That was a quick homestand.
One game against the Buffalo Sabres - a rough, messy, and fun 5-3 win - and the Blues are off on another road trip. This one starts with the Chicago Blackhawks, the Blues’ final game against a non-playoff team in February. The Blues have been banking points, and this road trip should see more of that happening with upcoming games against the Islanders, the Devils, and the Senators. Of course, that stretch is bookended with games against the New York Rangers, so it being an easy trip and easy stretch of games isn’t a foregone conclusion.
Two points against the Hawks isn’t one, either. Chicago, who if not for the Arizona Coyotes’ recent inclusion in the Central would be bringing up the rear of the division, is still a tough opponent. If there’s a lesson to be taken from this February, it’s that the Blues needn’t underestimate the non-playoff squads. Buffalo was difficult enough; you factor in that good ol’ historic hatred between the Blues and the Hawks, and it doesn’t matter how poorly either team is playing: you’re in for a good time.
This afternoon’s game shouldn’t be seeing many, if any, changes from what worked on Friday night. Jordan Kyrou’s two goals and an assist, plus Ivan Barbashev’s three assists, are more than enough of a sign that the Blues are able to focus their offense. The team has points in six straight games, with only adjustments being made as needed (like after the loss to Montreal). Smart line management is why they’ve been able to solidify their hold on second in the Central.
The only up in the air player right now is Oskar Sundqvist, who left Friday’s game early and who did not practice yesterday. Any changes or adjustments will be to accommodate his absence.
While the Blues were taking out the Sabres Friday night, the Blackhawks’ offense rolled the New Jersey Devils 8-5. As odd as it is for the Blues to wrap a season series against Chicago so early, today is the last time these two teams will play each other until next season. The Blues are 2-0-1 against the Hawks. Keep your fingers crossed that Chicago’s win Friday night didn’t light a fire under their collective asses.