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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 7:53 am 
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When coach Ken Hitchcock looked at the schedule his St. Louis Blues faced to start the season, he just was hoping for the best.

The Blues had to open with back-to-back Central Division games in Chicago and at home against Minnesota before hosting the New York Rangers on Saturday night.

"This is a hellacious start to the season," Hitchcock said. "I think we understand how critical the start to the season is and how important your competitive level in your first 10 games at home matters. You get behind the eight ball and don't have a winning record at home early, you're not going to be able to catch up.

"We knew we were opening up with three games in four nights against really tough teams. The Rangers are a heck of a team. We knew we had to get points in at least two of these games."

St. Louis took care of that goal with a 5-2 win in Chicago and a 3-2 victory Thursday night over the Wild, which featured a goal and an assist from right winger Nail Yakupov, acquired in a trade from Edmonton just five days before the season opened.

It's the first time the Blues have begun the season with consecutive wins since they opened the year 4-0 in 2013-14.

Yakupov, the first overall pick in the 2012 draft who had not played up to those lofty expectations with the Oilers, is hoping to make more contributions to his new team as he settles in to his new surroundings.

"This organization got you for some reason, right?" said Yakupov, who had only eight games out of the 250 he played for Edmonton in which he registered both a goal and an assist. "They didn't just take you for luck or something.

"I know this is a good team. I haven't been on a team all my life that was a really good team. This is a great opportunity to grow your game and grow as a person. When you are moving even from house to house you have to get used to your new house, but I'm happy."

The Rangers come into Saturday's game off a season-opening 5-3 win at home over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

Their lineup featured seven new players, and five of them recorded at least one point in the victory.

"A lot of guys played with a lot of jump," said goalie Henrik Lundqvist. "There was a great energy in the room. We had a stretch in the third where obviously we just have to manage the puck a little bit better with odd man rushes.

"That's how you get hurt in this league. That's how we got hurt a little bit last year. If we just clean that up, we are in good shape."

After number one goalie Jake Allen won the first two games for the Blues, Hitchcock said backup Carter Hutton, who signed as a free agent over the summer, will start against New York.

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Blues • The Blues, 2-0, have started a season 3-0 just three times: 1969-70, 1993-94, 2013-14. … The Blues lost both games with the Rangers last season, 6-3 in New York and 2-1 at Scottrade. The Rangers were one of three teams the Blues didn’t get a point against; the Flyers and Maple Leafs are the others. … Carter Hutton starts in goal for the Blues. Hutton is 1-0 in his career against the Rangers.

Rangers • The Rangers opened their season Thursday with a 5-3 win at home against the New York Islanders. Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves and the Rangers broke a 2-2 tie with three straight goals in the third period for the win. … The Rangers, who were third in the Metropolitan Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference with 101 points last season, were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by eventual champion Pittsburgh.

Injuries • Blues — LW Jaden Schwartz (elbow), out. Rangers – D Kevin Klein (back) and C Josh Jooris (groin), day to day.;C Oscar Lindberg (hip), out.

Thursday night was the first time Henrik Lundqvist beat Jaroslav Halak in a head-to-head matchup in 11 tries. Including World Cup and World Championship play, he was 0-10-0 vs Halak.



This day in History:
1935 NHL's St Louis Eagles fold.
1964 St Louis Cardinals beat NY Yankees, 4 games to 3 in 61st World Series (New York SUCKS!!!)
1989 Wayne Gretzky passes Gordie Howe as NHL's all time top scorer

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 11:27 am 
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Frank the Rangers!

Blues 6 Rags 0

Yak and Steen with a pair each, Parayko, Reaves

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 1:27 pm 
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After coach Ken Hitchcock called him one of the best players during training camp, goalie Carter Hutton will make his regular-season debut for the St. Louis Blues on Saturday against the New York Rangers.

Hutton, signed to a two-year, $2.25 million free agent contract on July 1 to back up starter Jake Allen, will get his first start for the Blues, who will try to begin the season with three straight wins for the fourth time in franchise history. St. Louis also started 3-0-0 in 1969-70, 1993-94 and 2013-14.

"Obviously excited, what a crowd [Thursday] night, what a fun win and obviously a big one to start in Chicago," Hutton said. "I'm just excited to get in there and looking forward to it.

"... You can get into every little detail but sometimes less is more in my world and just excited to get in there and play. Control what I can and play my game."

Playing three games in four nights almost always means a team will use each of its goaltenders.

But Hitchcock wants to reward Hutton, even though he had the option of going back to Allen, who faced a total of 40 shots in wins against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday and the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.

"We made the decision with the three games that we're playing, we wanted to take a look at guys and if we saw some chemistry, we'd lock in on it," Hitchcock said. "But also on Hutton, it's an early reward for a job well done in training camp. He did a great job during training camp; he was outstanding. And he's part of our team moving forward. We've got to get him in the action as quickly as possible."

Not that Hitchcock had any complaints with the play of his starter.

"[Allen] might not have had a lot of shots, but what he did have, he's had a lot of quality shots. He had three breakaways [Thursday], he had two the game before. He's had a lot of really high-quality scoring chances that he's turned back," he said. "I just think playing off back-to-back, three games in four nights under normal circumstances, if this was the middle of the season, we'd be playing Carter anyways, so why not start it up now."

The Rangers, coming off a season-opening 5-3 home victory against the New York Islanders, did not have a full morning skate. Defenseman Dylan McIlrath, a healthy scratch Thursday, and backup goalie Antti Raanta were the only players on the ice. The Rangers are not expected to make any lineup changes.

Left wing Chris Kreider and fourth-line center Brandon Pirri each had a goal and an assist in the opener, and center Mika Zibanejad had two assists in his Rangers debut.

"I think [Kreider] just came in here with the right attitude and he's playing to his strengths," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told the New York Daily News on Friday. "Obviously, that's being a power forward, using his speed when he has the puck and using his speed on the forecheck to create a turnover. Power forwards have to go to the tough areas, and we saw that [Thursday]. It was a good start for him and his line."


Rangers projected lineup

Jimmy Vesey -- Derek Stepan -- Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Pavel Buchnevich

J.T. Miller -- Kevin Hayes -- Rick Nash

Michael Grabner -- Brandon Pirri -- Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh -- Dan Girardi

Marc Staal -- Nick Holden

Brady Skjei -- Adam Clendening

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Josh Jooris, Dylan McIlrath

Injured: Oscar Lindberg (hip), Kevin Klein (back)


Blues projected lineup

Robby Fabbri -- Paul Stastny -- Alexander Steen

David Perron -- Jori Lehtera -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Magnus Paajarvi -- Patrik Berglund -- Nail Yakupov

Scottie Upshall -- Kyle Brodziak -- Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester -- Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Joel Edmundson -- Colton Parayko

Carter Hutton

Jake Allen

Scratched: Robert Bortuzzo, Ty Rattie, Dmitrij Jaskin

Injured: Jaden Schwartz (elbow)

Status report

Klein did not make the trip and is day-to-day. … The only lineup change for the Blues from Thursday is playing Hutton instead of Allen. Schwartz skated with the Blues for a second straight day but is still on the same recovery timeline of four weeks.

Who's hot

Stastny has four points in two games; Shattenkirk, Steen and Tarasenko each have three. ... The Blues were the last team Lundqvist defeated in his NHL career. He started 0-4-0 against St. Louis but has won three in a row since then. ... Nash has 46 points in 53 games against St. Louis.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:34 pm 
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My sponsee better make me proud tonight, tall order making his first Blues start against a team I despise.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:14 pm 
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Tarasenko!!! Blues lead 1-0! Nice speed on that breakaway! and great shot!!!

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:22 pm 
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The Blues are allowing The Rangers to play deep in their zone much too much. Good thing they're going on the power play now.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:26 pm 
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Nice save by Hutton on Graebner in close!

Also, a couple of nice shots on the PP by Perron.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:28 pm 
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Not a good PP by The Blues, but Perron got off a couple good shots.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:35 pm 
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Great glove save by Lundqvist on Tarasenko's high corner shot!

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:38 pm 
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Good kill by The Blues 0 SOG!

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:43 pm 
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Stastny knocks in touch pass by Steen!!! 2-1 Blues!!!

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:46 pm 
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Nice drive and shot by Fabbri!

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:48 pm 
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Great 1st Period, end-to-end action! Hitch wasn't lying when he said that The Blues would play a faster game! I LIKE it!

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:49 pm 
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Hi Robb_K. Yes, we are all in Chatzy. :)

Gotta get some more o-zone time to keep the Rangers out of the Blues end.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 7:12 pm 
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Pietrangelo!!! Beautiful snapper all alone in front. Great pass by Stastny!!! 3-1 Blues!!

But The Rangers score right after.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 7:23 pm 
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Blues on The PP again! Let's score!

Yakupov gets PP time!

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 7:25 pm 
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Not a good PP - no shots.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 8:09 pm 
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This is very dangerous, playing to conserve energy because 4 players are out of the game. It's a miracle that The Rangers haven't tied it up yet.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 8:12 pm 
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The Blues were saved by The Rangers' too many men penalty. The Blues really need to score on it. But won't. But, Hutton makes a super save to preserve the lead.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 8:17 pm 
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The Blues are up against it, on the PK while shorthanded from 3 in-game injuries.

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