The Golden Arches
As we drive towards the playoffs, the St Louis Blues are one point behind the Minnesota Wild for sixth place in the Western Conference, aka the spot that would mean they face the Vancouver Canucks in the first round.
So tonight is a possible playoff preview between two teams that have always played each other close. The teams have split the previous two meetings this year, and the Blues will be the team in desperate need of two points to keep on the right side of eighth place.
Matchup: Vancouver Canucks (24– 12– 6) v St Louis Blues (23– 16–2)
Venue: Scottrade Center
Time: 5:00 pm PT
TV/Radio: Sportsnet, Team 1040
Despite Jake Allen’s efforts against Vancouver this year, the Blues will most likely trot out Brian Elliott, who’s coming off a shutout streak that lasted over 200 minutes. Seems like even I could rack up a bit of a streak between the pipes of Hitchcock’s system.
What to watch: St Louis
With seven games left in the season, the Blues still have yet to set their destiny. They sit in seventh place, one behind Minnesota, but also just one ahead of Dallas and Columbus. One of those teams won’t make the playoffs and one of those teams will have to face Chicago in the first round. The Blues are hoping neither of those will be them.
It starts with scoring goals. The Blues have just five in their last five and leading goal scorer Chris Stewart has one in his last eleven.
If the Blues can’t finish the season strong, they’ll have nothing to show for it.
- David Perron-David Backes-Alex Steen
- Andy McDonald-Vladimir Sobotka-Chris Stewart
- Adam Cracknell-Patrik Berglund-Ryan Reaves
- Dmitrij Jaskin-Chris Porter-Vladimir Taransenko
- Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo
- Jordan Leopold-Kevin Shattenkirk
- Barrett Jackman-Roman Polak
- Brian Elliott
What to watch: Vancouver
Ryan Kesler and the powerplay. Both made triumphant returns last night against Nashville, putting the Canucks five points up in the Minnesota Wild with six games remaining. Barring disaster, it seems another Northwest title is in the cards.
Interestingly, the Canucks are only five points behind the Anaheim Ducks for second in the conference. With a game between the two scheduled for Thursday of next week, can the Canucks close the gap enough to put second place on the line when the two teams meet?
After Luongo’s brilliant game last night, Boston native Cory Schneider will make his most emotional start of the season. Go get them, dude.
- Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Alex Burrows
- Jannik Hansen-Ryan Kesler-Derek Roy
- Mason Raymond-Andrew Ebbett-Zack Kassian
- Dale Weise-Maxim Lapierre-Steve Pinizzotto
- Dan Hamhuis-Jason Garrison
- Alex Edler-Kevin Bieksa
- Keith Ballard-Andrew Alberts
- Cory Schneider
For the Canucks, the Chris’ squared.
For the Blues, TJ Oshie will miss this game, meaning Dmitrij Jaskin will make his NHL debut.
3-2 Canucks in a shootout, and we start wondering if a first round match-up between the two could possibly go any less than seven games.