The St. Louis Blues are finally about to play their second round-robin game. It is a must win, but only if you care about seeding.
The St. Louis Blues face the Vegas Golden Knights this evening. It will be the second round-robin game for both teams.
The Blues lost a heartbreaker against the Colorado Avalanche. They almost literally lost with no time on the clock as the officials made the decision that the puck crossed the line entirely with 0.1 seconds left.
On the flip side, Vegas beat the Dallas Stars pretty handily. Dallas jumped out to an early 3-1 lead and then Vegas stormed back for the win.
That’s something Blues fans should be familiar with. The Blues played Vegas twice and lost in overtime twice.
In each game, the Blues had a lead, only to see it slip away. The first game, in Vegas, might have been the worst as the Blues had 3-0 lead, saw the Golden Knights score four unanswered, re-tied the game and then lost in OT.
Needless to say, the Blues know the Dallas Stars’ pain. What they are hoping to avoid is knowing the Stars pain again.
Dallas lost to Colorado 4-0 in their second round-robin game. That puts the Blues in a must-win scenario against Vegas…sort of.
As many have pointed out, the Blues don’t HAVE to win any of these pre-playoff games. For all we know, they might get some sort of psychological edge by being a fourth seed.
However, if they have any interest in their seeding at all, they need to beat Vegas. A win against the Golden Knights keeps the Blues hopes of being the top seed alive. A loss put them in a spot where the only benefit of beating Dallas, other than beating Jamie Benn, would be to not finish last.
So, beat Vegas, and you can still be the top seed if Colorado would lose to the Golden Knights in the their third round-robin game. That includes the Blues beating Dallas, but you get the idea.
How they stack up
Interestingly, if the Blues can keep this game from going to overtime, they have their best chance to win over Vegas. While rosters have changed slightly, the Blues have never beaten Vegas in OT.
The Blues are 5-0-4 against the Golden Knights. Five wins all came in regulation. Four losses all came in the overtime period. Not even a shootout to break that up.
It’s been a lot of offense between these two teams, despite their physical styles. In nine games, the Blues have outscored Vegas 32-26, with the average score 3.6 to 2.9 per game.
Roster ins and outs
As we all know, Ivan Barbashev is out due to the pending birth of his child. His spot is going to be filled by Mackenzie MacEachern, who will technically play in his first playoff game, even though we were originally told these are not playoff games, but the stats count as playoff stats, so you figure it out.
Additionally, a game time decision will be made on whether to keep Robert Thomas out. There was no word on why they would keep him out, though other teams have been cautious with anyone showing something resembling a symptom and waiting for negative tests before letting them out there. For example, that is why Tukka Rask did not play the first Boston game.
If Thomas does not play, Craig Berube has said Jordan Kyrou would take his spot. That would move Tyler Bozak to center, assuming they simply insert Kyrou into that line. No offense, but I will not be a happy camper if Alex Steen is moved up and Kyrou is a fourth liner.
How/When to watch
Tonight’s game is at 5:30 again. For the vast majority of fans, this is a great time.
Most people will be off work and it’s not ending too late for those that work the next day. For me, it’s a terrible time because IF I’m off work by then, I either have to go to the gym and miss a period on TV and listen on the app or not go to the gym and watch the game. Chances are the latter will happen, not that anyone really cares about my stuff.
Fox Sports Midwest, Fox Sports Go App, NHL Network
101 ESPN, NHL App
I didn’t do a prediction for the last game, but I’ll admit I would not have seen the way that game panned out. I doubt I’ll be right about this one either.
I think the Blues find a way to win it, but the question is whether it’ll be another defensive affair or the team’s offense finally comes alive. The Blues have enough offense to score goals, but they don’t want to get into a track meet.
Defensively, even though Vegas is solid, I have no reason to doubt the Blues can contain them.
So, I’ll say the Blues figure things out and get a 3-2 win.