Ok, this is complicated, so pay attention. Here's the way that the Blues can clinch their fifth consecutive playoff spot tonight:
I know, right? Confusing. Considering that they just blanked the Vancouver Canucks while making Ryan Miller stop 47 out of 50 SOG, the Blues stand a decent chance of winning tonight. Hell, they're not even facing Ryan Miller tonight; he lost last night to the Predators. Tonight's goalie is Jacob Markstrom, who has only started two games against the Blues and who has managed a GAA that exceeds 4.00.
Brian Elliott, though? Someone didn't let the 10 game layoff break his stride. Ells is 8-0-1 in his last ten games, with a 1.61 GAA and a .948 save percentage - and two shutouts in a row. Tomorrow night belongs to Jake Allen; tonight Moose is loose.
Someone who isn't loose is Jay Bouwmeester, out day to day with an upper body injury. Hitch is tweaking the pairings, matching Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk together and adding Robert Bortuzzo to the lineup. Says Coach:
"Hopefully he’s just out day to day. We have Robert Bortuzzo going in and we’re switching up all three (defense) pairs.
"When they play together, we want them to play with more risk (because we’re trailing)," Hitchcock said. "Now they start by playing against good players and make the obvious choices they need to play. When Bortuzzo and (Edmundson) have played together, and obviously Gunnarsson and Parayko, they’ve been good. We’re comfortable with where we’re at right now."
The Canucks are uncomfortable right now, both in their play and where they are in the playoff picture - which is out of it. They're in the midst of a six game losing streak bouyed by an absurd 228 minute long drought.
Robby Fabbri, in contrast, has ten points in his last ten games.
Playoffs could well be in reach by the end of this game.