Don't look now, but the Blues have themselves a bit of a win streak going. I mean, it's usually a bit easier to win three straight games when they're all at home, and one of them is against the Buffalo Sabres. But any positive momentum this squad can get going is a good sign, and they'll try to keep it going tonight in Bean Town.
The Bruins are actually having themselves a pretty similar season as the Blues. Boston sits at 22 points with an 11-7-0 record entering tonight, while the Blues come in at 21 points, 10-6-3. And also like the Blues, the Bruins are coming in hot, having won 4 of their last 5 and 5 of their last 7.
But the big story tonight of course is the reunion with former Blues captain David Backes. The Inglorious One departed this summer when Doug Armstrong couldn't match the five year/$30 million contract Boston was offering that will pay him like a first liner until he turns 37. It may have been a
fucking no-brainer wise decision by Army & the Blues front office, but that didn't make seeing the captain leave any easier for fans and teammates. His production thus far hasn't been stellar, having only scored once since his opening night brace. Then again, he always was a slow starter, wasn't he? Tonight will be Backes' first time playing against the club that drafted him, so you can be he'll be looking to be a menace in the goal crease and try to get his hits in any chance he gets.
Without their former captain, along with the loss of fellow power forward Troy Brouwer, the Blues have been trying to find themselves a new identity, leaving many in St. Louis frustrated over middling results and an overall decrease in physical play - ranking 25th in the league in hits per game, if you give a shit about that sort of thing (which you usually shouldn't). While the development of quick, small, point-producers at forward should benefit the Blues in the long run, losing a guy of Backes' skill and experience leaves the squad wanting for someone to fill that role. In fact, if Ken Hitchcock could get David Backes back for a reasonable price he'd be willing to, oh I don't know...rub a magic lamp?
Oh ok fine, if you're a Disney purist, here you go. (RIP Robin.)
TONIGHT'S PERFORMANCE: @ the Boston Bruins
CURTAIN TIME: 6:00 central
BROADCAST OPTIONS: Fox Sports Midwest (TV), 1120am KMOX (radio)
CAST LIST: via Tom Timmerman's morning skate post from STLToday, tonight's projected lineup (Rattie vs Yakupov still TBD)
Jaden Schwartz-Paul Stastny-David Perron
Robby Fabbri-Jori Lehtera-Vladimir Tarasenko
Dmitrij Jaskin-Patrik Berglund-Ty Rattie/Nail Yakupov
Scottie Upshall-Kyle Brodziak-Ryan Reaves
Carl Gunnarsson-Kevin Shattenkirk
Robert Bortuzzo-Colton Parayko
CENTRAL CHARACTER: D Colton Parayko - Colt-55 came into this year with loads of expectations after his phenomenal rookie campaign. And while he's still driving possession forward at a 52.7% rate and is second on the team with 54 shots on goal (trailing only Tarasenko's 71), he's still yet to open his goal scoring account this year. The kid could always shoot more, and should be encouraged to do so, but even at the rate he's getting shots off now it's only a matter of time before a few of them start hitting twine. The sooner the better, so why not start tonight?
MAIN ANTAGONIST: LW Brad Marchand - Fuck that guy. After being a surprise addition to Canada's World Cup of Hockey squad, he went on to dominate the tournament, and he's transferred that production to the regular season. The Little Ball of Hate leads the Bruins in scoring with a 6-11-17 line.
PLAYBILL: For all of the best Bruins coverage - as well as some great coverage of the NWHL as they try to survive a rough patch - check out Stanley Cup of Hockey. Our old friend Sarah Connors would appreciate it.
You guys have all of your Thanksgiving food bought yet? Did you remember your soup tureen? (I'd link to a Game Time holiday classic video here, but I can't find it. Any help?)