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Canadiens At Blues Preview: New Lines, New Outcome?

Stuff's getting all shook up tonight, with Ken Hitchcock trying some new ideas to start the game.

Yes, Bergie. We're confused too.
Yes, Bergie. We're confused too.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

If you've caught today's In the Slot, you'll see all sorts of fun quotes from the guys about Ken Hitchcock's new line selections. Quotes like:

"Coach's decision obviously," Schwartz said. "I played with 'Stas' and 'Jask' for not very long before, but I have played with them and both great players, so I'm looking forward to that. Hopefully I can boost the line and give some energy.

"I thought we were balanced before, too, but just a little different look. Get some chemistry, get a few more goals. We were balanced before, but we'll see how she goes tomorrow."

That sounds like some real buy-in, doesn't it? Maybe it isn't line chemistry. Maybe the fact that the Blues' have been playing uninspiring hockey this past month has something in common with the string of poor play in December, but what could that be? Could the Blues' be missing an important cog in their engine right now, much like the team was a few months ago? Maybe it's the loss of Kevin Shattenkirk that's causing the issues, much like the loss of Jaden Schwartz hindered the Blues in December. Perhaps instead of a line problem, the Blues have an issue with what to do when someone goes down? How does a team fix that?

The Canadiens have fixed a problem themselves, apparently, by trading rookie Jiri Sekac to the Anaheim Ducks for right-winger Devonte Smith-Pelly. The news earlier today caught most folks off gaurd, including the staff at Eyes on the Prize:

By sending Sekac to the Ducks, the Canadiens lose one of their most creative players, and seeing as how the Habs lack creativity on the offensive side of the puck, at first glance it seems like a confusing move.

...

Smith-Pelly is a 2010 second-round pick by the Ducks. The 22 year-old forward is a natural right winger, meaning that he does feel a positional need for the Canadiens.

Will he be in St. Louis tonight? It's not sure. What is sure is that Jake Allen will be getting the start for the Blues, given Brian Elliott a chance to regroup after another rough outing. He will be squaring off against Carey Price, who leads the league in both save percentage (.935) and GAA (1.91). Tonight isn't going to be easy - the Blues need to figure out how to put a band aid on that missing piece, and fast.