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Flyers At Blues Preview: Hutton In Goal, Allen Out

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So much for the return of Jake Allen.

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at St. Louis Blues Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Apparently Jake Allen needed one more day off to recover from whatever ailed him during last week’s 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Carter Hutton has been fine between the pipes in Scottrade, going 2-1-2 with a 2.35 GAA and a .916 save percentage.

Hutton’s relying on his home record to keep his stats afloat, much like the Blues are relying on their home record to keep their season afloat. St. Louis has points in 15 of their last 16 home games, and are undefeated against Eastern Conference teams at home so far this season. The Flyers, however, are one of the hottest teams in the East and will be an evenly matched challenge for the Blues. They’re 11-2-1 since Thanksgiving; it’s a testament to the difficulty of the East this year that they’re barely hanging on to the second wild card spot in the conference. Dropping three of their last four games hasn’t helped give them any security in the standings, and could be a sign of tiredness (or that injuries are catching up to the Flyers) that the Blues can seize upon.

But hey, who else has dropped three of their last four? That’s right - it’s the Blues. It’s come at an inopportune time as the Minnesota Wild are in the middle of an eleven (!) game winning streak. Yes, the Blues are still firmly in a playoff spot, but their December Doldrums have been rough this season. They can’t blame them on missing Jaden Schwartz like they could last year; perhaps they could blame them on the shocking lack of depth at center instead.

The Flyers are 6-2-1 against the Central Division this year and are 4-0-2 against the Blues in their last six meetings. Tonight’s game won’t be an easy one for St. Louis, and if they’re not on their A-game and if their defense isn’t on the same page, they’ll have issues with the Flyers.

Tonight’s game is a national broadcast game. Start watching the pre-game at 6:00 Central on NBCSN. If you’re not around a TV, you can catch it on the LiveExtra app on your phone or tablet, or on NBCSN’s website.