Good morning Blues fans! It’s the day before the day. Not much to dissect from the games anymore, so let’s talk lineups.
The St. Louis Blues mixed things up against the Nashville Predators for Game 4. While it worked in terms of style and flow, the outcome was sadly no different.
Will the Blues make any additional changes for Game 5? The answer is unknown, but they should, not only for the present but for the future.
The changes Mike Yeo made for Game 4 were fine, with a couple exceptions. First and foremost, it was rather puzzling to take out Kyle Brodziak.
It is not completely without reason. In eight games played, he has two assists and is a minus-3.
However, his playoff faceoff percentage is almost 43%. While that doesn’t sound great, it’s higher than the team percentage has been in several games. It seems a bit foolish to take out anyone even approaching 50% the way things have gone in the dot.
Also, you break up the chemistry of the fourth line. You don’t expect to get goals out of that line, but they have been the team’s most consistent performers all season long. It just didn’t seem like the time or the person to send a message through.
On top of him being removed, they put Jori Lehtera on the fourth line. I want the guy to succeed perhaps more than most, but he is not a fourth line player.
I understand putting “dog house” guys on the fourth line or rookies, because they will see the least ice time. However, your fourth line is supposed to be an energy line if nothing else. Lehtera is not going to provide that and has a completely different style of play than his two linemates if you stick him down there. As much as we want him to do something, Lehtera either needs to be in the top-nine or scratched.
The lineup that I would like to see is probably the least likely to be utilized. Regardless of production, one of the more interesting lines the Blues have had was their AHL line.
More from Bleedin' Blue
- St. Louis Blues Prospects Shine And Fizzle In Prospects Showcase
- St. Louis Blues Giving Nick Ritchie A Look Is No Lose Situation
- St. Louis Blues Torey Krug Already Injured Before 2023-24 Season
- St. Louis Blues Need Kasperi Kapanen To Be On Best Behavior
- Former St. Louis Blues Forward Going Into Hall Of Fame
Taking Barbashev out of the lineup was not a big mistake. He isn’t the biggest player and has appeared a little run down at times. As his career progresses this will change, but he’s being relied on quite a bit for a rookie.
The reason I would like this line is you throw a lot of trust the way of three guys. While Paajarvi has had several NHL shots, he’s still a bit of a minor leaguer right now.
If you combine all three on one line, you’re saying “we trust you, now go out there and show us something.” That means a lot to any player, especially younger/underutilized guys. Hopefully they would enter the game with a take on the world and show the boss we are worthy of the trust mentality.
Additionally, you get a lot of speed and tenacity. Paajarvi has always been fast, but until this year demonstrated no ability to do anything but skate. Barbashev has already shown an ability to take on bigger guys and Sanford was one of the Blues hardest workers in Game 4. Sanford continues to impress even if he isn’t getting it to translate into points.
My Game 5 lineup would be:
Tarasenko Stastny Schwartz
Perron Berglund Steen
Paajarvi Barbashev Sanford
Upshall Brodziak Reaves
Whether we see that or not remains to be seen. Regardless, the Blues need to come out and fire everything they can. Empty the chambers. No point in holding back at this point.
Here are your St. Louis Blues morning links to get your day going right.
The St. Louis Blues are dead last of the remaining teams in offensive production. While the shot totals have increased, Pekka Rinne is keeping them out. The Blues know they must do better and be more decisive if they intend to keep playing. (Post-Dispatch)
Winning has boiled down to about three simple things for the Nashville Predators. Getting around those three things will be the gameplan for the Blues to hopefully have success. (Tenneseean)
Regardless of what happens the rest of this season, the St. Louis Blues will have a new look next season. That new look has nothing to do with the roster, but rather how we see and hear the team inside the Scottrade Center. (Blues)
It was 17 years ago today that the NHL saw it’s longest game in modern history. Find out more about it from the people that were there for that monumental game between the Penguins and Flyers. (NHL)
Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Ovechkin seem to share similarities this time of year and it has nothing to do with being Russian. Both shoulder a lot of responsibility and both are the scapegoat of the fans when things don’t go well. Ovechkin owns that and even said he has to be better after his own team went down 3-1. (ESPN)