Dear 6 pound 8 ounce baby Jesus,
Could you please, please let Jaden Schwartz score a real goal tonight? I’m not asking for a lot. It doesn’t have to be the game winner and it doesn’t have to be some dips-doo, threading of the needle through three players. It can be the ugliest, luckiest, triple bounce off two other sticks that happens to hit his little finger right before it goes in the net. Whatever it takes, I’m not picky. Usually I wouldn’t make such a specific request. Who cares which player is credited with a goal as long as it goes in? But this is getting a little ridiculous. I mean the guy couldn’t score in a women’s prison with a hand full of pardons. And the poor little guy has been playing his ass of too, doing everything but finding the back of the net. So if there is anyway you can maybe toss this guy a friggin bone that would be great. The Blues are really going to need him down the stretch.
Tonight, the Blues head into Denver looking to close out their five game road trip on a high note (get it? HIGH note). The trip has been pretty successful so far, picking up 6 out of a possible 8 points but with a playoff birth still not a guarantee every possible point is a necessity.
During this last stretch of games it has become obvious that rest is even more important than practice. The Blues didn’t workout the day before Saturday’s game against Phoenix nor did they have their usual morning skate the day of the game. And it appeared to pay off well as the Blues cruised to an easy win over the struggling Coyotes.
When asked about head coach Mike Yeo’s unusually light practice schedule Jake Allen had this to say,
"He's very communicative, he lets us ask how we feel, how our guys are doing and it's a big thing for us," Allen said of Yeo. "Some guys are really banged up at this time of the year and maybe need the extra day or extra practice off and I think it'll make a difference the last couple games and into the playoffs. I skated (Saturday) morning, but the guys had a couple days off and I think it was big for us. Three in four, it was tough with some travel out west. We were a little tired there Friday, so I think it was big to have the day and a half off. At this time of year, there's times where you don't need to skate. We're not going to forget how to play hockey for a 10-hour span of time. I think it makes a big difference. Rest is getting bigger and bigger as the NHL goes on year after year. You'll see that even more in the future." [In The Slot]
Let’s face it, Colorado is not a very good hockey team. In fact, they may be one of the worst constructed rosters in recent memory. They are the only team in the NHL that is mathematical eliminated from the playoffs and all the talent they could sell at the trade deadline was shipped out of town on the first thing smoking.
However, this is still a team that was leading Chicago by two goals late Sunday night before a questionable offsides call led to a scoring barrage by the first placed Hawks. This is still very much a game that the Blues could lose if the choose not to take their opponent seriously.
That being said, all the Blues have to do is come out and play smart, hard-nosed hockey and everything will work out just fine. Get the puck in deep, maintain possession, go to the front of the net, simply stuff that should not be hard to execute.
During the month of March the Blues have outscored their opponents 28-14 and finally have a positive goal differential. Their record on the road has improved to 18-17-1 and they are an astonishing 9-2 on the second night of back to backs.
Both of the Blues PP and PK are in the top 5 of the NHL and their goals for and goals against average are in the top 15.
I’ll leave you with one final thought. Everyone knows that the key to post-season success is getting hot at just the right time. In their last 20 games the Blues are 13-7, outscoring their opponents 51-32. Does that mean that the Blues are a lock for the Stanley Cup? Absolutely not. Does it mean that things are looking more promising than they were a month and a half ago? You bet your ass it does.