Vladimir Tarasenko’s return is coming soon, which should be something all of us can be happy about. Tonight against the San Jose Sharks, no one’s return is coming (at least at the time of this writing). No one is here to help the team save for who they ice tonight, and who they ice tonight will be the team that’s on a three-game losing streak.
The Blues find their offense against San Jose, which is a plus. Even falling 5-4 in regulation the last time these two teams played felt like a major moral victory, because it was. They’ve scored just one goal in the two games since that loss, and continue to have problems with special teams. It’s difficult to tell right now how much of this is due to the loss of so many key players, but these problems existed when the team was (generally) healthy as well.
A three game losing streak during an 82 game season is less than ideal; this season, with an abbreviated schedule, it might as well be a six game slide. The Blues have ebbed around the halfway point in the last three seasons - normally late December through mid-January is the slump season. This year, the season’s shorter and got pushed back later, so late February through mid-March seems to be when the injuries and the slump collide.
The team wants you to know that they’re working through it, though:
“I’m sure it wears on them. It wears on everybody,” Blues Head Coach Craig Berube said of the offensive struggles. “You tend to start squeezing your stick. You end up trying to do too much, which isn’t a good thing. It takes away the skill players’ composure and relaxation out there when they’re playing. It does, it wears on guys.”
If the top players are grasping their sticks too hard, it looks like success is just going to fall on Oskar Sundqvist. He’s the one guy who has scored over the last two games.
The Sharks will be missing Tomas Hertl tonight, as he’s landed himself on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. The rest of the team is healthy and good to go, though, so as usual it will come down to whether or not the Blues remember to defend against Logan Couture.