St. Louis Blues Vs. Ottawa 2.0: Pregame News And Notes

OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 18: St. Louis Blues Goalie Carter Hutton (40) holds onto the stick of Ottawa Senators Left Wing Alexandre Burrows (14) during the third period of the NHL game between the Ottawa Senators and the St. Louis Blues on Jan. 18, 2018 at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Steven Kingsman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 18: St. Louis Blues Goalie Carter Hutton (40) holds onto the stick of Ottawa Senators Left Wing Alexandre Burrows (14) during the third period of the NHL game between the Ottawa Senators and the St. Louis Blues on Jan. 18, 2018 at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Steven Kingsman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Blues continue their four game home stand to end January. They’ll face the Ottawa Senators for the second time in less than a week.

It is funny how a few days can change your perception of just about everything. The St. Louis Blues have really done a job of crushing the fan base in that short amount of time.

St. Louis took on Ottawa just five days ago. Entering that game, there was a little bit of trepidation.

The Blues were only in their second game after the bye week. They had beaten Toronto a few days before, but it took overtime and the Blues only showed up for the third period.

Against the Senators, fears were laid to rest relatively quickly. The Blues would somewhat cruise to an easy win by the final score of 4-1. That had the fan base quickly feeling good about the direction the team was headed in.

It’s amazing how differently you can feel after one more game. Normally we shrug off one bad performance, but the next game against Arizona was so bad that all the bad feelings are back.

With the exception of playoff exits, there has rarely been this much consternation. Fans are willing to get rid of just about anyone on the team.

The reality is that one game will probably not shake that. Even if the Blues crush the Senators, it won’t erase every worry the Blues have cultivated over the season.

Nevertheless, the Blues have to have a good performance. Win or lose, we need to see something from them that goes beyond just the final numbers.

Know Thy Enemy

The Senators have not righted the ship since losing to the Blues. Ottawa has lost their last three games, including that 4-1 loss to St. Louis.

In a reverse of the Blues schedule, the Senators played Toronto immediately after and lost by one in a 4-3 decision.

Ottawa will be playing the second game of a back to back tonight as they faced Minnesota on the road last night. That was a 3-1 loss.

Ottawa is one of those odd teams that could easily bite the Blues in the rear though. Much like Arizona, their talent level should be better than what their record says.

The Blues have to be ready for a fight tonight. Ottawa is going to come out hungry, back to back game or not and the Blues have a habit of looking at what the standings say instead of playing their own game.

Blues Tidbits

Despite all our hand wringing, the Blues are still in third place in the division. They are only three points out of second and four points out of first, entering tonight’s game.

The issue comes with the teams behind them. Both wild card teams are from the Central Division right now and Dallas is only one point behind, with the Avalanche surging again and only two points behind the Blues.

More from Analysis

St. Louis needs to get themselves back on track and take care of their own business. The rest will take care of itself.

St. Louis is returning to the unconventional 11 forwards and seven defensemen tonight.

Projected Lineup:

Forwards
Ivan Barbashev – Paul Stastny – Vladimir Tarasenko
Alexander Steen – Brayden Schenn – Dmitrij Jaskin
Vladimir Sobotka – Patrik Berglund – Tage Thompson
Scottie Upshall – Kyle Brodziak

Defense
Joel Edmundson – Alex Pietrangelo
Jay Bouwmeester – Colton Parayko
Vince Dunn – Robert Bortuzzo
Carl Gunnarsson

Goalie
Carter Hutton

That second line still bothers me for some reason. Jaskin tries his best, but just doesn’t seem able to break out. Steen is going downhill in many ways and can’t seem to reclaim much of a connection with Schenn. Hopefully they click tonight.

The goaltender thing does not bother me much anymore. I’d rather have Jake Allen in there so he could potentially benefit from a bounceback effort from this team. However, Mike Yeo’s reasoning given in the team website article linked above is fair enough, even if I disagree.

"“We wanted to play him last game because we felt like he deserved to play that game. The way that we came out, it didn’t really feel like we gave him a chance in that one,” Yeo said. “We pulled him, it wasn’t his fault. He’ll get the chance to respond here, today.”"

It is good to see Scottie Upshall return. Chris Thorburn did fine in his few games in the lineup, but the team needs Upshall’s energy and the reasoning for his benching was quite odd.

Where To Watch

Television:

Fox Sports Midwest or TSN5 in Canada

Streaming:

Fox Sports Go, NHL.tv (subscriber fee)

Radio:

KMOX, KMOX.com, Blues app

The puck drops tonight a little after 7pm Central Time.

Next: Alexander Steen Is Now Expendable

Predictions

It is hard to say why, but I worry about this game. Normally I’d have faith the Blues would bounce back and have a great effort. That Arizona game has me spooked though.

I am definitely of two minds here. I can see Ottawa winning 3-2 in a shootout or the Blues pulling off a 2-1 win.

Hopefully both of those will be wrong and it will end in a big offensive night for the Note. We will see.