This will be the first of a three game road trip that will take the Blues from Winnipeg through Colorado and finish in St. Paul, Minnesota.
This also will be the Blues first game after the much anticipated NHL trade deadline. A deadline that saw the team’s highly touted defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk traded for a couple picks and unproven forward Zach Sanford.
Regardless of how you grade Doug Armstrong’s action in the last couple of days, from this game forward there will be no more additions or subtractions to the Blues current roster. This is what head coach Mike Yeo has to work with and he knows full and well the task that lays ahead of the Blues.
"I'd say every game is a big game right now, yeah. Obviously, we've got to rectify what's been going on. We can't just say we're close here. We need results, we need points, and so I think every game we play from here on out is massive. We've got 20 games left in the season, and it's playoff hockey from here on out." [StL P-D]
Thanks to an L.A. Kings win last night the Blues are currently one point outside the final wildcard spot. So to say that every point for the Blues is crucial would be a bit of an understatement.
Despite an unwillingness to go out and get his team some scoring help, during his press conference Doug Armstrong made mention that he no longer views this team as a cup contender and called on needing more production from forward Jaden Schwartz, who hasn’t scored a goal against a goaltender since mid-way through December, as well as young defenseman Colton Parayko, who’s 4 goals puts him behind struggling 3rd line center Jori Lehtera and 4th line winger Scottie Upshall.
In an effort to get more production up and down the lineup Mike Yeo has decided to stick with the reunited line of Schwartz, Lehtera and Tarasenko as well as putting Magnu Pajaarvi alongside fellow Swede Patrik Berglund and the newly acquired Sanford. David Perron will finish out the top line of Stastny and Steen.
Over the last couple of days it was brought to the attention of many Blues fans that the team currently has the highest paid group of forwards in the NHL yet their goal production remains one of the lowest.
The Blues goal differential still remains an embarrassing -6 and is the second worst of any team currently holding a playoff position.
Regardless of the line combinations the simple fact is if the Blues hope to make the playoffs than veteran players are going to have to find ways to put the puck in the back of the net.
The Winnipeg Jets are currently 28-30-6 but hold a 3-0 series lead against the Blues.
Despite a hopeful start the Jets are five points behind the last wild card spot and have been unable to gain much ground, going 4-7 for the month of February.
Although their 2.9 Goals For Average puts them in the top ten, their 3.2 GAA puts them near the bottom of the league.
With only 20 more regular season games left the Blues final push for the post-season has begun.
Grab a beer and enjoy the show. It might be the closest thing to playoff hockey we get.