The last time that the Blues had a homestand, it didn't go well. They lost three of the games, failed to get on top early, and looked listless and disinterested. It could've been fatigue. It could've been concern about the upcoming trade deadline. It could've been confusion about new lines designed to spice things up. Whatever it was, it continued after their trade deadline break into their 3-1 loss to the Flyers. Luckily, the Toronto Maple Leafs were there to remind the Blues that hey, you can still score goals!
The Winnipeg Jets, on the other hand, will probably remind the Blues that "hey, other teams hit hard too." Clinging to the last playoff spot in the West, the Jets are in desperation mode right now. They beat and bang you into making mistakes. As Barret Jackman told Jeremy Rutherford:
"I think it ups our game and I think it matches up real well against things that are our best," defenseman Barret Jackman said. "You have to be on your toes with your puck movement, with moving your feet. You have to match their energy level if you want to compete. It seems like it’s playoff hockey whenever you play them. I love their style of play. It gets the guys in the right frame of mind."
The Blues won't be able to sleepwalk through this one, but games like tonight's are exactly why they traded for Robert Bortuzzo. He's played well in both his games against the Flyers and Leafs, clocking an average of around 15 minutes so far. Between Bort and Ryan Reaves, and the Jets lacking Dustin Byfuglien (who was hurt in a game against the Senators back on March 4th), the Blues should be able to out-muscle and out work the Jets. Bryan Little and Mathieu Perrault are also out, making the Blues' job a little easier.
If they focus. If they're awake. If they play with the intensity we know that they can. If they realize that they're well within reach of the Central Division lead. A help in that direction would be another big night from the STL line, who had seven points Saturday night. Hey, Vladdy's gotta earn that dough, huh? Get on the stick.