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Kings at Blues game preview: Buchnevich, Saad out for tonight

Welcome home, everyone.

NHL: FEB 24 Kings at Blues

The Blues are one of six undefeated NHL teams remaining this season - thanks to their late start this season, the Blues are just 3-0-0. The teams alongside of the Blues - Edmonton (5-0-0), San Jose (4-0-0), Florida (4-0-0), Carolina (3-0-0), and Minnesota (3-0-0) - all are squads with something to prove. Teams that have been written off as bubble teams, or in San Jose’s case, a playoff miss, are the ones raising eyebrows. Heck, even Buffalo was undefeated until last night.

Embrace the chaos! Sure, the standings will eventually shake out, but for now it’s ok to see the Blackhawks’ .100 point percentage and laugh at every pundit who picked them to make the playoffs over the Blues. St. Louis’ perfect record is on the line tonight against the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings are 1-2-1 this season, and much like last year, it’s their elder statesmen who are leading the way. In four games, Dustin Brown has a goal and four assists, and Drew Doughty has a goal and six assists. Anze Kopitar, showing less than zero signs of slowing down, has an impressive six goals and three assists. He’s third in the league in points behind Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and tied with McDavid for the lead in goals.

It feels like every time the Kings play the Blues, I write some variation of “keep an eye on Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar,” and every time, the Blues do not.

It’s not particularly helpful that two of the newest members of the team, Pavel Buchnevich and Brandon Saad, will have to sit tonight’s game out. Buchnevich is serving his second game of a two game suspension for head-butting Lawson Crouse, and Saad is out after having been placed on the Covid list. James Neal slotted in for Buchnevich for the Blues’ 3-1 win against the Golden Knights on Wednesday evening; coach Craig Berube may have to borrow Ken Hitchcock’s line blender to sort things out for tonight.

The Kings also play the Blues on Monday evening at home, a weird scheduling quirk that should make fans recall last season’s creative scheduling out of necessity. It’s the only time this season that happens for the Blues, but just because the Covid scheduling is gone doesn’t mean the damn virus isn’t. Please be mindful of Enterprise Center’s protocols tonight. I know we all have different opinions regarding them, the virus, and a million other things, but be kind to the folks who work there, especially while entering. They’re just doing their job. Everyone has one goal for the evening - a Blues’ victory. Let’s focus on what brings us together.