The Blues, as coach Ken Hitchcock would be quick to tell you, lead the season series against the Blackhawks 3-2-0. The Blackhawks are down 2-1-2. You can't look at just one record and get the whole picture. This is will be a tight series if the Blues show up. And the Blues should show up. Here're the lines from yesterday's practice (keep in mind that T.J. Oshie took one extra day to recover):
#stlblues lines: 29-20-42, 9-17-91, 10-12-75, 32-40-79 ... D: 19-27, 5-22, 33-46.— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) April 16, 2014
#stlblues PP units: 9-17-42-20-22 .... 12-10-91-19-27 ... remember, Oshie is not on the ice.— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) April 16, 2014
And hey, who's that out there on the power play? Why, it's that wad of team glue Vladimir Tarasenko. Let's all admit it - after he went down on March 15th, the team hasn't been the same - whether it's been chemistry or the fact that the lines are all over the place, you can almost pinpoint that date as when the wheels started to come off.
Let's just say that it is, for the most part, a full team again. Here's willing everyone's out there on the ice tonight.
What should we expect from the Blues? Who knows. Part of the fanbase doesn't expect much in hopes of being pleasantly surprised. The other part expects the world. I just expect some jump in their step, and I fully expect them to not be the same team that lost the last six games.
I also fully expect not seeing Steve Ott on the top line.
This is your first playoff morning open thread. Check back for a Lighting the Lamp, your game preview, a GDT, and a recap. Also keep your eye on the site today for a Beyond Checkerdome and some extra fun from DK.
For the opponent's take, wander over to Second City Hockey. They're pretty excited. Let's show them that we are too.