The Los Angeles Kings have a surprising top goal scorer. Tyler Toffoli leads the team with nine goals and an assist, good fo tops in overall scoring. Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar both have four goals each, and then the scoring drops off.
The Blues will get an addition with Vladimir Tarasenko coming back to the lineup, skating again on the top line with Alexander Steen and Jori Lehtera. That line has thirteen goals between them since the start of the season; the rest of the line up will continue to be a mish-mash of what works, on a line by line basis. For Hitch, flexibility is key:
"I think the one constant is the line with Steen, Lehtera and Tarasenko, the rest we've got to be flexible. We've been flexible every game depending on how the matchups work, depending on what the other coach wants or what he's looking for. Wherever we can take advantage of, we're having to do that. Until we get some bodies back we've got to operate this way, and so far it's been working."
It has worked very well so far for the Blues, but a decent portion of it has been goaltending. Both goaltenders have been excellent this season so far, but Jake Allen has gone on a run that's probably erased his rough start. from people's minds. He's been on fire this homestand, with a 3-0 record and a teeny .98 GAA and a .963 save percentage. You can't discuss the Blues' record without bring up his and Brian Elliott's name in the mix.
Of note: after a solid performance Saturday night, including an assist on the game-winning overtime goal, Ty Rattie is in the lineup tonight. Scott Gomez is the scratch, along with Chris Butler on defense:
Alexander Steen - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko
Scottie Upshall - David Backes - Troy Brouwer
Robby Fabbri - Dmitrij Jaskin - Ty Rattie
Steve Ott - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves
Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo
Carl Gunnarsson - Colton Parayko
Joel Edmundson - Robert Bortuzzo
The Blues haven't lost in regulation at home yet this season, while the Kings have a perfectly solid 3-1-1 road record. Their one loss came last night, a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blues are well rested, the Kings aren't. Jonathan Quick played last night, so the Blues catch a break and draw Jonas Enroth this evening.
The Blues and Kings played three very close games last year, and there's still a tinge of disappointment in how they booted the Blues from the playoffs two years in a row. Tonight should be a tough one, but if the Blues can keep winning in the situation that they're in, hold on to your hats if they ever all get healthy.