Stop me if you’ve heard this one, tonight the Blues take on the Arizona Coyotes. Don’t adjust your T.V. sets, the Blues really are playing the Coyotes, again, for the third time in less than two weeks (well done NHL schedule person). And if you like mediocre hockey, played at ridiculously late time, then sit right down and pour yourself a cold one because the Blues have got you covered.
You would think it would be super easy to write the game preview for two teams that you have watched play three times in two weeks, and it probably is for someone with real talent, however I am going to go ahead and warn you right know not to expect too much.
While I totally agree with Mike Yeo’s determination not to mess with his lineup from game to game, it sure does make for some lackluster articles. The only thing different about the Blues tonight could be the possible addition of Demitrij Jaskin back into the lineup and the fact that Carter Hutton is probably going to get the nod. Seriously, that is it. But you know what? I am totally fine with that.
I highly doubt that Jaskin does in fact retake his spot in the lineup. For one, there is absolutely no reason for the team to rush him back into competition. They eventually will need him to play and they want to make damn sure he is ready, even if he is a little rusty. Secondly, Yeo has stated how impressed he his with the line of Yakupov, Barbashev and Sanford so I doubt he wants to mess with their chemistry right now. But who knows? At least if I’m wrong it will give you guys something to comment about.
As for tonight’s starting goalie, I am just going to go on a hunch and say that Carter “not in Vegas yet” Hutton leads the team out onto the ice. It has been five games since the Blues number two has started and he is probably starting to wonder if the coach remembers he is still on the team.
Regardless of who is between the pipes, both goalies are more than capable of handling the workload. Although the Coyotes did make Jake Allen actually break a sweet Monday night, something that seemingly caught even the Coyotes by surprise, one would hope that the Blues start this game with a little more focus and aggression then they did the last one.
The last time that Hutton strapped on the stinky leather mitt was against the San Jose Sharks on the 16th. During that game he made 19 saves on 20 shots as the Blues walked away with a 4-1 win.
Despite playing another bottom of the standings team, the Blues should have every reason to take this game tonight seriously. While a playoff birth for St. Louis is all but a guarantee, as in real estate, the playoffs are all about location, location, location.
Whoever maintains the final wildcard spot at the end of the regular season is undoubtable going to have to play the Chicago Blackhawks in the opening round. This is no bueno! While last year, with the Blues rostering a squad made up of hardened veterans, I was all for them facing their biggest rival right off the bat. Get them out of the way and move on.
This year that doesn’t sound so appealing. Let then get their feet wet with a someone other than the best team in the Western Conference. And the best way to make that happen is to finish anywhere but in 8th place.
Stay focused Blues, a lot can happen between now and April 10th.