After a western road trip that saw the Blues lose five players to injury, the reinforcements are slowly returning. Paul Stastny is back, and tonight is Jay Bouwmeester's chance. From Jeremy Rutherford in today's Post-Dispatch:
"I think everybody has at some point," he said. "You play long enough, you get hit enough. It is what is it. There is certain protocols you follow and that's where you're at. We'll see how (Monday) goes and we'll go from there."
Bouwmeester is the only injured Blue who might be an option to play Monday.
"Yep, we'll see in the morning skate," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "But so far, so good, we'll see how he feels."
The Blues have played like they're going through the motions. Saturday night they allowed an absurd 49 shots on goal, forcing Brian Elliott to stand on his head and make a career high 46 saves. Getting some fresh legs back in the form of Bouwmeester should help limit that, but Elliott can't be happy with the lack of support he seems to get while in net this season. He at least has four more games before Jake Allen returns after the All Star break. The Blues might not want to run him into the ground.
The Penguins shut out the Carolina Hurricanes last night 5-0, with two goals from Sidney Crosby. Crosby, who had not scored against the Blues, scored two in the Penguins 4-3 overtime victory back in November. Covering him, Evgeny Malkin, and Phil Kessel goes without saying. The Penguins are atrocious on the second half of back-to-backs, going 2-6-1, but assuming that they will lose and using that as an excuse for the defense to back off dangerous players would be silly. No game is an easy win, especially for the Blues recently. The Penguins are a very middling team this season, and are only 22nd in goals per game, but they still have very, very dangerous firepower, and their .923 team save percentage is third in the league. The Blues are going to have to work for these two points tonight.
Tonight's game is a NBCSN national broadcast, so adjust your TV channel accordingly, and pray for a good showing on a national game.