Gameday: Blues vs Panthers

Blues forward Robert Thomas (18) attempts to slide the puck past former Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo (1). (Photo courtesy: Jeff Roberson, AP Photo)

3/9: Blues/Panthers, Enterprise Center, 7pm CT – FSMW, ESPN 101.1

ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Blues (41-18-10) are right back in business tonight at home against the Florida Panthers (34-26-8). After their win streak was broken, the Blues got back on the board with a big 2-0 shutout win over the Blackhawks. It was the first time in their history that they swept the season series against Chicago, as Jake Allen took the no. 2 spot in all-time shutouts for St. Louis.

“I just think tonight was a big game for us, to be honest with you,” Allen said. “We felt as a group we weren’t at our best the past two games. We got away with one in New York. (Jordan Binnington) played great, but we needed to get back to our game, and I thought in the third period there the first 15 minutes of that period, we played our game, we dominated. It pretty much changed the tides of the game, didn’t really give them any momentum until when they pulled the goalie there.”

The Blues held the Blackhawks to one shot on net in eight powerplay minutes, after allowing three powerplay goals in the last meeting with Chicago. “That’s a high-end power play with some high-end skill,” Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo said. “I thought we made it tough on them in the entries. When we had breakdowns, Jake made a couple big saves. I’m proud of the effort there and continuing to build right now.”

The Panthers got a convincing 4-1 win over the Canadiens on Saturday, after raising goaltender Roberto Luongo’s number 1 to the rafters. The win put Florida three points behind the Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets for a playoff spot with a game in hand. “I thought we had a workmanlike type of game, more businesslike than we’ve had recently,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We took that awful stretch we’ve had here and turned it into a different situation when you look at where we’re sitting.”

The Blues and Panthers play tonight’s rescheduled game after the incident involving Jay Bouwmeester in the postponed game against Anaheim, which the Blues will replay on Wednesday. St. Louis and Florida play both of their meetings this month, with a trip to BB&T Center coming on the 21st. The Blues and Panthers are back on Fox Sports Midwest and ESPN 101.1 tonight at 7pm CT at Enterprise Center.

Coronavirus Makes NHL Consider Options

The recent outbreak of COVIN-19, also being called the coronavirus, has prompted sports league around the world to consider ways of reducing the spread of disease amidst mass gatherings of fans and players. Already some football matches in Italy are being played in empty arenas, but the NHL is considering precautions they may need to take.

Some NHL teams are already keeping the lockers rooms closed to the media, only allowing to speak to the players via press conference. “We’re focused on the fact that the tightness, the crowdedness and the intimacy of postgame availability may need to be adjusted while we’re focusing on the coronavirus,” commissioner Gary Bettman said.

The annual NHL general manager’s meeting in Boca Raton was held last week, where deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league was “exploring contingency plans” if the coronavirus was to become a larger threat for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“I think it’s very unlikely — knock on wood, I’m hopeful — that we would progress to a stage where we have to consider something that dramatic,” Daly said. “But certainly everything is possible, and we have to look at all possible contingencies. If it gets to that point, we will be ready.”

Blue Notes

Alex Pietrangelo became the 5th Blues defenseman in history to score 10+ goals on the road… Jake Allen earned his 21st career shutout and 147th win, putting him 4 shutouts behind Brian Elliott for 1st and 4 wins behind Mike Liut for 1st… Brayden Schenn extended his point streak to seven games (5G 4A) with an assist… Jaden Schwartz has 11 points in 8 games

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