The New Year has brought a bit of a rough patch for the Blues. After losing 3-1 in Arizona to the Coyotes, the Blues got shellacked by the second-place Avalanche 7-3 on Thursday night. Regular losses happen, and sometimes teams have a major clunker where nothing clicks. There’s not much to worry about, especially after an eight-game win streak, but the Blues are in danger of being swept this brief road trip if they don’t fix issues before this afternoon’s game against Vegas.
Luckily, Craig Berube isn’t one to rest and wait for things to even themselves out. He’s already tinkering with the lines, splitting Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz up. As a sign of the Blues’ depth up front, that means that Schwartz is with Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron. Schenn is now on a line with Tyler Bozak and Robert Thomas. Both players are taking it in stride:
“I’ve played with Thommer,” Schenn continued. “I’ve played with Bozy. I’ve played with everyone, so it really doesn’t matter. Every time you go out there, at the end of the day you’re trying to win a hockey game. New lines, they can go really good for you or they can go so-so. Obviously, we’re looking for a spark for us to score some goals here.”
Berube is aware that sometimes you need to be proactive, and that you need to take even small sample sizes and make tweaks and push concepts, like situational awareness toward the end of periods, to fix the mistakes that got the Blues back to back losses.
This is why, since last January, the Blues have been able to bounce back and continue moving forward as a team - they don’t rest.
Unless they’re Colton Parayko. Parayko sat out yesterday’s practice as a maintenance day due to soreness. When pressed on if Parayko will be in today by Jim Thomas, Berube offered up a “we’ll see.” If that “we’ll see” turns into a “no,” then Jake Walman will make his season debut.
The last time that the Blues played Vegas, the Blues skated off with a 4-2 victory on home ice. The Blues have yet to lose to the Golden Knights in regulation, which is impressive considering the kind of goaltending Vegas has gotten from Marc-Andre Fleury. The Golden Knights are atop the Pacific Division right now, and are riding a three game winning streak on top of being 7-3-1 in their last ten. A win tonight without Parayko may be a challenge, but the Blues have been up to challenges before. They can be up for this one as well.