Gameday: Blues vs. Canucks

Blues forward Robert Thomas (18) is expected to return to the lineup for tonight’s action versus Vancouver (Photo courtesy: Dilip Vishwanat, Getty Images)

10/17: Blues/Canucks, 7pm, Enterprise Center

The St. Louis Blues (3-1-2) are headed back home after a four-game road trip to face against the Vancouver Canucks (3-2-0). The Blues suffered a disappointing overtime loss against the Islanders Monday afternoon, giving up their two-goal lead in the final six minutes of the game.

“I’m unhappy with how the game ended, but we gotta pick ourselves back up and look forward to the next game,” Jordan Binnington commented afterwards. “You gotta play a full 60 and be consistent all the way through. Hopefully it’s a lesson learned for all of us to finish teams and close out games.”

The Canucks are rolling on a 3-game winning streak, after beating the Red Wings 5-1 and outscoring their opponents in those three contests 16-5. Bo Horvat was recently announced as the next captain of the Vancouver Canucks during their home opener, after the Sedins announced their retirement.

“Obviously we’re coming in [to St. Louis] with a lot of confidence, but at the same time we have to be up for this game. You’re playing against the defending Stanley Cup champions; they’re a great hockey team, and we want to get a win here tonight,” Horvat said earlier today.

The Canucks and Blues face off tonight at Enterprise Center at 7pm. Robert Thomas is expected to return to the lineup after missing the last 5 games due to injury, taking the place of MacKenzie MacEachern.

Canuck’s Rebuild on the Rise

The past few seasons have been in full rebuild mode for Vancouver, and the results are finally starting to pay off. Since finishing 2nd in the Pacific back in 2015, the Canucks have yet to qualify for the playoffs. They finished near last place in the goals-for and goals-against category almost every season, but the new core is only becoming stronger. Bo Horvat, after being recently announced as the new captain, looks for another career season after scoring 27 goals and 64 points last year.

The Canucks’ youth has been building as well, having the 4th-youngest roster in the league. Players like Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, and Brock Boeser are on the fast track to becoming superstars in the NHL, after Pettersson finished with an incredible 28 goals and 66 points in his rookie season. Finally, the Canucks were busy during the offseason, adding pieces like defenseman Tyler Myers and Chris Tanev to their blue line. If Jacob Markstrom can continue his solid play in net, the Canucks could find the rebuild at an end very soon.

Thomas Returns

Robert Thomas returns to the lineup tonight after missing five games with an upper-body injury. Thomas is expected to slot into the fourth line with Ivan Barbashev and Oskar Sundqvist tonight. “I’m really excited to to get out there with Sunny and Barby,” Thomas told the media. “They play hard, they’ve got some skill, they make a lot of plays. It should be a lot of fun.”

Thomas could be the offensive injection the Blues’ depth has desperately needed in the early going. Aside from the second line of O’Reilly, Blais and Perron, only three Blues forwards have scored: Tarasenko, Schenn and Sundqvist. All forwards aside from 90-9-57 have only 23 points and a collective -19 differential. With the speed and physicality of Robert Thomas on the bottom line, hopefully the Blues’ depth can start to contribute more on the stat sheet.

Blue Notes

Brayden Schenn has a goal in his last five games, his career high.

Alex Pietrangelo will play his 695th game as a Blue, passing Patrik Berglund for 6th all-time in Blues franchise history.

The Blues and Canucks drop the puck at Enterprise Center at 8pm ET tonight. To listen or watch the game, head to:

STL: FSMW, 101.1 ESPN, Fox Sports GO, NHL.com

VAN: SN1, Sportsnet 650, NHL.com

Projected Lineups:

FORWARDS:

17 Schwartz – 10 Schenn – 91 Tarasenko

9 Blais – 90 O’Reilly – 57 Perron

15 Fabbri – 21 Bozak – 20 Steen

49 Barbashev – 70 Sundqvist – 18 Thomas

DEFENSE:

4 Gunnarsson – 27 Pietrangelo

19 Bouwmeester – 55 Parayko

29 Dunn – 72 Faulk

IN GOAL:

50 Binnington

For more local Blues stories, recaps, insights and more, visit bluesrants.com!

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