The Blues’ opening night is tomorrow at 7:00 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets have already played one game on Wednesday night (losing 4-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes) and play again tonight sans Patrick Laine, who is out for three to four weeks.
The Blues, however, are putting finishing touches on their opening night plans. Jim Thomas has a first look at what the starting night’s forwards will look like at puck drop, and Even without David Perron, this is still a pretty good quartet of lines:
Brandon Saad-Ryan O’Reilly-Jordan Kyrou
Pavel Buchnevich-Robert Thomas-Vladimir Tarasenko
Jake Neighbours-Brayden Schenn-Ivan Barbashev
Josh Leivo-Noel Acciari-Nathan Walker
These will change around when Logan Brown returns from injury, with Leivo more than likely eventually becoming the odd-man out. Eight of the team’s nine 20 goal scorers are back, and the team’s continued success is incumbent upon those guys to step up again. All eyes are on Kyrou and Thomas thanks to their large off-season contract deals, but the pressure’s also on the team’s third line, or at least those who are on the third line for now, to click. Barbashev’s repeating his 26 goal campaign, especially in a contract year, would be ideal. Schenn contributing to that as well as Neighbours’ continued development is key to making sure that the Blues can again run three dangerous offensive lines.
The team’s second line of Buchnevich, Thomas, and Tarasenko were absurdly successful last year and there’s no reason not to think that they - all three of whom hopefully will remain with St. Louis through the end of the season - will be the trio for other teams to place the pressure on this year.
Which line will be the most successful scoring line to start this season?
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