It’s easy to forget the Blues’ performance Thursday night against the Montreal Canadiens when you look at their dismantling of the Toronto Maple Leafs. No Tarasenko on that second line? No problem! Just slot in Kyrou and the points keep coming.
But what happens when the Blues play teams who are, admittedly, struggling? Do they play down to the competition? Do they socially loaf? What’s the deal here? After losses to the early season Coyotes (who are no better now), the New Jersey Devils, and the Montreal Canadiens, is it fair to scratch our heads as the Blues head into Philadelphia?
The Flyers started this season off with a lot of promise and a great stretch of play, and then the Covid/injury bug bit. It’s easy to forget that the Blues are the clear exception to the rule when it comes to having multiple key players out. Where St. Louis re-grouped, relied on their depth, and excelled, the Flyers fell apart. They’ve had good games, but they’ve also had some God-awful losing streaks. They’re on a five game streak now, suffering an overtime loss to the Hurricanes yesterday. The worst this season? Thirteen games.
It’s rough. It’s so rough that Claude Giroux is going to be a rental this deadline. The player most identifiable as a Flyer after probably Bobby Clarke is going to pull a Ray Bourque and probably head to Colorado to try to win the Stanley Cup.
Of course, this is clearly Jordan Binnington’s music. Binnington is getting his first start tonight since February 10th’s start against the Devils. That game, primed to be a bounce-back game, ended in a 7-4 loss to the Devils, with Binnington allowing five goals against on 27 shots. This game’s got a little more magic to it. In case you’ve forgotten (and if so, nice work blocking the last three years out of your memory), the last time the Blues were in Philadelphia Jordan Binnington went on his miracle run that helped St. Louis win their first franchise Stanley Cup.
Play Gloria, you guys. Maybe that’ll get the team in the mood.
Here’re tonight’s lines, from stlblues.com - take note, Vladimir Tarasenko is back after a one-game absence.
Saad - O’Reilly - Perron
Buchnevich - Thomas - Tarasenko
Barbashev - Schenn - Kyrou
Kostin - Bozak - Sundqvist
Mikkola - Parayko
Krug - Faulk
Walman - Bortuzzo
If you guys want to catch a Flyers-centric preview of tonight’s game, and listen to me blabber about how the Blues manufacture goalie controversies, please head on over to Broad Street Hockey. As always, I had a blast helping out with their game preview. It’s been too long - hopefully this is it for playing the Flyers in Philly once every three years.