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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:26 am 
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BLUES (52-18-7) AT BLACKHAWKS (44-19-15)

TV: NBC, TSN2

Last 10: St. Louis 6-4-0; Chicago 5-4-1

Blue Notes: The Blues are 4-0-1 in their last five games against the Blackhawks. The Blues have won two of the last three at United Center. The Blues have faced the Blackhawks more than any other team in history. Today's meeting will be No. 291. Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester each have four assists in their last four games vs. Chicago. David Backes and Patrik Berglund each have two goals and two assists in their last five against the Blackhawks.

Season series: The St. Louis Blues won the first three games in the season series against the Chicago Blackhawks, all one-goal games and in shootouts. The Blackhawks won 4-0 in the most-recent game on March 19 at United Center.

Big story: Despite a 4-0 loss at home against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, St. Louis (111 points) is two points back of the Boston Bruins in the chase for the Presidents' Trophy. The Blues have two games in hand on the Bruins.

Chicago is hoping to catch Colorado for second in the Central Division and is looking to beat the rival Blues for the second time in as many games.

Team Scope:

Blues: St. Louis has scored two or less goals in seven of the past 10 games and was shut out twice in that span, including 4-0 Saturday at Scottrade Center by the Avalanche.

That game featured a slew of penalties in the third period, when Colorado's victory was all but assured. The Blues will need to show more discipline in the postseason and hope to get things rolling again prior to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We were more individuals [against Colorado] and that's not going to win you games," Blues defenseman Barret Jackman said. "We're not playing our best hockey, but it's something we can turn around [Sunday] in Chicago. I'm sure we'll talk about it [Saturday night] when we land and get things back on the right page."

Goaltender Brian Elliott will get the start for the Blues on Sunday.

Blackhawks: So far, so good in Chicago without elite forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, who are injured and out until the playoffs. Since Toews joined Kane on the sidelines, the Blackhawks have won back-to-back games at United Center against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday and Friday at the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Colorado's victory in St. Louis again put the Blackhawks three points back of the Avalanche for second in the Central, which provides home-ice advantage in the Western Conference's First Round. The Blackhawks have four games left and Colorado has five, so every point is critical.

"That'd be nice [to get home ice]," forward Ben Smith said. "The other goal is to be playing our best hockey as we move into the playoffs. Every win is big. Every point is big. Four games left now. We're excited for this week here, this push, and hopefully we'll be playing our best hockey going into the playoffs."

Who's hot: St. Louis center David Backes has four goals and three assists in his past seven games. ... Smith has scored goals in his past two games for Chicago, including the game-winner at the Blue Jackets with less than four seconds left in regulation.

Injury report: Jackman (lower body) returned Saturday against the Avalanche, but forward Alexander Steen (upper body) will not play Sunday. Forward Vladimir Tarasenko (hand) is also out. ... Chicago is playing without Toews (upper body) and Kane (lower body) for the rest of the regular season. Defenseman Johnny Oduya (lower body) has missed two straight games, but defenseman Michal Rozsival (lower body) returned Friday at Columbus. Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin is sidelined for the rest of the season after rotator cuff shoulder surgery.

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Last edited by dmiles2186 on Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:56 am 
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Time to open a can of woop ass on these jabronis today, they need to know there roles.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:08 am 
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I'm starting to get a little worried about our lack of offense and think Tarasenko being out is the cause. Hopefully we bust out today though. I'd like to get on a little role headed into the playoffs.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:08 am 
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cardsfan04 wrote:
I'm starting to get a little worried about our lack of offense and think Tarasenko being out is the cause. Hopefully we bust out today though. I'd like to get on a little role headed into the playoffs.

I'm bothered by this all season, but especially recently. We hadn't been shut out all year and then the last month we have had some really poor showings against teams we need to beat. If this is another 4-0 drubbing I'm going to start to get really worried.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:21 am 
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How ironic is it Elliot has been playing better than Miller?

I was hoping Elliot would get the shutout last game, which he almost did, and tie him with Halak for the most shutouts on the Blues team. What does that say when Elliot, in the small number of games he's played for us, to get the most shutouts for us when Cujo isn't even on the top 10 shared with Halak? And we thought our goaltending was ever a problem?

I would start Elliot in the playoffs. If Elliot does perform poorly, we always have Miller to fall back on who may be able to prove his worth in the playoffs. It's a win/win situation.

Now, after this season, we are letting Elliot go, just when he's starting to perform well for us while our #1 isn't. If we re-sign Miller, and ends up playing poorly for us next season (ala Lalime) we would have lost all our goaltending prospects. Meanwhile Elliot will be shining as the number #1 on another team.

And Ott hasn't been exactly performing any more than Stewart did. A't this point, I'd cut our losses with this trade, let Miller go, re-sign Elliot, and bring up Allan as the backup.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:17 pm 
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xbleed83bluex wrote:
How ironic is it Elliot has been playing better than Miller?

I was hoping Elliot would get the shutout last game, which he almost did, and tie him with Halak for the most shutouts on the Blues team. What does that say when Elliot, in the small number of games he's played for us, to get the most shutouts for us when Cujo isn't even on the top 10 shared with Halak? And we thought our goaltending was ever a problem?

I would start Elliot in the playoffs. If Elliot does perform poorly, we always have Miller to fall back on who may be able to prove his worth in the playoffs. It's a win/win situation.

Now, after this season, we are letting Elliot go, just when he's starting to perform well for us while our #1 isn't. If we re-sign Miller, and ends up playing poorly for us next season (ala Lalime) we would have lost all our goaltending prospects. Meanwhile Elliot will be shining as the number #1 on another team.

And Ott hasn't been exactly performing any more than Stewart did. A't this point, I'd cut our losses with this trade, let Miller go, re-sign Elliot, and bring up Allan as the backup.



Miller WILL NOT RESIGN if the backup starts in the playoffs... and when did we trade Jake Allen?

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:19 pm 
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This game sucks thus far

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:53 pm 
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I am less than content with this.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:03 pm 
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Blues 2
Hawks 3
Stick 1
Shit 100%

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:09 pm 
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Well... I'll venture to state the obvious... this isn't good. Gave up 8 goals in two games while only scoring two ourselves. We haven't been lighting teams up by any stretch this year but now is NOT the time to be falling flat in the offensive department. And it's impossible for the Blues to win when it gets to be a shoot-out during the game on who can pile up the most goals. They better get going and get some pucks to start dropping and for it to happen fast. I know the Hawks had a few bounces but jeeze. I'm so damn sick of losing to the Blackhawks.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:12 pm 
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Wow. Just wow. This is solidifying the whole "Finals or Bust" thing. If this ends in an early-season flameout, I don't see any way that there aren't major, major changes, starting with Hitch. It might go past Hitch if there's an early-season flameout AND Miller goes elsewhere in the offseason. I'm starting to get worried.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:59 pm 
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I've been worried for most of the season that this team does not have another gear. The last few games are really showing that. Our forwards are not nearly as deep as we like to think.

I am not hopeful for a deep run right now.

The last two days have been a disaster.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:01 pm 
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I can't say I have much confidence in the team right now. The lack of scoring and seeming inability to play a solid 60 minute hockey game against anybody bode poorly for a long playoff run.

Spending alot of resources to upgrade our goaltending "5%" and add "grit" seemed like the wrong focus at the deadline and seems even more so now. Sure I feel more confident with Miller in goal than Halak, but scoring is a big problem. Bernie M did a nice piece last week on the drop off from pre Tank injury to post Tank injury being over a goal a game. I don't think its just do to Tank being hurt. Steen has been injured alot as well and has not been the same since the concussion (was just getting back to form it seemed when the latest injury got him). And swapping out streaky Stewart for Ott hasn't helped either.

Steve Ott sucks. No nice way to put that. Only goal he's 'scored' in a Blues uniform was for the Aves.

I'd set the over under on playoff wins for this team at 4.5 (I'd be tempted to make it 3.5, but lets be "optomistic")

I'd give us a 40% chance of playing the Wild in the first round
35% chance of playing the Stars
15% chance of playing the Yotes
and 10% chance of playing the Hawks


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:06 pm 
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I've spent most of this season being fairly optimistic and even-keel about this team, but, as I mentioned in the chat today, it's hard not to notice how this team has changed over the course of the season. We were on fire early on. Not only were we racking up wins, but we were doing so in dominating fashion. Right around January we tapered off. Ok, that's bound to happen. However, I haven't seen that truly dominant team since then. We've been getting wins still, but they haven't felt the same. Far more close, 1 goal games. Frankly, we've played fairly average compared to early on; I haven't seen many extended stretches of really great play or downright awful play. We've just been sort of "good enough".

I still don't know what to think, but I agree, the warm fuzzies have been replaced with some real concern. This is still a good team, but let's face it: we're Blues fans. We are more than well aware of this team's track record during the course of it's existence, so it's not unheard of for us to be overly sensitive to what we're seeing. Especially at this time of the season. When I see comments like, "they aren't trying", "they don't seem to care", "someone needs to motivate them", that's alarming to me. If you're playing on a team that has never won a championship and you're in the spot they are, it shouldn't take a whole lot to be motivated. It shouldn't take anything. You're in what should be a self-motivating situation. If you "aren't trying" or "not caring" right now, you have no business being on this team.

All I know is it felt like we had something special here this season. There's still time to turn it around and get some momentum with these last few games, but it better happen quick. That's just truth. I'm not being a doubter, I'm not being a chicken little. Anyone with eyes and a heart for this team can see it. Hopefully the players do too. If they can get on a run, anything can happen, but if we stumble into the playoffs that's going to make things exponentially harder for us. That extra gear was there once. Can they get it back again in time?

I sure hope so...

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:12 pm 
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I really think the Blues' tactics are doing them in. They exit their own zone the same way, regardless of what the opposition is doing. They also enter the opponents' zone the same way, regardless of what the opposition is doing. And they do the same old shit in the offensive zone, no matter what the opposition is doing. And the Blues are not fast enough to compensate for the lack of their coach's creativity.

To sum it up, they are a slow one-track team. Defense was their bedrock and it's falling apart a bit right now, which is concerning.

Sigh.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:16 pm 
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This teams other gear is called Vlad Tarasenko.

At the moment, I'm envisioning a first round flame out.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 4:36 pm 
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Like the rest, I'm concerned too. I've been riding the "we'll be fine" train all season, but it would be better to be heading into the playoffs on an uptick, not struggling to score.

A couple reasons I'm a little optimistic:

-It's really not that long of a drought. It's only been 5 games since we scored 5 in back to back games. It sucks that it's happening right now, but it's nothing crazy yet.
-I think we should win round 1 on talent alone. I'm really not afraid of any WC team. MAYBE Dallas, but I think we'll beat them in the playoffs.
-At that point, Tarasenko might (should?) be back, and I think losing him is the main cause of our issues.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 4:49 pm 
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xbleed83bluex wrote:
How ironic is it Elliot has been playing better than Miller?

I was hoping Elliot would get the shutout last game, which he almost did, and tie him with Halak for the most shutouts on the Blues team. What does that say when Elliot, in the small number of games he's played for us, to get the most shutouts for us when Cujo isn't even on the top 10 shared with Halak? And we thought our goaltending was ever a problem?

I would start Elliot in the playoffs. If Elliot does perform poorly, we always have Miller to fall back on who may be able to prove his worth in the playoffs. It's a win/win situation.

Now, after this season, we are letting Elliot go, just when he's starting to perform well for us while our #1 isn't. If we re-sign Miller, and ends up playing poorly for us next season (ala Lalime) we would have lost all our goaltending prospects. Meanwhile Elliot will be shining as the number #1 on another team.

And Ott hasn't been exactly performing any more than Stewart did. A't this point, I'd cut our losses with this trade, let Miller go, re-sign Elliot, and bring up Allan as the backup.


The shutout thing gets overplayed IMO. I mean, Elliott should be proud of his shutouts for sure. They're not irrelevant by any means. But, they are partly a product of the team in front of him and the era. So, I don't think it's fair to say, "everything is fine, Elliott has more shutouts than Cujo."

I would not start Elliott in the playoffs because he's not as good as Miller. Prior to today, I know that Elliott had only allowed 1 goal in nearly 3 games. But, he's not as good and doesn't give as as good of a chance to win as Miller.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 5:24 pm 
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Like everyone else, I love Vlad but I miss Steen more. Before the March 29th 2-4 loss to Dallas (20 had two goals), they had scored 5 in consecutive games. Steen's line mates had hat tricks. He got banged up in Miller's shutout and they've sucked since. Now we will lose in the first round. Forget the Prez Trophy, the Blues suck so bad right now that the Avs will catch them, and Chicago looms in Round 1.

I couldn't give two bowel movements about facing the Hawks in the first round, or home ice. I'd like to know what's wrong with Steen. I'm assuming a concussion since mum's the word. I'll also assume mum's the word because it's serious and they're worried if we knew that, we won't lap up the playoff tickets. If he's fine, I'm fine with reserving judgment for the playoff bracket. But right now, the butthurt is real.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 5:54 pm 
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Concussion crossed my mind too. Now that he's missed several in a row, I'm more concerned than I was before. But, it very easily could be nothing. I doubt they are keeping quiet for ticket sales. Pretty sure they did really well selling playoff tix. I was curious after last year and didn't see many available seats on Ticketmaster when I looked yesterday.

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