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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 8:04 am 
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The Blues will unveil a statue of Hall of Famer Al MacInnis outside Scottrade Center promptly at 6 p.m.

PreGame Activites: Pep Rally | MacInnis Statue
Promotion: Team Calendar (all fans)
Tickets: Very few tickets remain


Season series: This is the first of two meetings this season. These teams met once in 2008-09, and the Blues earned a 4-2 road win on Nov. 30, 2008. Brad Boyes, David Backes, Jay McClement and Keith Tkachuk scored goals, with Boyes and Jeff Woywitka (0-2-2) collecting a game-high 2 points apiece. For the Thrashers, Colby Armstrong and Niclas Havelid (now playing in Sweden) scored goals. Goaltender Chris Mason made 28 saves for the win, and Ondrej Pavelec took the loss with 43 saves.

Big story: These teams are highly unfamiliar with each other, as this is only the 11th all-time meeting, with the Blues holding a 6-2-1-1 advantage and outscoring Atlanta 33-22.

Both squads have several new faces since their last meeting. Atlanta has added defensemen Pavel Kubina and Steve McCarthy, and forwards Tim Stapleton, Nik Antropov and Maxim Afinogenov, as well as 18-year-old Evander Kane, the No. 4 pick of the 2009 Entry Draft. Also, German defenseman Christoph Schubert, who the Thrashers claimed on waivers from Ottawa last Friday, is expected to make his season debut. The Blues, already with a great young nucleus, have added goaltender Ty Conklin, defensemen Brendan Bell and Darryl Sydor, and center Derek Armstrong, all veterans.

Team scope:

Thrashers: Atlanta has a new top line with free agent signee Nik Antropov centering Ilya Kovalchuk and Bryan Little. Kovalchuk, who finished sixth in the NHL in scoring with 91 points (43 goals, 48 assists) last season, is the only player in the League who has scored 40 or more goals in each of the past five seasons. He is also the leading goal-scorer with 297 since entering the NHL as an 18-year-old in 2001-02.

Antropov has scored 54 goals over the past two seasons, including career-high totals of 28 goals and 59 points with Toronto and the Rangers in 2008-09. Little scored 31 times in 2008-09 to rank second on the Thrashers in goals.

Blues: What a way to start the season -- sweeping a two-game series against division rival Detroit, a squad heavy in Swedes, in Stockholm. The crowd at the Scottrade Center should be rocking to see their triumphant heroes in their home-opener.

Coach Andy Murray guided the Blues to one of the greatest comebacks in NHL history over the second half of last season, posting the League's best record in their last 41 games (25-9-7) and advancing from 15th place in the Western Conference standings to the No. 6 seed for their first playoff berth since 2003-04.

St. Louis also made its amazing run in 2008-09 without franchise defenseman Erik Johnson, who is back for 2009-10 after missing all last season with a knee injury. Johnson led Blues defensemen and ranked second among NHL rookie blueliners in scoring in 2007-08, recording 33 points (5 goals, 28 assists) in 69 games. He was the first player selected in the 2006 Entry Draft.

Who's hot: Kovalchuk and Rich Peverley each scored 2 goals and 3 points for the Thrashers in their season-opener, while Little and Tobias Enstrom had 2 assists each. Young defensemen Zach Bogosian and Anssi Salmela also scored in the win against Tampa Bay.

Three players have 4 points apiece for the Blues -- Keith Tkachuk (2-2-4), Paul Kariya (2-2-4) and Jay McClement (1-3-4). Center Andy McDonald is not far behind with 3 points (1-2-3).

Injury report: Atlanta has goaltender Kari Lehtonen (back) and defenseman Noah Welch (shoulder) on injured reserve. Defenseman Eric Brewer (back) and left wing D.J. King (thumb) are on injured reserve for St. Louis.

Stat pack: On Monday, the NHL named Tkachuk its Third Star for the week ending Oct. 4. He scored 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in the Blues' two-game sweep against Detroit in 2009 Compuware NHL Premiere. After tallying 1 assist in a 4-3 victory on Oct. 2, Tkachuk notched 3 points (2 goals, 1 assist) and earned First Star honors in a 5-3 win on Oct. 3. He led all players in the game with 7 hits, recorded 5 shots and won 9 of 16 faceoffs. Tkachuk increased his career goals total to 527, second all-time among U.S.-born players and 31st all-time.

Puck drop: The Blues are traveling the road from also-rans to contenders with Cup aspirations, experiencing the same type of turnaround Chicago has experienced recently. The Thrashers would like nothing better to follow the same game plan.


NHL.com

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 8:15 am 
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Morning Skate wrote:
The Blues will have new lines for Thursday’s home opener. Murray altered his combinations in the second period of Saturday’s 5-3 win over Detroit and said after practice today that he’ll keep them the same. Here’s a refresher:

Andy McDonald-David Backes-David Perron

Paul Kariya-Patrik Berglund-T.J. Oshie

Brad Winchester-Keith Tkachuk-Brad Boyes

Alex Steen-Jay McClement-B.J. Crombeen

Basically, all Murray did was switch Kariya and Winchester . . .

“I didn’t think that our gold unit, which is Berglund’s unit, was being effective in (Saturday’s) game,” Murray said. “And I didn’t think our blue unit, which is Walt, Brad and Paul, were being effective. I had that in mind that we may do that. There’s a good chance” they will be the same Thursday.


Blues 4

Thrashed 1

:letsgoblues:

R/S

KJVO_1611

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:15 am 
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Not really sure if I'm a fan of not having a major assist man on Boyes' line.

Side note: Does Brad Winchester look a lot bigger this year to anyone?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:21 am 
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Blues 5
Thrashers 1 (Mason lets in a softie before shutting the door)

Winchester does look enormous.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:28 am 
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Blues 4 Walt with a hat trick, EJ with a blast from the point
Thrashers 1

I am going to the game, and i'm wicked excited, i just hope it stops raining

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:57 am 
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LET'S GET IT ON!!!!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 12:01 pm 
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cprice12 wrote:
LET'S GET IT ON!!!!


haha, this kid is awsome. I love how he gives the air hockey table a comforting tap on the shoulder in the beginning.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 1:05 pm 
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cprice12 wrote:
LET'S GET IT ON!!!!



AWESOME!!! :lol:

Blues 3 (Crombeen, Oshie, Colaiacovo) - OT
ATL 2

:goblues:

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 1:21 pm 
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Let's go Blues!!! I'll be watching this one from home. Free Big Macs anyone?

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 1:46 pm 
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cprice12 wrote:
LET'S GET IT ON!!!!



You were born to be hockey players. Every wunya. :lol:

:letsgoblues:

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:00 pm 
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Blues 2
Thrashers 4

I don't know what effect, if any, the traveling cross-ocean is going to have on the team, but I suspect they'll come out rusty and get it together too late. Hopefully I'm wrong.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:21 pm 
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Blues 4
Thrashers 2

My friend just called and has an extra ticket, so I'll be in attendance. Stoked.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:41 pm 
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ZigZagBluesFan wrote:
Not really sure if I'm a fan of not having a major assist man on Boyes' line.

Side note: Does Brad Winchester look a lot bigger this year to anyone?


He paid extra for a caliber upgrade over the summer.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:52 pm 
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cprice12 wrote:
LET'S GET IT ON!!!!


YES!!! :letsgoblues:

:cup: :cup: :cup:

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 4:05 pm 
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anyone know of a stream for this evening?

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:53 pm 
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Is anyone else having problems with the FSN HD feed? I can get the SD channel, but no go on HD with DirecTV. Could be the rain, but who knows.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 6:06 pm 
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My HD's coming in fine on 671-1.

Probably the rain in your area.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 6:17 pm 
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coming in fine here, you can come watch but you might have to fight the wife and the dog for a seat...

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 6:21 pm 
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1-0!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 6:26 pm 
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I know we were all ready to pile dirt on KT b/c of his bad 2nd half, but maybe he's just a first half player these days?

I the end of last season was just the start of an irrereversable decline, but I suppose we need to consider the possibility that he simply doesn't have the stamina he once did. If that's the case, we may well get another strong first half from him. While not ideal, there's still some value in that.

Gimme another frontloaded 25 goal season and I'll be pretty damn happy, Keith.

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