Brian Elliott, for at least until after the All Star break, is the Blues' starting goaltender. He has played well this season, but has fallen victim to some questionable defensive awareness and bare-minimum five on five goal support. Thursday night, Elliott took out a rack of sticks upon being yanked, presumably to give the Blues some "spark." It certainly had little to do with his play in net, which prevented a 4-1 loss from easily becoming a bigger blowout.
It will be difficult for the Blues to support their goalie tonight, though, as the issues with injuries pile up. Paul Stastny returned Thursday, but now Alexander Steen is injured. Caught by a puck that was cleared post-goal by Kevin Shattenkirk, he won't be in the line-up tonight. Here are tonight's lines from the Blues Overtime Blog:
Robby Fabbri - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko
Scottie Upshall - Paul Stastny - Troy Brouwer
Patrik Berglund - David Backes - Ty Rattie
Dmitrij Jaskin - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves
Joel Edmundson - Alex Pietrangelo
Colton Parayko - Kevin Shattenkirk
Chris Butler - Robert Bortuzzo
These aren't exactly the strongest lines ever seen, but if they play with more energy than the team did on Thursday, the game should be tolerable. The Blues were flat at best the other night, tired from, uh, something.
"Tired" has been the word of the season for this team; they've appeared tired and out of sorts since mid-November, and the coaches and players seem at a lost as to how to fix the problem. Despite this, the Blues have still managed to hang around the top of the Central Division, even as the Blackhawks have blown by everyone with a ten game winning streak. The Habs, after a roaring start in front of Carey Price, have been sliding in the standings since. They're now fifth in the Atlantic Division and in the last Eastern Conference wild card spot. They're 3-7-0 in their last ten, and a game over .500 on the road. Mike Condon will be getting the start for them tonight; the way the Blues play against backups, though, this may be a boost for the Habs' goalie.
The Blues need a morale boost, but they're the only ones that can give it to themselves. Can they be bothered to try to climb above adversity tonight?