There are times in this world that I would love to be wrong. Last night, when I was ranting that the entirety of the St. Louis Blues team (minus Ty Conklin) had no business taking on the Anaheim Ducks at the end of a lost game, was one of them. Apparently, this wasn’t meant to be. I tried to explain that (as anyone who knows me, knows)I love hockey’s violent side. Maybe even a little, too much. However, when a team is in a situation as perilous as the St. Louis Blues and you have sustained not only the multitude of injuries that they have but in the freak nature they’ve occurred, then sometimes caution must be taken.
If Cam Janssen or Ryan Reaves sends that all important message then believe me, not only do I get it but I’m all for it. However, Barret Jackman already has a case of weak knees. Vladimir Sobotka fighting on any level is a bad sign for your team. Good on him for having guts, bad on your team for allowing it. He shouldn’t be doing it because when he breaks his hand, then what? And now after finally putting together a healthy season, an incredible Captaincy and making huge strides in his defensive play, Eric Brewer is injured because of this string of scrums and fights at the end of last night’s game. A balance between guts and reckless abandon must be struck. Last night that balance was not in check. Not that I can blame the team, not at all. I’d be frustrated and angry and ready to beat someone, too. However, the hole has just gotten deeper because of it.
Mind you- this doesn’t even count the loss of Carlo Colaiacovo, who took a puck in the face in the first period and didn’t return. He is not expected to play tonight. All that is known is that he did receive stitches at the hospital. Further injuries have not been reported. Currently, Brewer’s injury is unknown and this leaves the Blues with five healthy defenseman (which includes Tyson Strachan coming in from the press box)…. and Alex Steen playing defense. Yes, I said that. Yes, I meant it. However, right now, it is a game-time call.
Throw the Puck:
The LA Kings are ninth in the conference with 42 games played and 49 points. The St. Louis Blues remain 12th in the conference with 42 games played and 46 points.
Last time the St. Louis Blues and LA Kings met at Scottrade it was an offensive affair for both teams that saw the Blues come out 6-4. Since then much has changed. Yes, the St. Louis Blues were already bitten by the injury bug, however they were still going along every night and taking teams out one-by-one and on that night, the Kings were no exception. Before last night, this was a game the Blues could take to get back in the win column, having now lost five straight. However, despite the fall-out from last night’s bout with the Ducks, this is a game the St. Louis Blues can still win if they catch the Kings sleepwalking (which isn’t hard to do). The Kings have lost six of their past seven games and the Blues are 6-1-1 in the second of back-to-back games this year (three of those wins being on the road). The biggest downfall for the Kings? The second period. If the Blues can hit the gas on the second period and run away with the game? The Kings are in a whole lot of trouble.
Some more positives going into tonight’s game? Those with the hot-hand under the Arch, also seem to have a hot hand against the Kings. Brad Boyes and David Backes who have both been heating up lately have a goal and four assists (each) in their last four games against the Kings. Meanwhile, Jaroslav Halak who is trying to get his game on track has beat the Kings the last two times he’s faced them, with a 2.00 GAA and a .935 SV%.
Kings to watch? Goaltender Jonathan Quick is looking for his twentieth win tonight. That would make him only the third Kings goalie with three straight twenty-win seasons. As always, the offensive charge comes from Anze Kopitar who currently has 24 points in his last 19 games and is tied for fourth in the league with game winning goals. Ryan Smyth is on a tear with nine points in seven games. Although you’ll hear complaining, and defensively speaking it is warranted, don’t let Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson fool you offensively. Doughty currently has 15 points in 15 games, while Johnson has 16 points in 17 games. Oh and should this game happen to go to overtime? Look for Captain Dustin Brown who is one overtime goal away from taking the Kings all-time lead from Ziggy Palffy and Luc Robitaille.
Tags: Alex Steen Anze Kopitar Brad Boyes Cam Janssen Carlo Colaiacovo David Backes Drew Doughty Dustin Brown Eric Brewer Jack Johnson Jaroslav Halak Jonathan Quick Los Angeles Kings Luc Robitaille NHL Ryan Reaves Ryan Smyth St. Louis Blues Tyson Strachan Vladimir Sobotka Ziggy Palffy