Blues goaltender Jake Allen (34) protects the net against Canadiens forward Nick Suzuki (14). (Photo courtesy: Dilip Vishwanat, Getty Images)
10/19: Blues/Canadiens, 2pm, Enterprise Center
The St. Louis Blues (3-1-3) are are looking for revenge in Saturday’s afternoon game against the Montreal Canadiens (3-2-2). The Canadiens and Blues already faced off last week, when the Habs handed the Blues’ only regulation loss of the season. “Yeah, we weren’t very good tonight. We couldn’t get to our game,” Brayden Schenn commented after the loss. “We couldn’t get the forecheck game going, and didn’t sustain a whole lot of O-zone pressure and turned the puck over a lot.”
Carl Gunnarsson was injured in the Blues’ most recent game, a 4-3 shootout loss to the Canucks. The Blues lead 3-1 at the midway point of the game but dropped their lead to lose in the shootout. “We’re still not where we need to be. We gotta be tighter defensively,” Coach Berube commented after the game. “I liked our game tonight… but we gotta clean it up. We’re just turning the puck over too much.”
Carey Price earned his 45th career shutout last Thursday in a 4-0 win over the Wild. “I thought we were reloading, getting into shot lanes, and doing all the right things,” Price said after the game. Price now sits one shutout away from tying Ken Dryden for third all-time in shutouts. The Blues and Canadiens face off in Enterprise center at 2pm, with Allen likely getting today’s start in goal. It is the final time the Blues and Canadiens face off in regular season action.
The Blues have suffered three losses where they were tied or leading going into the third period. While the Blues manage to salvage a point in two contests from overtime or shootouts, the Blues need to focus on closing out games.
“A couple weird bounces the last couple games, not an excuse, but I think we can still do a better job of closing teams out and keeping things 5-on-5,” Alex Pietrangelo said after the shootout loss to the Canucks. “There’s a lot of things we can build off of here, and once you start closing out games, we’re going to be pushing things in the right direction.”
Part of the problem has been the defensive play of the Blues in their own end. That could see a change in today’s game, with Carl Gunnarsson missing today’s game with a lower-body injury. Craig Berube has been experimenting with Alex Pietrangelo slotted into the left side, either with Justin Faulk or Colton Parayko.
Berube also discussed the idea of Parayko playing on his off-hand as well. “He’s such a good skater,” Berube told the Post-Dispatch. “He does wheel that way a lot in games, so we gotta find somebody that can fit over there at times and in situations like this.”
The Blues are 6-2-0 in their last eight matchups against the Canadiens and 4-0 at Enterprise Center.
Brayden Schenn has a six-game point streak (5G, 2A)
Tarasenko has a three-game point streak (2G, 2A)
The Blues and Canadiens start action today at 3pm ET. To catch all the action, tune in to FSMW, ESPN 101.1, Fox Sports GO, or NHL.com.
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