The St. Louis Blues finally showed up in the Edmonton bubble instead of just having their shells go out there and skate around. They won’t have time to celebrate though as they must play again immediately.
Whoever came up with the schedule for these particular NHL playoffs certainly did the St. Louis Blues no favors. While almost every team has had to deal with a back-to-back scenario, it just feels like the Blues got the worst end of it.
They have had two 9:30 games in this series already and will play a third this evening for Game 4 against the Vancouver Canucks. The fact they have had two-straight overtime games is of their own making, but it does not help the cause either.
On the good side, the Blues finally played what we consider to be Blues hockey. They went out and punished Vancouver physically, stayed out of the penalty box (for the most part) and looked threatening offensively.
Some fans won’t be pleased with the Blues penchant for passing up scoring chances, but they threatened. The Blues are not made to be a team that scares you offensively, even though they have great talent.
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They are built to win a certain way and that is not always aesthetically pleasing. It is effective when it works and it worked in Game 3.
The question now is whether the Blues can repeat that performance with such a quick turnaround. Guys get banged up when they play physically.
Sure, you’re taking less punishment when your the hitter, not the hitee but you’re still going to feel it. Bones get jarred and muscles get sore and there is still bruising.
The Blues have to dig deep and get one more win and then they can have a little rest. Again, when you look at things sensibly, you realize other teams have had to play on back-to-back days too, but this is the playoffs.
It just seems like that should not be happening. No, there is no travel to consider, but you still need breaks. With all the overtimes we have been seeing across the league, the back-to-backs take on even more significance.
Hopefully, the Blues will be able to just copy and paste and get another good performance.
Tonight’s game might be more interesting than Game 3 when it comes to roster decisions. Craig Berube made a host of changes, whether he was forced by necessity or simply chose to.
Now, Berube must decide who goes back in (assuming they are healthy) and who still sits. With no real information until closer to game time, this is all up for debate.
One would assume, if healthy, Tarasenko goes back into the lineup. Where do they put him in the lineup though?
Kyrou’s speed was a much needed component to counteract Vancouver, so it would be nice to stick with it. It might have been a one-off though.
The change that will be on everyone’s mind until they drop the puck is who is in net. Prior to Game 3, I suggested they play Allen in Game 3 and then go back to Binnington in Game 4.
That was prior to seeing how well Allen played. Now, the coaches have a big decision to make.
Allen played very well and technically deserves the start. Do you want to play him on “short rest”, for lack of a better term? In the regular season, goalies rarely play on back-to-back nights, even if they got a shutout.
This is the playoffs though and anything is up for grabs.
While I still believe Binnington is the starter for this team, I would not be shocked to see Jake the Snake in the net again for Game 4.
Where/When to watch/listen
Fox Sports Midwest, Fox Sports Go, NBCSN
101 ESPN, NHL app
Tonight’s game will once again be scheduled for 9:30 this evening. The Blues have not looked that bad in these evening games, so perhaps they have fully acclimated to the time change.
It still stinks for fans, especially on a back-to-back situation. Talk about missing out on sleep. Get your power naps in people.
Colorado against Arizona is the only other Western Conference game tonight, so everyone cross their fingers for no overtime.
This series is just too close to call, even with Vancouver still having some of the momentum.
Both teams probably played their best game of the series last night and the Blues won. Vancouver won twice when they were good, but the Blues were definitely not.
Logic thus dictates if the Blues are at their best, they win the game. Logic doesn’t always get things right though.
With that in mind, expect another close game. The Blues know they need to tie this series up and I think they will.
St. Louis is capable of win streaks, but having to win three out of four is better than having to win three straight.
If the Blues come out aggressively in the first period, as they did in Game 3, they take this one again. If it’s sluggish and they try to conserve energy until the end, I think Vancouver gets another lead and might not relinquish it.
Stock up on energy drinks and get those naps. It’ll be another long night my friends.