The Blues began the second half of the season with a home win against the Preds in a shootout. It should have been in regulation, and it cost us Patrik Berglund and Jori Lehtera, but at least it was a win. Now, the Blues head down the country road to face the Carolina Hurricanes. The Blues should be well-rested from their 9-day break, so I'm not concerned about the back-to-backs. According to the Game Time paper, the Blues are actually 4-2-0 in games when they had played the night before. The one positive about facing a tough team like the Preds first, is that any potential for rust is shaken off pretty quickly. As long as we can adapt to those injuries, we should be OK.
The Hurricanes are contending to win the McDavid Division, but cannot be counted on for full-on tanking. Their early-season struggles were well documented, but they have been playing better as of late. Witness the 01/10 game, where these same 'Canes took the Blues all the way to a shootout before losing to us 5-4. They can play you tough, and like Brad Lee said, the Blues will usually get their opponent's best efforts. How sweet it is, to have earned that respect. The downside though, is that everybody has the Blues squarely in the crosshairs. Carolina, in my mind, is a sneaky-dangerous team right now. They've won 3 games in a row, and 7 of their last 10 games. A lot of this recent success can be attributed to the return of Jordan Staal . In the 11 games he's played since returning from a training camp injury, he's already amassed 8 points (1G 7A). He's on a tear, and that can only help his team win.
The team leader for both goals and assists is his brother, captain Eric Staal . His 16 goals and 14 assists lead his team, but would only be 6th on the Blues roster. Still though, you would have to expect the Carolina offense to flow through him. After him, there is All-Star defenseman Justin Faulk . He has 28 points on 9 goals and 19 assists. Elias Lindholm would be next with 20 points (9G, 11A) and then Jiri Tlusty with 19 points (12G, 7A). Tlusty is currently Day-To-Day with an Upper Body Injury, but it looks like he'll be back on the roster tonight. We also get to see our old friend #JSelke, Jay McClement.
The Hurricanes will be starting Anton Khudobin in net, and the Blues will counter with Jake Allen . Khudobin has a 6-8-2 record, but a 2.30 GAA and a .918 Save%. He's been a handy man to have as backup for the Canes. In his last 8 appearances (since before Christmas), he hasn't posted anything less than a .933 Save Percentage. He's on a hot streak also, safe to say.
Did you know? The Hurricanes home record is identical to the Blues road record: 11-9-2.
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Final Verse: It's an early game, of course. The puck drops at 6:00 PM St Louis time, and the GameDay Thread will drop shortly before then. The TV broadcast will be on Fox Sports MW, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120 AM. A lot of the local fans will probably be at the GTGT tonight. If you're around town, please come join us at the HotShots on Manchester Rd. Otherwise, please take part in the GDT here on the site. Make sure you rec the puppy gifs.