St. Louis Blues vs. Montreal 2.0: Pregame News And Notes

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 28: Montreal Canadiens' mascot Youppi and St. Louis Blues' mascot Louie battle for the during the mascot prior to the NHL All-Star Game on January 28, 2018, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 28: Montreal Canadiens' mascot Youppi and St. Louis Blues' mascot Louie battle for the during the mascot prior to the NHL All-Star Game on January 28, 2018, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Blues take on the Montreal Canadiens for the second time this season. St. Louis is trying to come out of the All-Star break and set the tone.

The last time the St. Louis Blues took on the Montreal Canadiens they were in a slightly different spot. Though the Blues were coming off a three-game losing streak, they still had a lot of offense and a decent lead in the Central Division.

Fast-forward almost two months and things are slightly different. The Blues would lose Jaden Schwartz to injury two games after their 4-3 win in Montreal. They would also lose the division lead after 8-9-0 in December.

The Blues have righted the ship a little, halfway through January. They also got Schwartz back, just prior to the All-Star break.

Despite the upswing just prior to their final break of the season, the Blues are packed into the Central like sardines. They are only three points out of first, but only eight points ahead of the team in last place.

St. Louis has some tough road games in February. They also have two back-to-backs as well. Ending January on a high note with a win would be extremely beneficial to start the stretch run.

Know Thy Enemy

The Canadiens have had their struggles this season. They’re under .500 with a record of 20-23-6 through 49 games.

They are also, currently, 10 points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. This has prompted several rumors that they might try to unload their pricey goaltender, no pun intended.

As their record would indicate, they have struggled to find any sustained success. They lost 6-5 to Carolina just prior to the break. They are also 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. Not exactly a glowing recommendation for the team or their leadership.

More from Analysis

Former Blue Marc Bergevin is definitely on the hot seat right now. He made the blockbuster deal to acquire Shea Weber, thinking that ridding the locker room of PK Subban would help. Montreal did well last season, but Weber has been limited to 26 games this year and only 16 points.

Montreal is also dealing with injury. Weber is out with a foot injury and Blues fans will not get the opportunity to boo Andrew Shaw as he is out with a lower-body injury.

Blues Tidbits

St. Louis has gotten back to playing Blues hockey, for the most part. They got better defensively the last few games. In the West, only Nashville and Vegas have allowed fewer goals, as far as playoff teams go.

St. Louis is currently plus-18 in goal difference. They are also 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. The Blues are coming off a solid 3-1 win over Colorado just prior to the All-Star break.

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

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

Goalie
Carter Hutton

Where To Watch

Television:

Fox Sports Midwest or TSN2

Streaming:

Fox Sports Go, NHL.tv (subscriber fee)

Radio:

KMOX, KMOX.com, Blues app

There are no giveaways tonight. It’s just a regular game.  It is 90’s Theme Night though, so I guess bust out those flannel shirts to wear around your waist.

I will be in attendance tonight, so I apologize if that hurts the team. The last few times seeing games in person have been a mixed bag of results, to say the least.

Predictions

The Blues have dominated this series of late. As mentioned, they already won this season, 4-3.

St. Louis is 6-3 over Montreal since the lockout. The last time they lost to Montreal was 2015-16. The last time they lost at home was the season before that.

The Canadiens are a better team than their record would suggest, but they are what their record says they are as well. The Blues should win this game.

Next: Blues Still Have Division In Their Hands

It will not be easy. Despite a shaky start, Carey Price is still a top goaltender and that can make a big difference.

The Blues should win though. 3-1 for the good guys is what we’ll say.