The Blues are on their worst losing streak of the season, and badly need to bounce back. The hallmarks of their winning ways, limiting opponents to a few shots while getting several of their own, still need to manifest themselves. There were signs of life against Dallas, but failure to stay out of the box, coupled with a lackluster PK, spelled the downfall.
And now some flakes roll in to town. There's snow better opportunity than the one that awaits the team tonight.
Patrick Roy's squad is in the basement of the Central Division for a reason; they struggle on defense, give up plenty of shots against, and rely on their goaltending. While Semyon Varlamov certainly looked unbeatable in our last meeting (12/23, a 5-0 loss, you remember I'm sure), he's been pretty pedestrian this year. His 5v5 save percentage is only 90.61 per www.war-on-ice.com. The Blues only got 26 shots on goal that game, despite being behind almost the entire time. If the Blues can get more on net, they will go in. On Saturday, our boys put 33 shots on the Dallas net. Hopefully, that's a sign that they are on the right path.
Meanwhile, we'll have to keep the pucks out of our own net.
I don't think it's a shock to anyone that Coach Hitch is turning to Martin Brodeur for this game. Jake's had a couple of rough outings lately, and could benefit from sitting one out. If you're a listener to the podcast, you may recall that I said the Brodeur hiring could work, as long as 3 things happen: We keep the shots against low (at the time, we were averaging about 25 shots against a game, if I recall), Marty gives us 90% save percentage (his recent years have been about that), and we can pot 3 goals of our own. I still think that's doable, and our offense has been up to the task. Somehow, though, the defense hasn't been there. We're allowing way too many shots against, and that spells trouble.
In the same effort, we need to play a more disciplined game. In the last Colorado game, the Avs scored 2 power play goals on 6 opportunities. Against Dallas, it was 2 again, on 5 opportunities. The Blues are a better team, but they're not that much better. Certainly not to the point that we can give the opponent the man-advantage so many times.
On top of all of that, here's the ace in the hole: The Hockey Gods have a warped sense of humor. I think they'd love the irony of Marty Brodeur playing - and winning- against Patrick Roy's team. If there is a break needed to fall our way, they'll be there.
So, there you have it. If the Blues don't shoot themselves in the foot, they can roll into Smashville on a new streak.
To see how the other half sees it: Mile High Hockey
Puck drops at 7, the GameDay Thread drops shortly beforehand. Join us, won't you?