Tomorrow is the moment many St. Louis Blues fans have been waiting for, a chance to end Chicago’s point streak. As the Blackhawks have essentially run away with the Western Conference, the Blues have quietly kept pace with every other Western Conference foe (with the exception of Anaheim). This goes without being said, but tomorrow is a big game.
*Andy McDonald and Alex Steen suffered injuries during yesterday’s practice. McDonald is considered week to week, while Steen (day to day) could be available to play tomorrow according to Ken Hitchcock.
*Jaroslav Halak will get the start in goal for the Blues, while Corey Crawford will be the starting netminder for the Hawks. Crawford is off to a fantastic start with an 8-0-3 record, including a 1.50 GAA and a .941 SV%.
*The Blues called up Andrew Murray from the Peoria Rivermen following yesterday’s injuries. In 38 games with Peoria, Murray has 19 points (10G, 9A). He is a defensively responsible player, is an asset on the penalty kill, and has over 200 games of NHL experience, mostly with the Columbus Blue Jackets under then-head coach Ken Hitchcock. He knows Hitchcock’s system, which can only bode well for the Blue Note.
*Going into tomorrow game, the Blues are the better rested team as they haven’t played since Saturday. The Blackhawks played back-to-back games on Sunday and Monday. With three or more days of rest between games this season, St. Louis is 1-1. This includes an embarrassing 6-1 loss to Nashville back when the Blues lost five straight.
*This year, St. Louis has kind of gotten away from the physical game we are so used to seeing from them. The Blues will need to bring a different level of physicality to slow down Chicago’s high-powered offense tomorrow night. With the absences of McDonald, Tarasenko, and possibly Steen from the lineup, the Blues won’t quite match the finesse of the Hawks, which makes physical play that much more important.
*Tomorrow’s game is at home, so you can bet Scottrade Center is going to be loud. St. Louis needs to feed off of that energy early, plain and simple. Being a .500 club at home is unacceptable, and the Blues know that.
More to come,