There's a lot of irony in the fact that the Blues beat the best teams in the Western Conference but lost to the worst. Especially considering that St Louis has averaged only 2.58 goals per game, and has scored 4 goals in each of those losses. In fact, the Blues have put up 4 or more in 6 of the last 7 games. The offense has come alive, but not enough so to balance out the defensive lapses. The Blues have been one of the best penalty killers in the league - even now they are ranked 3rd at 84.4%. However, in the preview on the Canucks site they point out that St Louis has allowed power play goals in 5 straight games, only killing off 11 of the past 19 opportunities. That ain't good, no!
Something else that you can file under "ain't good" is the Vancouver Canucks. They've scored the fewest goals in the Western Conference at 163. That is hard to believe, with the Sedin twins being fairly healthy all year (Daniel has played all 70 games, Henrik has 62 games played). They're not exactly making minimum wage, either. They are getting older, though, and the problem lies in that the Sedins ARE the Canucks' offense. First it's Daniel Sedin that leads the team in goals (26) and points (58). His brother Henrik is next in points with 50 (11g, 39a). After that, number three is Jannik Hansen with 32 points (19g, 13a) - but he is day-to-day with a rib injury and not expected to play tonight. Next is Bo Horvat with 31 points (11g, 20a) and Radim Vrbata with 27 points (13g, 14a). The Canucks played just last night in Edmonton, and Vrbata left the game in the third period and did not return. His appearance tonight is doubtful. So, with 2 of their top 5 scorers possibly out, and IF you can shut down the Sedins, you're left with Horvat, an 11-goal scorer. That would be the equivalent of the Blues placing their offensive hopes on Paul Stastny or Jori Lehtera.
The biggest story is in net for the Blues. We have Brian Elliott returning from injury and getting the start tonight. Before going down, he was on quite a run - winning 5 straight and posting a .931 save percentage. Then things went to hell against the Sharks and he got hurt. With Markstrom losing to Edmonton last night, that means we should expect our old lucky ball and chain Ryan Miller in net for the Canucks. This season he has a 15-21-8 record and a .915 Sv%.
As odd as it seems, the Canucks are dealing with more injuries than the Blues are right now. In addition to the forwards mentioned above, Vancouver will be without Markus Granlund, Derek Dorsett, Brandon Sutter, and defensemen Alex Biega, Yannick Weber, Luca Sbisa, and Alexander Edler. Vancouver's Doctor Worm has been busy. Details are sketchy, but I'm pretty sure that Vrbata and Sbisa are both out with missing vowels. The news is a lot better with the Blues; not only is Elliott back, but the return of Carl Gunnarsson is imminent as well. We'll see how he responds to the morning skate today. If not, then expect Robert Bortuzzo back in the lineup, and the Blues site says that Ryan Reaves will slot in for Magnus Paajarvi tonight. Hope is not dead, despite reports to the contrary.
Things to watch for tonight: Jaden Schwartz is on a 4-game point streak coming into tonight's match. Coach Hitch is 1 short of 750 career wins, and Vladimir Tarasenko is currently sitting at 99 career goals and 98 career assists. I hope he bangs in a goal tonight. Lastly, Alex Pietrangelo is 3 short of 200 career assists. There are plenty of reasons for celebration tonight.
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Final Verse: Again with the late starts: the puck drops at 9 PM St Louis time, and the GameDay Thread should drop shortly beforehand. Come join us, eh? We'll help keep each other awake. The TV broadcast is on Fox Sports MW, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120 AM. This road trip has some severe tire damage, I'm hoping we get through this with a win tonight.
Here's what happens when TMBG meets Homestar Runner: