The St. Louis Blues have cured what ailed them with some home cooking. Now, they look to keep the good vibes going against the Blueshirts.
The St. Louis Blues had their two worst games of the calendar year to end their recent road trip. There might not be much basis for comparison since those were the only two road games of 2020, but still.
Returning home has seemed to cure them a little. The Blues have won two games since returning to the Enterprise Center for the first time in 2020.
The Blues turned things around reasonably well too. After allowing 15 goals in their last three road games, the Blues cut that down to three goals against in their last two home games.
Things still are not perfect, but they cannot be fully expected to be. St. Louis is missing their best scorer in Vladimir Tarasenko and now, they are without one of their best defenders in Colton Parayko.
The Blues have missed their big number 55. Despite the defense doing a decent job in his absence, the team still looks nervy in key moments.
Now, they have the New York Rangers coming to town for the first and only time this season. The Blues are hoping to keep their newborn winning streak alive while ending another one.
How They Stack Up
The St. Louis Blues, as mentioned, enter this game on a modest two-game winning streak. They defeated the San Jose Sharks and Buffalo Sabres in those two games.
One of the streaks the Blues are trying to end is the Rangers winning streak. The Rangers have the same two game streak as the Blues coming into this contest.
Another streak the Blues are trying to end is a two-game losing streak. St. Louis lost both games to the Rangers in 2018-19 by scores of 2-1 and 4-2.
Both teams have found a good offensive flow over their last two games. The Blues scored eight goals over the past two wins.
The Rangers have exploded for even more. They had an impressive 5-3 win over Colorado and then doubled down with a 6-3 win over the New Jersey Devils.
It has been a mixed bag for the Blues against the Blueshirts in recent years. St. Louis is 6-6-0 the last six seasons against the Rangers.
The Blues come into the game in first place in the conference at 28-10-7 and 63 points. The Rangers sit second from the bottom in the Metropolitan Division at 21-18-4 and 46 points.
St. Louis has 143 goals for and 122 goals against. New York is dead even with 144 scored and 144 given up.
Unless something changes, the early reports make it seem doubtful that Parayko returns for this game.
Here is the projected lineup from Chris Pinkert on the team website.
Sanford – O’Reilly – Perron
Schwartz – Schenn – Sundqvist
Steen – Thomas – Bozak
MacEachern – de la Rose – Barbashev
Dunn – Pietrangelo
Bouwmeester – Faulk
Mikkola – Bortuzzo
Unfortunately, Jordan Kyrou is out. Craig Berube claims it was a matchup swap, but it is hard not to correlate it with two goals called back for Kyrou being offside. Let’s hope not.
On paper, the Blues should win this game going away. That is why you play games instead of just having the numbers decide things.
That said, it will all boil down to the defensive effort and goaltending.
New York’s offense is not crazily potent, but they score at about the same pace as the Blues. Slowing them down will give St. Louis every opportunity to take advantage of a leaky Rangers defense.
My record with these predictions is not stellar. Nevertheless, I will call for a Blues 4-2 victory this evening.