The big news tonight is who will be starting in net (#goaliecontroversy) for the Blues. And no its not Martin Broduer.
After pitching a shutout against the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday night Blues coach Ken Hitchcock has decided to go with the hot hand of Carter Hutton, instead of going back to the team’s resident head case Jake Allen like they had previously planned. When asked about the decision this is what Hitchcock had to say,
"The last game changed that ... based on play. I mean there's shutouts and then there's shutouts that are highly earned. That was a highly earned shutout and you have to reward that. Any coach has to reward that. He had a lot of work, he made big saves, made big saves when it was 1-0, so to me that's an earned shutout and we've got to reward that." [STL Post-Dispatch]
I’m sure the club would have rather let Allen have the start since this is the last game before the All-Star break but Ken Hitchcock’s hard and fast rule is if a goalie has a shutout then they get the next game’s start. Jake Allen will however dress for the game since the club elected Wednesday to send Pheonix Copley back to Chicago.
Carter Hutton last three road starts: 3-0-0, 0.33 GAA, .988 SV%, 80 shots-1 goal allowed. #stlblues— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) January 25, 2017
Kyle Brodziak. who took a puck off his right foot in the game Tuesday night, has been placed on IR and will be evaluated in 5 weeks. To take his place on the roster the Blues have recalled Ian Barbashev from the Chicago Wolves and is expected to make his NHL debut tonight.
Barbashev, 21, was originally drafted by the Blues in the second round (33rd overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. This season, his second with the Wolves, the 6-foot, 195-pound forward shares second on the team with 37 points (19 goals, 18 assists) through 44 games. Prior to his professional career, the Moscow, Russia, native spent three seasons with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's (QMJHL) Moncton Wildcats, where he collected 225 points (88 goals, 137 assists) in 173 regular season games. [NHL.com]
The Blues will look to duplicate the tenacious play that earned them a 3-0 win over the defending Stanley Cup champions Tuesday night when they take on another fast, talented team like the Wild.
The Wild currently stand at 31-11-5 with a conference leading 67 points while playing the second fewest games. They have a home record of 16-6-0.
While much has been said about the phenomenal play of goaltender Devan Dubnyk, he leads the NHL in save percentage at .935 and the teams GA per 60 is second best at 1.92, the Wild’s offense is performing just as well. Goals For per 60 is third best in the NHL and first in the Western Conference at 2.79 and they have the 10th best power play in the league.
The Wild are 3-2 in their last five games but have given up a two goal lead in four of those five games. Including giving up a 2-0 lead Tuesday night against Dallas before winning the game in a shoot out.
In those last five games Dubnyk’s save percentage has failing to .907.
Charlie Coyle, who at one time lead the team in goals, hasn’t scored in the last month and a half.
The defense isn’t the same without Jonas Brodin who fractured his finger on Jan. 17th.
Regardless of what is happening with Minnesota right now, as our friends at hockeywilderness.com have pointed out, this team could only win half of their remaining games and still finish with the second-highest point total in franchise history. They may not be a lock for the playoffs but they are about as close as you can get.
In an effort to get these previews out a little earlier so you guys have time to read them I am just going to post the lineups from the previous game and then update them when they become available.
Nino Niederreiter - Eric Staal - Charlie Coyle
Jason Zucker - MIkko Koivu - Mikael Granlund
Zach Parise - Erik Haula - Jason Pominville
Chris Stewart - Tyler Graovac - Jordan Schroeder
Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon
Marco Scandella - Mathew Dumba
Nate Prosser - Mike Reilly