Due to some recent injuries and a host of other problems the Blues have hit a bit of a rough patch. They have went 2-3 in their last five games and have failed to show any signs of the dominance that we witnessed earlier in the season.
Granted some of that is due to a plethora of injuries that have plagued the team. Jaden Schwartz is out until February. Alex Pietrangelo returned from IR on Sunday only to see Sammy Blais take his place on the list.
Has anyone seen Jay Bouwmeester? I’m not sure if he is still alive.
While it would be easy to blame the team’s recent struggles on their injury woes the fact of the matter is this team is not playing like they were in October and November.
Possession is still the name of the Blues’ game and they have done a pretty piss poor effort of trying to stick to that game plan these last few games.
Cause turnovers in your own end, get the puck going out of the zone faster than you can say stretch pass, get it in deep and start the cycle. Wear down your opponents and finish the play when the opportunity arises.
It’s really not that complicated.
Once again due to injuries the Blues lineup is going to look different tonight than it did the game before.
Blais is out with a lower body (big surprise) injury and Tage Thompson has been recalled from the AHL. It looks like Dmitrij Jaskin will take Chris Thorburn’s place on the fourth line while Ivan Barbashev will draw in alongside Patrik Berglund and Magnus Paajarvi.
Here is what the lines looked like from Tuesday’s practice:
Lines Tues: Sobotka-Schenn-Tarasenko; Steen-Stastny-Thompson; Paajarvi-Berglund-Barbashev; Upshall-Brodziak-Jaskin.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) December 19, 2017
Def. pairings: Pietrangelo-Gunnarsson; Edmundson-Parayko; Dunn-Bortuzzo.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) December 19, 2017
One thing about Mike Yeo, when he gets a young guy in the lineup he definitely puts them in a position to succeed.
Maybe Thompson can resurrect Alexander Steen’s game? I think pretty much everyone else on the team has tried, and failed.
As for tonight’s opponent, this is not exactly the same team that put a 7-4 whopping on the Blues back in November.
While they had a surprising surge of offense in their last tilt, before Sunday’s affair they had only managed to register 3 goals in 3 games, which included being shutout by the Nashville Predators.
The trouble comes from up and down the lineup but one particular point of notice would be the lack of production from their backend.
The Flames defense hasn’t scored a goal since before Jarimor Jagr qualified for a senior citizens discount.
Before his two assists last week Dougie Hamilton had been in the midst of a 7 game pointless streak. Travis Hamonic only has two points in eleven games and T.J. Brodie only has two in his last fifteen.
Mike Smith’s 91.8% save percentage and 2.61 goals against average is still better than his career averages but still hasn’t been good enough to carry the entire weight of the team.
I would like to also make fun of their special teams but the Flames 19th ranked power play is still better than the Blues and the two’s PK is dead even in total suckage.
But don’t let their recent down turn fool you, this is still a Flames team that can push the pace of play up the ice while still being stingy in their own end.
And look out for that Tkachuk boy, kid can be a real asshole when he wants to be. Big Walt must be one proud papa.
Thanks for reading and Go Blues.