseman. This resulted in a 1-0 shootout loss to Ondrej Pavelec and the Winnipeg Jets. While not a d-man, the Rangers have also lost Derek Stepan for a while. To reinforce the ranks, they have placed Ryan Malone on waivers to send him to Hartford, allowing cap space to call up 2 blueliners: Dylan McIlrath and Conor Allen.
Considering their patchwork defense, coach Alain Vigneault has made the unusual call of starting Cam Talbot in net. Why give Henrik Lundqvist a night off when the D might need him the most? Perhaps they are already writing off this game, or consider it less important since it's against the opposite conference. One would think that a hobbled D and a backup goalie would spell an easy victory for the Blues. But the Blues never do anything easily.
Another thing to be aware of: as bad as the Blues special teams have been, the Rangers have been pretty bad too. In particular, they have the 3rd worst power play in the league. They have only succeeded scoring on 7.1% of their opportunities. If nothing else, perhaps that can give the Blues PK a much needed boost. Hopefully the Blues will be coming home with some better special teams stats.
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Final Verse: East Coast / Eastern Time. The puck drops at 6:00 PM St Louis time, and the GameDay Thread should drop shortly beforehand. The TV broadcast is on Fox Sports MW, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120. Come with me and the rest of the GameTime crew as we take a big bite out of the Big Apple. Here's a video that still gets the blood pumping, for me at least.