The St. Louis Blues look to wrap up their three game road trip through western Canada tonight against the Vancouver Canucks. Puck drops at 9:00 CT and can be seen on FSMW. Just a friendly reminder that alcohol is more of a sedative than it is a stimulant so don’t forget to mix in a healthy dose of caffeine with your pre-game beverages.
After an impressive bounce back win against an ever dangerous Edmonton Oilers team on Thursday night the Blues have a chance to salvage a road trip that got off to a rocky start.
With Monday’s loss to the Calgary Flames securely in the rearview mirror the Blues are hoping to cruise to a win against a mediocre Canucks team that is struggling to keep up with the pack in the Pacific division.
After a two goal, three point performance on Thursday night Brayden Schenn is currently tied with Jaden Schwartz for the most points on the team. His 7 goals are third most on the team behind the aforementioned Schwartz and winger Vladimir Tarasenko.
Schenn’s Corsi For% of 56.3 is a team best while his Fenwick% of 57.7 ranks third. His even strength Goals For per 60 is a team leading 5.1 and his Goals Against per 60 is an impressive 1.8. All this while averaging almost 20 minutes of ice time a night. I honestly don’t know what more you could ask for.
Schenn earned high praise from head coach Mike Yeo after successfully shutting down Connor McDavid for three straight periods.
“Well, you look at the matchup he had first and foremost and that was a hard match all night,” Blues coach Mike Yeo said. “I probably would've said if we tied the matchup we would have been pleased with that. Defensively, you're going to have to do a heck of a job when you're on the ice against Connor. I thought that (Schenn) did that, he was solid all night. What I liked is that he didn't cheat the game, he focused on the defensive part of it. I think he stayed strong in the way that we needed to play the game and had the confidence that things would come around offensively if he did that.” [TheAlthletic.com]
Thanks to Schenn’s performance the reunited line of Schwartz, Schenn and Tarasenko managed to finish the game with a 5 on 5 Corsi For% of 49% while battling one of the toughest matchups the NHL has to offer.
Although they were held scoreless as a group the line of Vladimir Sobotka, Paul Stastny and Alexander Steen turned in another solid game. In 11:25 minutes of ice time they had a collective Corsi For% of 62.5, a Fenwick For% of 75% and out shot their opposition by a count of 8 to 3. [NaturalStatTrick.com]
While Steen did manage to score his 3rd goal of the season on the power play and Sobotka did score a shortie it is hard not to notice the lack of offensive production from this group. However, as good as the Schenn line has been in the offensive zone it is fair to say that the Stastny line may be one of the better shutdown lines in the NHL.
The Blues third line of Magnus Paajarvi, Oskar Sundqvist and Dmitrij Jaskin put up some positive possession numbers and managed not to get scored on, so at least they have that going for them. It’s not that individually they suck, it’s just that together they leave a lot to be desired. But with Beau Bennett returned to the AHL and no other forward being recalled this is all the Blues have to work with. That is until the return of 3-time, 20-goal scorer Patrik Berglund. Bet you never thought you would be so happy to see the big Swede back in the lineup.
The fourth line is the fourth line. There really isn’t much more to say. Chris Thorburn got in another hugging contest with mixed results, Scottie Upshall fell down and Kyle Brodziak took a penalty. That is about all you need to know.
On the backend, Alex Pietrangelo still leads all NHL defenseman in goals. Vince Dunn (who took two minor penalties against the Oilers) has the best Corsi For% of any Blues D-men. Joel Edmundson is averaging 0.25 goals per game, slightly above his career average of 0.06 (that was sarcasm). Colton Parayko and Robert Bortuzzo both have one goal a piece and I really, really wish that was some kind of joke.
After a couple rough games Jake Allen put up another stellar outing turning away 29 of 30 shots but it would be nice to see Carter Hutton get the nod tonight. Hutton’s save percentage of 94.3% is currently the best the NHL has to offer.
As for tonight’s opponent, the Vancouver Canuck’s are the very definition of meh.
Their 9-8-2 record is fifth best in the Pacific division but their 20 points puts them in a three-way tie with San Jose and Calgary for third. As of right now they currently trail Chicago and Calgary for the final wildcard spot.
20 year old, Minnesota-born top line winger Brock Boeser leads the team in assists (10) and points (16) while his center Bro Horvat leads the team in goals (8).
Daniel and Henrick continue to do Sedin-like things except everything is a step or two slower. Neither one has cracked double digits in points and both are a minus 4 on the season. It’s almost like they are twins or something (that joke never gets old).
I was going to talk about the bottom two lines but I feel asleep.
Top pair defenseman Derrick Pouliot is the only d-man with positive possession numbers.
Chris Tanev leads all defensemen with two goals but has been sidelined with an injured thumb (probably from trying to hitch a ride the fuck out of Vancouver).
And now I am bored.
If the Blues played like they did on Thursday then Vancouver is in for a rough night. If they play like they did against the Flames then my liver is in for a rough night.
Thanks for reading and Go Blues.
All stats are provided by Hockey-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.