The St. Louis Blues are a team that boasts a strong defensive system, but that means that other parts of their game need to be improved upon. One aspect of the game that the St. Louis Blues have had particular trouble with in the past is their powerplay. Going into the 2013 season, it looks like Coach Ken Hitchcock is planning to use three powerplay lines, according to a tweet by Norm Sanders of the Belleville News-Democrat.
Sanders tweet stated, “Hitch said he would use 3 PP units and he has 3 on the ice today. 91-25-10 with 20 and 22 on point is one.” That means that one of the powerplay units will see Vladimir Tarasenko, Chris Stewart, and Andy McDonald on the offense with Alex Steen and Kevin Shattenkirk on defense. Yes, Alex Steen will be a fourth forward on the ice and help defend any short-handed attempts when using this line combination. Last year Steen and Shattenkirk worked together on the defensive side of the powerplay as well, but with a forward line of David Backes, Jason Arnott, and T.J. Oshie.
Chris Stewart has the big body that will most likely be used in front of the net to set up screens and hope for rebounds while Tarasenko seems like the sniper on the line. Give him the puck while he is open and he can throw it on net for Stewart to deflect or get a rebound. McDonald and Steen are both good at getting into the dirty areas to get the puck loose and will most likely cycle through their positions on the ice to keep the puck in the offensive zone. To the same regard, Shattenkirk has incredible defensive play and speed to fend off any short handed attacks. On paper this seems like a great unit, but we will have to wait until Saturday to see how effective they just could be.
Sanders later tweeted that the second powerplay line will consist of David Backes, David Perron, and Patrik Berglund up front with T.J. Oshie and Alex Pietrangelo on the point. Much in the same, this line is filled with offense talent that could work very well together to get the puck in the net. Just imagine the booming shot of Petro on the point with Backes in front of the net or Berglund and Oshie knocking the puck loose to Perron for the quick wrist shot.
Both of these lines have the potential to help the Blues cure their powerplay woes. Let’s hope that 2013 is the year that the St. Louis Blues learn how to capitalize on their powerplay. As always, LET’S GO BLUES!