I am very lucky that I asked my Google Home what time the game started today. I was expecting her to let me know that it was a 7:30 Central start. Imagine my surprise when the game begins six and a half hours earlier than that.
Welcome to a last minute game preview, everyone.
The Stars are three points ahead of the Blues in the standings for the first wild card spot - St. Louis has managed to be leapfrogged by the Colorado Avalanche in the two days since their 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Playoffs are still in reach, but the team’s disastrous seven game losing streak still has repercussions, which means that the Blues are going to have to be in “make up for lost time” mode. At this point in the season, that’s tough. Doable, but tough.
The Blues have a key stretch of games against Western Conference opponents starting today. After Dallas, with whom they’ve so far split the season series, they have to go on a West Coast road trip to hit San Jose, the Los Angeles Kings, and the Anaheim Ducks. That is not an easy eight points to get if you count today’s game. If you don’t, that’s not an easy six. The Ducks are two points up on the Blues for the last wild card spot, and if they slip in the Pacific, San Jose and LA are in the thick of the wild card hunt as well.
The Blues will be getting some defensive reinforcement today, as they’ve activated Robert Bortuzzo from the IR. The defense has been more than porous over the last seven games and a good part of that is that they’re getting easily pushed around. Bort isn’t the second coming of Ray Bourque, but he’s a huge guy that isn’t easily messed with. His return should help. Funnily enough, Bort has been out since the Blues’ loss to the Stars on February 16th.
Dallas is a middling 5-4-1 in their last ten. Sure, that’s better than the Blues 3(!)-6-1, but that also means that there’s a window of opportunity there for St. Louis. Build on Wednesday night, guys.