After a 3-1 homestand where the Blues outscored their opponents by a 14-7 margin with two shutouts, it’s easy to feel like this road trip will be a continuation of their early season success. After all, two of those wins and one of the shutouts came against tonight’s opponent, the Los Angeles Kings.
The scheduling for the Blues this season so far is odd. Saturday’s 1-0 win against the Blackhawks was the first game this season where the team played a traditional Central Division opponent that they hadn’t seen since 2020. The rest of the season so far has been matchups against the Blues’ West Division opponents, and tonight marks the last time that they will see the Kings for the rest of the regular season.
Los Angeles, to their credit, has clawed back a bit since they were in St. Louis last Monday, if “clawed back” means scoring three unanswered goals against the Buffalo Sabres to win on Sunday and beating the reeling Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. LA’s still seventh in the Pacific Division with seven points, tied with the Seattle Kraken.
Just like when the Kings visited St. Louis, the Blues need to keep an eye on Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. Neither player has showed any signs of being any less lethal for the Blues over the years. On the Blues’ front, David Perron has had the Kings’ number, scoring four times against them, including a hat trick on October 23rd. Both Vladimir Tarasenko and Torey Krug have four points across two games.
Brandon Saad will be playing in his first game since October 20th’s 3-1 victory against the Vegas Golden Knights, but as he comes off of the Covid-19 protocol list, Ryan O’Reilly remains at least through Sunday. Kyle Clifford and Ville Husso will also both be unavailable for tonight’s game. The team has recalled Joel Hoefer from the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds, but it’s unclear if he will see any time on this road trip.