In case you missed the constant crowing, the Blues have a healthy forward corps for the first time since God was a boy. The defense is still short Robert Bortuzzo, but aside from that, tonight’s roster is very, very good. Witness:
Saad - O’Reilly - Perron
Kyrou - Thomas - Tarasenko
Schenn - Barbashev - Buchnevich
Brown - Bozak - Sundqvist
Mikkola - Parayko
Krug - Faulk
Scandella - Perunovich
Brayden Schenn is in on the third line for two reasons. One, it eases him back in a bit and two, would you touch the second line of Jordan Kyrou, Robert Thomas, and Vladimir Tarasenko? Their production has been incredible, earning Kyrou the first star of the week and Vladimir Tarasenko a couple of highlight reel goals from Saturday’s Winter Classic.
The Blues have, despite the injuries and the Covid and all of that stuff, excelled. They’re still in first place in the Central Division with a 19-9-5 record and 43 points. As tight as the race for the Central is, the Penguins’ Metropolitan Division might be rougher. The Pens’ record is 18-8-5 thanks to their eight game winning streak, and still, they’re just in fourth place in the division with 41 points. The surprising Rangers, the Capitals, and the Hurricanes all sit above them, and could still be difficult for the Pens to contend with.
The Penguins are proving that they’re a well-rounded team as their superstars age. Their 8-5 dismantling of the San Jose Sharks on Sunday saw a pair of hat tricks from Evan Rodriguez and Bryan Rust.
Between the firepower and the momentum, the Pens won’t be easy for the Blues to dispatch tonight - but with the Blues’ forwards all healthy, they’re going to be one hell of a challenge for the Pens’ defense.