I went to the game last night and I am feeling a little “tired” this morning. Also the Blues play the exact same team that they played last night so this preview is going to be short and sweet.
The big story from last night’s game was the God-like performance of “backup” goaltender Carter Hutton. His 48 saves on 48 shots sealed the deal for his team and propelled them to a 2-0 win over the visiting Jets.
If Hutton’s performance had happened a year ago under former bench boss Ken Hitchcock then it would have guaranteed him the start again tonight, regardless of the back to back. However, that is not the way that Mike Yeo manages his goaltenders.
Jake Allen was slotted to play tonight and Yeo does not like to deviate from his plan.
Allen is 3-2 in his last five starts and is carrying a 91.1% save percentage and a 2.54 GAA.
Captain Alex Pietrangelo is scheduled to come off IR today and unless he still has some lingering issues with his recent injury will slide right back into his top spot in the lineup.
Unfortunately, that would make recent call-up Jordan Schmaltz the odd man out. Schmaltz has played three games with the Blues so far and has zero goals, zero assists and is an even plus/minus.
Unlike Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester is still rehabbing his undisclosed injury (everyone knows it is his groin) and did not travel with the team. The time table on his return is unknown but I am sure the Blues want to take their time with him. A luxury they have because of the strong play of the rest of their defensemen.
Bouwmeester will not initially travel with the team. Could join later in trip. #stlblues— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) December 17, 2017
Because the Blues cannot go a game without someone getting hurt forward Sammy Blais was injured during the game last night. He missed some of the first period after taking a puck off of his foot. He returned to start the second period but his availability for tonight’s game is questionable.
If Blais is out then Ivan Barbashev should take his place on the third line.
Magnus Paajarvi and Dmitrij Jaskin were both serviceable in their current positions and as of right now are the team’s best options to fill the holes on the first and second lines.
4th line winger Chris Thorburn is making his first return to Winnipeg. He played 706 games for the Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers which is a franchise record for games played.
Look for another challenging game for the Blues as the Jets will be determined to get some revenge for last night’s frustrating loss.
Thanks for reading and Go Blues!