Today at 12:00 pm CT (yes, I really do mean noon, on a Monday) the Blues begin the first of their four game road trip in a town so nice they named it twice.
For the record I love, love weekend matinee games. You get to go to the game in the daylight and more than likely leave the game without the aid of headlights. Tailgating is fun and who doesn’t love some socially acceptable day-drinking.
I, however, cannot fathom why you would try and have a Monday afternoon game when over fifty percent of your viewing audience is at work. This isn’t March Madness and I am not burning my vacation to watch a regular season hockey game in October.
Despite my reservations about the game I am fairly confident that the Blues will still be in attendance.
And why wouldn’t they be? The Blues are 2-0-0 to start the season and have scored a combined nine goals in their two first games.
Thirteen of the Blues eighteen skaters have registered one point or more while their top defenseman Alex Pietrangelo leads the pack with 2 goals and 2 assists.
The team’s possession numbers are south of the 50 percent mark but Jake Allen’s save percentage of .918 is slightly above his career average of .915. So at least there’s that.
The Blues had an optional skate on Sunday but it is hard to imagine that Mike Yeo will make any big changes to the current lines for the game today.
Vladimir Sobotka, Paul Stastny and Vladimir Tarasenko will continue to log top line minutes together.
Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn are a match made in hockey heaven and are leading all forwards in goals and assists. And they are doing all this despite having to lug Dmitrij Jaskin up and down the ice.
If Mike Yeo did want to shake things up a little the third line is probably where it would be. Oskar Sundqvist and Tage Thompson have been ok but have failed to register any points thus far and are both a minus two. Magnus Pajaarvi is a borderline healthy scratch every day of the week.
The fourth line, well, they have grit, and spit, but mostly just grit.
What can I say. Mike Yeo likes having a heavy, grinding fourth line that he can throw out there if he wants to change the momentum of the game or if he wants a good laugh.
I’m not saying this line is untouchable, especially when all three of these old farts have at least one foot in the grave. However, I do think Yeo wants to give this line some time to gel together and while I think theses three would have a hard time scoring in a women’s prison with a handful of pardons, Mike Yeo has had nothing but positive things to say about them.
The Blues defense on the other hand has been more active than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest.
Alex Pietrangelo has four points in half as many games. Colt 55 and Cousin Eddie both have a goal. Even Carl Gunnarsson managed to accidentally score.
The bottom pairing is the bottom pairing for a reason. Vince Dunn thinks scoring in the NHL is maybe a little harder than he anticipated although he is trying like really, really hard. Robert Bortuzzo is still trying to figure out why exactly the Blues traded Ian Cole for him.
I assume that Jake Allen will get the start tonight while Carter Hutton will face the Rangers tomorrow night. But either way goaltending shouldn’t be a cause for concern (How you doing Dallas?).
As for the Islanders. Andrew Ladd makes 5.5 million and sucks. Cal Clutterbuck makes 3.5 million and barely plays on the fourth line. You remember Jaroslav Halak? Don’t worry, no one else does either.
However, there are a few bright spots on an otherwise less than shiny roster. John Tavares is the team’s number one center and is set to get a big pay raise before the beginning of next season. Whether the or not that is with Islander’s remains to be seen. (Please go to the Blues, please go to the Blues.)
Jordan Eberle and his six million dollar cap hit was brought in from Edmonton to give Johnny T some help on the top line.
Joshua Ho-Sang is a promising and charismatic young forward.
Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk are capable of doing defensive-like things.
Doug Weight has been promoted from interim to full time head coach and is probably wondering what in the hell he got himself into.
All in all the Islanders are very middle-of-the-road team in what will probably be a very tough Metropolitan Division. After missing the playoffs last season by one point and with a big question mark surrounding all things Tavares general manager Garth Snow has got to be feeling the pressure to get this team to take the next step. I just don’t want to see that happen today.
Thanks for reading and Go Blues.