The Bruins come to town to face the Blues tonight. Looking at the league standings, the Blues have three games in hand and are one place ahead of the Bruins. The Blues post a winning home record 16-4-4 and the Bruins post a winning road record 12-7-5; both have 47 points at the seasons halfway mark. The Blues are coming off their impressive Winter Classic win over the first place Blackhawks 4-1, while the Bruins arrive following a gut wrenching overtime loss to the Hurricanes.
The teams’ last 10 games (Blues 5-4-1, Bruins 4-4-2) reflects just how close they are at pregame.
The Blues have a handful of weapons, including superstar Vladimir Tarasenko who is a threat when he steps on the ice. Jaden Schwartz has been solid, Robby Fabbri has been a pleasant surprise. David Perron is consistently in the mix along with Alexander Steen and Paul Stastny. If the Blues goaltending can shut down the sustained offensive Bruins attack this could be a big night for the home team. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said his team’s goaltending needs to be the story in the second half.
The Bruins top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pasternak have been highly effective of late. Pasternak, clearly healthy after missing a few games with elbow surgery, is back to where he was top 10 in the league earlier. Marchand is hot, just brimming with confidence with Bergeron rounding out the line, who always brings out the best in his wingers with his two-way play, positioning and instincts.
It will also be interesting to see the reception Backes receives at the Scottrade Center since he played with the Blues for 10 years, five of which he was captain. He signed a five-year -$30 million offer with the Bruins in the offseason.
Keys to the game:
St Louis Blues
Blues have a better home record their goaltending needs to play that way.
Create defensive mismatches against the younger, inexperienced Bruins defensemen.
Stay disciplined, the Bruins are a top penalty killing team that will try to play their brand of hockey.
Bruins are a better road team and need to test the Blues goaltending early.
Clean up the defensive breakdowns.
Bruins continual sustained offense attacks and keep forcing turnovers.