Tonight, Jori Lehtera returns to the Scottrade Center for the first time since he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. How has that worked out for Lehtera and Brayden Schenn, the other key piece involved?
Let us look.
Seven games played when the Flyers have played 13 is indicative of where Lehtera started the season: in the pressbox.
Schenn’s stats are a bit better:
It’s enough to make someone wonder if the Blues’ system is better suited to Schenn, or if he just needed a change of pace. Whatever the cause - chances are good that chemistry with Jaden Schwartz is part of it - the Blues have clearly won this trade at this point in the season.
As a whole, the Blues are in a very different place than the Flyers. The Blues sit atop the Central Division and Western Conference with 21 points, seven points up on the second place Winnipeg Jets. It’s just November, but points are points - and with this team’s tendency to slump in December and January, they need to stockpile them.
The Flyers are at 6-6-1, and lost last night to the Chicago Blackhawks by a score of 3-0. Hopefully facing a tired team who played a tough game the night before (albeit with nothing to show for it) will give the Blues an advantage. The Flyers are also ridden with injuries, missing Shane Gostisbehere, Andrew McDonald, and last year’s second overall pick, Nolan Patrick. Last night, Radko Gudas was knocked out in the first period on a Brandon Saad hit.Where the Blues have excelled - plugging in players where needed due to injury - the Flyers have not.
Since Brian Elliott started last night, the Blues will see Michal Neuvirth tonight in net. Neuvirth has a 1-3 record, a 2.30 GAA, and a .925 SV%. He’s not the “easy goalie” to draw by any means.
Tonight should be an opportunity for the Blues to add to their already impressive point total. Remembering to not underestimate the competition is key. The Flyers might be dinged up and damaged, but they’re still a tough team to play against. The Blues have become better at maintaining pressure throughout all three periods - that should serve them well tonight.