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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:44 am 
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With 10 games remaining in the regular season and a favorable schedule, the St. Louis Blues are in an enviable position among the teams chasing the final playoff berths in the Western Conference.

They also know they can't take anything for granted, beginning with their Thursday night game against the Vancouver Canucks.

The Blues (39-28-5) currently are tied with Nashville (36-25-11) for the third spot in the Central Division and own the tiebreaker over the Predators, who will play in St. Louis on April 2.

That is one of only two games left on the Blues' schedule against an opponent in the hunt for a playoff spot.

St. Louis also will play the Calgary Flames, but its other eight games following the matchup against the Canucks include two each versus Arizona and Colorado and games against Winnipeg, Florida and Carolina.

A 4-2 win in Colorado on Tuesday night completed a 4-1 road trip for the Blues and extended their current hot stretch to eight wins in their last nine games.

"I think we were all a little tired from this whole trip," goalie Jake Allen said. "It's been a long trip and we are all ready to go home, but to find a way to get two points was huge. I wanted to give us a chance to win and I thought I did that. I thought I played well and our guys responded."

The Blues overcame the loss of center Paul Stastny, who missed the final two periods because of an injured foot. Stastny was listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury on Wednesday.

Two players who could play key roles down the stretch for St. Louis are forwards Jaden Schwartz and Zach Sanford, who was acquired in the February trade that sent Kevin Shattenkirk to Washington.

Sanford had two assists against the Avalanche in his third game with the Blues.

"Every game he's gaining confidence from us as a coaching staff and he's showing he's a responsible player," coach Mike Yeo said.

Yeo also was pleased that Schwartz finally scored a goal after going 15 consecutive games without one, and hopes that will be a breakthrough for Schwartz.

"It's almost impossible to play as well as he has and not score goals," Yeo said. "We told him that first one was going to come around that blue paint and it was good for him to get that monkey off his back."

The Canucks have won only one of their last seven games but it came on Tuesday night in Chicago, a 5-4 victory in overtime that snapped a six-game losing streak. Vancouver had a 4-1 lead in the third period before the Blackhawks rallied to send the game to overtime.

"Every guy in here has battled hard and had got nothing to show for it," said Canucks forward Daniel Sedin, who scored the winning goal on a power play. "It's nice to get rewarded with a win."

Vancouver (29-34-9) is off to a 1-1-0 start to a five-game road trip.
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Blues • The Blues have split their two meetings with Vancouver so far, losing early in the season in overtime on the road and winning 4-3 at Scottrade on Feb. 16. … On the Blues’ five-game trip, D Alex Pietrangelo had one goal, three assists and was plus 6. Vladimir Tarasenko has 30 assists, making him the seventh player in the league with 30 goals and 30 assists this season.

Canucks • Vancouver snapped a six-game losing streak on Tuesday (0-4-2) with an overtime win at Chicago. It was only their fourth win since Valentine’s Day, a span that included several players being out with the mumps. … The Canucks are 29th in goals per game (ahead of only Colorado), 28th on the power play, 27th in penalty kill. … G Ryan Miller (2.78 GAA, .915 save percentage) leads goalies with 22 penalty minutes. … C Bo Horvat leads the Canucks in goals (20) and points (47).

Injuries • Blues – F Paul Stastny (lower body), F Robby Fabbri (knee), F Jori Lehtera (head) and F Dmitrij Jaskin (upper body) are out. Canucks – F Markus Granlund (wrist), F Brendan Gaunce (hand), F Loui Eriksson (knee), F Anton Robin (knee), D Erik Gudbranson (knee) and F Derek Dorsett (shoulder) are out. F Nikolay Goldobin (flu) is doubtful; G Jacob Markstrom (food poisoning) is day to day.


This day in history:
1944 In the second Stanley Cup Playoff game of his career, Maurice Richard scores all five goals in Canadiens 5-1 victory over Maple Leafs and becomes first NHL player to be named all 3 stars of the game.
1993 Teemu Selanne scores two goals and has an assist in 5-4 loss to Maple Leafs setting an NHL record for most points in a season by a rookie with 111
1994 Wayne Gretzky sets NHL record with 802 goals scored
2013 Jaroslav Halak ties Glenn Hall with his 16th Blues shutout
2014 Brian Elliott ties Glenn Hall with his 16th Blues shutout

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:33 am 
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Not much really to say about this one. Vancouver is not exactly a marquee matchup this season, but we still need to get all the points we can. I'd like it if we were far enough ahead of Nashville that by the time we play them on 2 Apr, they can't catch us in the standings.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:48 am 
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I'm pretty interested to see how Sanford works with Berglund and Perron over the game. I haven't been able to watch since we got him.

I know Jaskin is hurt, but it's just like forfeiting matchups any time Magnus and Yak are on a line together

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:34 pm 
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I'm pretty mad at the Canucks right now. They had the nerve to go into Chicago and beat the Blackhawks, chasing Crawford in the process, during a night where I picked a bunch of Blackhawks (including Crawford)to destroy them. Vegas had the Hawks at a -270 and the friggen Canucks won. :evil:

Kill them.

Wipe the ice with them.

Blues 5
Canucks 1

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:11 pm 
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Forwards

Jaden Schwartz - Alexander Steen - Vladimir Tarasenko
Zach Sanford - Patrik Berglund - David Perron
Magnus Paajarvi - Ivan Barbashev - Nail Yakupov
Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves

Defense

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo
Joel Edmundson - Colton Parayko
Carl Gunnarsson - Robert Bortuzzo

Goalie

Jake Allen


thekortehaus wrote:
I'm pretty interested to see how Sanford works with Berglund and Perron over the game. I haven't been able to watch since we got him.

I know Jaskin is hurt, but it's just like forfeiting matchups any time Magnus and Yak are on a line together


Berglund may have said it jokingly during his post-game interview on Tuesday, but Sanford does have "filthy mitts." He doesn't ice the puck, at least he hasn't in his 4 games played with the Blues. Gets open in what look like dirty areas where there don't seem to be openings. He seemingly knows if and where someone is open when he has a chance to pass the puck for scoring chances. Great hockey sense in terms of making the guys on his line better - which is what all the prospect reports say he's always done. And outstanding fundamentals - when to keep the puck, when to get it deep, when to get off the ice, when to pass, when to shoot, plus having "filthy mitts". The only negative is seemingly size with him looking gangly, but appearance is not the reality. He's 6'4 202 which is pretty close to the 2010 average size of forwards - 6'1 202.4. Not everyone David Backes size plays at David Backes weight. The cure to make that appearance thing go away - more playing time.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:18 pm 
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Sanford seems like the real deal. Don't know what went wrong in Washington, I guess being shoved down to low line duty. But I'm down with what he seems to bring to the table. I'd like to see him with Tarasenko and see what kind of magic they can pull off.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:30 pm 
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glen a richter wrote:
Sanford seems like the real deal. Don't know what went wrong in Washington, I guess being shoved down to low line duty. But I'm down with what he seems to bring to the table. I'd like to see him with Tarasenko and see what kind of magic they can pull off.


Since Sanford is a natural center and plays more like Stastny than anyone else on the team, I would have liked to see them slide him into Stastny's spot, keep the 2nd and 4th lines the way they were and basically write off that 3rd line with the uncreative Paajarvi and Yakupov - which isn't really fair to Barbashev, but...injuries happen.

The issue with playing Steen as the center on that top line, he is atrocious on faceoffs - 35.5% which is going to impact the Blues offensive chances as long as he's the center. I would bet before this game is over Schwartz (47.1%) winds up taking most of the offensive zone draws with Steen taking neutral and defensive zone draws.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:16 pm 
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Great kill!!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:41 pm 
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Paajarvi knocks his own rebound in!!! His 7th!! Blues tie it at 1!!! Let's keep him for next year!!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:08 pm 
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Berglund has turned himself into a 1st class forechecker. He actually makes opposing defencemen nervous now! :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:37 pm 
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Brodziak!!! Top shelf!!! Goal scorer's goal!!! Secondary scoring gives the lead!!! Blues lead 2-1!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:53 pm 
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Good 2nd Period for The Blues. Schwartz, Berglund, Parayko, and The 3rd and 4th Lines have all played very well. The Blues are winning by playing a physical game. Win it going away in The 3rd!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:06 pm 
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Another good kill!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:13 pm 
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Good save by Allen!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:18 pm 
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Super pass by Berglund backhand to Paajarvi, who buries it!!! I hope the Blues were not offside. If okay, Blues lead 3-1. But, it looked offside. :x

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:21 pm 
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Got to protect Paajarvi over Reaves. The guy figured out how to score!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:39 pm 
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Pietrangelo seals it with the empty-netter after a super blind feed by Schwartz!!! Blues hold onto 3rd Place!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:46 pm 
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Paajarvi/Barbashev/Schwartz all played very well.
Parayko dominated in all zones, Berglund was excellent in all zones, Brodziak played well. Allen played very well, too. A great team effort, for an undermanned team.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 2:42 am 
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They need a real center on Tarasenko's line to keep that line effective. Steen is not the answer with Stastny out. While the bottom 3 lines were good in this, the top line was very limited in their opportunities. Steen had 0 shots on goal and was 3 for 8 on faceoffs. Brandon Sutter owned Steen in this game. Schwartz was 4 for 6 (5 were in the 3rd period when Yeo finally had Steen stop taking faceoffs). Steen only had 4 3rd period draws with 1 being on the PK and the other after an icing. Their line was held to 1 shot in the 1st period. If Stastny isn't available in the playoffs, that type of result from the top line isn't going to get it done. For pete's sake, just play a natural center on that line. It's not like the Blues don't have one on the roster in either Barbashev or Sanford. What's it going to take for that to happen? This is almost as ridiculous as when they kept going back to Lehtera. Of Blues players who have taken at least 100 faceoffs, Steen is the worst on the team and you want him to be the center getting things started with your best scoring player on the ice? How does that make any sense?? With Steen and Schwartz taking a combined 14 face-offs, it was pretty darn clear Yeo was trying to avoid having that line take draws at all. Berglund and Brodziak had 18 and 17, respectively. When your 4th line is on the ice for more faceoffs than your top line, you are doing something wrong. Just to point out the disparity, with Stastny this line is on the ice for 20+ faceoffs per night.

Why bring up this negative after a home win? Well, it's the friggin' Canucks who aren't in the playoffs and our top line didn't really do squat against them actually being almost completely kept off the score sheet (1 shot on goal, losing all the faceoffs) for an entire period. And this is with the Blues having last change.

So what happens in a playoff situation against deeper teams when the bottom 2 lines are shut down, the top line is doing nothing, and the top line keeps giving up the puck to the opponent on faceoffs? Are Berglund-Perron-Winger X going to win the game??

It is interesting to note Paajarvi only played 10:34 and still had that excellent game to the point his play stood out. Barbashev did also in his limited time.

This was probably the weakest game I've seen Sanford play with the Blues. He shied away from contact way too often early in the game and was reaching to try to get pucks, instead of taking the body to force play - the way Paajarvi did to earn that goal.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 4:46 am 
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You can't spell Magnus Paajarvi without an M, a V and a P.

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