The St. Louis Blues take on the New York Rangers for the second and final time tonight. The question is whether a win will be enough to truly keep either team alive.
Tonight it is the Blue Note against the Blueshirts. The St. Louis Blues take on the New York Rangers for the second and final time in 2017-18 with a lot on the line, but potential little on the line.
Both of these teams are technically still in their playoff races, though things are becoming increasingly bleak. There is still more hope for the Blues since they have games in hand on those above them.
That said, even a win for either team will not automatically thrust them into the playoff picture just yet. For both teams it is basically just about winning, keeping hope alive and letting the chips fall where they may.
The strange thing about this game is that the teams are in relatively the same spot despite attempting to go in different directions. The Blues sold one player off at the deadline, but still had every intention of going for the postseason. The Rangers had a massive selloff, in an attempt to get younger and free up cap space. They were clearly not feeling the playoffs, which might be why they are further away from the final spot than St. Louis.
Know Thy Foe
The Rangers have actually done fairly well, overall, since the trade deadline, despite selling off some big names. Even without Rick Nash and J.T. Miller, the Rangers are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games.
The Rangers have won two games in a row as well. That includes a rather impressive 4-3 win over Pittsburgh on March 14.
If Blues fans think their defense has been bad, they should thank their stars they have not been following the Rangers. New York has allowed 227 goals this season. That’s a whopping 41 more than the Blues.
All of this with one of the league’s best goaltenders in their net. The fact they allow a ton of shots is the only thing keeping his stats respectable.
New York is currently nine points out of a playoff spot with 71 points and a record of 32-32-7. They usually fail away from the Garden, going 12-19-3 on the road.
St. Louis is currently out of the playoffs by five points since everyone is going to flippin’ overtime, even if they lose. They currently trail Dallas with 84 points.
The Blues come into tonight’s game at 37-28-5. However, we saw how well they take care of teams that do not do well on the road when they lost to the Colorado Avalanche.
Despite playing exceptionally well, the Blues failed to score, which has become a theme. If the playoffs began today and the Blues were involved, their 192 goals would be the fewest scored of any team in the postseason.
The Blues have to find a way to win at home. The Rangers are poor on the road, but the Blues are only 20-15-0 at Scottrade. That’s not a terrible mark, but needs to be better.
St. Louis does already have a win over New York this season. The Blues won 3-1 in New York back on October 10.
The Blues are 18-9-1 against the Eastern Conference this year.
The Blues will be wearing their white uniforms tonight.
Where To Watch
Fox Sports Midwest, MSG Network
Fox Sports Go App, NHL.tv (subscriber fee)
KMOX, KMOX.com, Blues app
What to do, what to do? Lately my predictions have gone quite wrong. The Blues win when I pick them to lose and vice versa.
Still, it just doesn’t feel quite right to go with that hunch. My problem with this game is who is in net for the Rangers.
Though stats might say otherwise, it feels like Henrik Lundqvist always steals the game, no matter how well the Blues play, when he is in there. If he is in net, the Blues might be in trouble.
If the Rangers go with someone else, unlikely, then things become much easier for the Blues. That said, I still have a good feeling about this game.
If the Blues can take a carbon copy of their Avalanche performance and just score a few more times, a win is in the bag. Of course, if scoring were easy, they’d have done more of it all year.
Still, I think the Blues win this one. I’ll say the final is 3-1.