Brian Elliott gave the Blues every opportunity to win Tuesday evening in Columbus, and the team's defense, which has been less than stellar recently, allowed 38 shots on goal in the Blue Jackets' 3-1 victory. To make matters worse, Jori Lehtera took a high stick in the face from Brandon Saad and left the game to head to a local hospital. Colton Parayko, the Blues' stand-out rookie defenseman, missed the game entirely after taking warm-ups due to a lower body injury.
The Blues have not been playing crisp hockey recently, and the last thing they need are two more injuries to key players while other injuries are starting to catch up with the team. Sloppy play and taking risky penalties hasn't helped, and Ken Hitchcock is displeased with the rash of needless whistles.
"I’m concerned with two or three individuals that are taking far too many penalties," said Hitchcock, who then said the only remedy may be limiting playing time. "At the end of the day, it ends up just being ice time. Take something away and hopefully they get the message that way. Whatever I’m saying ain’t working."
Will tonight see some shuffling in the lines again to counter the Sabres? Ryan O'Reilly is dangerous, with six goals and nine assists. Evander Kane is still out, but the Sabres have punch with rookie Jack Eichel and Matt Moulson.
While you're waiting for puck drop to say hi to old friend Carlo Colaiacovo, swing by Die By The Blade and see how they're doing. Don't forget to check back for a Lighting the Lamp, your game preview, and your GDT, along with any injury updates that might pop up. As of right now, Lehtera's a game-time decision.