Calgary – Nov 13
The Blues also already took care of business against the Flames with a 5-2 win on October 25. It really should not have been that close as the Blues contributed to their opponent’s success with some turnovers and sloppy play.
You can’t take the Flames lightly because they have way too much speed and scoring potential to light you up. They can be had defensively though, which we already saw.
Edmonton – Nov 16
Anybody who predicted the Oilers start has to be raking money in in Las Vegas. I’m not saying they need to be a first place team at this point in their development, but they were a dark horse Cup winner for some analysts.
The only reason they are not in last place is because Arizona is in their division.
The Oilers had one of the league’s best offenses last season. In one month of play, they have the fewest goals in the NHL. Let that sink in for a moment. Arizona and Buffalo have scored more goals than the Edmonton Oilers.
They are an oddly backward team right now. Cam Talbot has been between good and fantastic the past year and a half and he has been just OK to start this year. In the past they’ve been Swiss cheese defensively, but through October they only allowed three more goals than the Blues. Then they only sink 22 goals? Something is amiss in the Great White North.
Vancouver – Nov 18
The Canucks are a pleasant surprise this season. They’re coming along quicker than most had predicted.
This will be a tough matchup for the Blues from a special teams perspective. Vancouver has one of the league’s better penalty kills and the Blues struggle on the power play.
The big question mark for the Canucks will be in goal. They have two career backups splitting time. We’ve seen it work (Halak and Elliott anyone?), but it is not usually going to sustain for an entire year.
Edmonton – Nov 21
This game will be in the comforts of the Scottrade Center (or whatever it is called by that point). Edmonton will be on the first leg of a back-to-back, so their mind might be on trying to get to Detroit for the next night.
The Oilers will also be playing their sixth game in 11 days when they drop the puck against the Blues that week.
Nashville – Nov 24
Let’s hope the Blues aren’t still bogged down by too much tryptophan for this one. The Friday after American Thanksgiving – yes, I am aware Canadians had theirs in October – the Blues face rival Nashville.
The Predators had a slow start to the year, very similarly to what they experienced in 2016-17. This year it was not about gelling though. The offense is struggling.
Like the Blues, after their own trip to the conference finals, the Predators had some key players depart. Blues fans should know how much leadership in the locker room can mean, but when it comes to opponents they only look at offseason signings.
So, Blues fans were in despair at how the Predators had added pieces to a team that already almost won it all. Clearly, you can’t spend every offseason making large scale changes because it is harder to find that chemistry again.
By the time the Blues see the Preds, they will likely have their feet under them and it will be the usual divisional scrap. Fortunately, this game is at home where St. Louis went 4-2 last year. The Blues lost all five in Nashville.
Minnesota – Nov 25
No rest for the weary as the Blues play the next night against the Wild. It’s another home game, so no travel is involed, though sometimes you might want to get away from all the post-Thanksgiving activity.
The Wild are stumbling and might not be able to get up. However, there is still talent there. They just are not getting the most out of it right now and holes that were smoothed over with their hot start last year are more glaring now.
As an example of how things are going for the Wild, Chris Stewart leads them in scoring. Blues fans know all too well that won’t hold up.
The thing keeping the Wild in it is the tightness of the division. While the Blues have some space, the Wild – currently in last – are only four points out of second place.
Anaheim – Nov 29
The Ducks don’t present the same difficulties they have in recent memory, but it’s still always a difficult game for St. Louis. Luckily this game is at home. The Blues have not lost to the Ducks in St. Louis since 2014.
Looking at their roster, the Ducks actually have a lot of players in their mid-20’s. However, their main core is still getting up in years and their own personal window is closing.
November should be another good month for the Blues. The schedule is not too cramped. Even the usually difficult western Canada swing has some decent gaps in it so you can get more acclimated.
At rough estimation, the Blues should go no worse than 7-5. 8-4 or better is definitely within grasp.
If the Blues do better than 8-4, we have to start considering them to be true contenders and not just a team off to a good start. We’ll worry about that little detail when November is done though.