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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:09 am 
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ST. LOUIS -- At least two of the players on the St. Louis Blues claim they did not know the team has gone 15-5-1 to begin this season.

The Blues will carry that record, the best in the Western Conference, into Tuesday night's game against the Edmonton Oilers -- and even coach Mike Yeo has tried to downplay the team's spot atop the standings.

"I try not to pay attention to it either," Yeo told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "You know, we talk about staying in the process through the game and it's the same way for the season. If we just keep showing up to the rink and making sure that we're prepared to play and playing good hockey, then we'll like where we're at at the end of the year."

Defenseman Joel Edmundson and center Paul Stastny told the newspaper after the team's 4-3 overtime win Saturday night in Vancouver they were not aware of the team's record through the first quarter of the season.

"We just go out and play," Edmundson said. "It doesn't really matter to us. We worry about one day at a time. Worry about that game. Standings will take care of themselves."

The Blues went 2-1-0 on their swing to western Canada, including a 4-1 win against the Oilers in Edmonton last Thursday. The Oilers also lost 6-3 on Saturday in Dallas and will be playing their second game on a five-game trip.

The early-season success for the Blues has come despite the absence of some key players, including defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who has not played because of a broken ankle suffered in the preseason. He was activated from injured reserve on Monday and is expected to make his season debut on Tuesday night.

Forward Patrik Berglund, who underwent shoulder surgery in the summer, also is practicing and could be back in the lineup in a couple weeks.

The Oilers are at the other end of the standings from the Blues with just four regulation wins and 16 points through 20 games, which ranks next to last in the Western Confernce.

The team's biggest problem has been letting in too many goals -- 64, the third most in the conference -- and their minus-14 goal differential is the second worst in the conference.

"The goalies have to be better, the defense, the forwards, the coaches have to be better," coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Sun. "None of us have lived up to where we need to be and that's why we're where we are in the standings. "I'm not going to single out the goaltender. It's team-wide."

Goalie Cam Talbot, who has started 18 of the first 20 games, knows his performance has to be better for the Oilers to be successful.

"Maybe I don't have to steal games, but I have to give us a chance to win," Talbot told the Sun. "The difference this year and last is my consistency. I've had some good games but others I want back and I have to eliminate those ones."


About that bold, underlined part: note to Todd McLellan - quit putting your top players on the ice while at home against the top players on the other team and you might have more success. He had last change and kept putting the McDavid line out against the SST line. When they played Pittsburgh recently, he kept putting the McDavid line out vs the Crosby line. While this kind of stuff plays great to the media and some fans, it is not what coaches should be doing to win games. And the idiotic Canadian mediots aren't talking about the elephant in the room for the Oilers - who are their true top tier defenseman? Instead, the Canadian mediots keep talking about the Oilers trying to acquire forward help. Seriously???

Oilers D - Larsson, Klefbom, Russell, Nurse, Gryba, Benning, and Auvitu. The bottom three would still be playing in the AHL for most teams. Klefbom is supposed to be one of their top 2 and he's -10.

On that lining up the right players, in case anyone is paying attention, Yeo keeps starting the Blues 2nd line when at home if the other team puts out their top line. Steen, Stastny, and Sobotka are all very solid defensively.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:50 am 
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It will be interesting to see how Bouwmeester's return affects the team's gameplay. We dog on the Slowmeester, but I think we're still better with him than without him.

Of course, I may have to reevaluate that statement after a game or two...

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:39 am 
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I hope they sit Gunnarson and not Dunn. Of course, they will probably sit Bortuzzo, instead, and make someone play their off-side. If they make Gunnarson play his off-side, that pairing is going to have a hard time.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:02 pm 
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I initially hoped they'd sit Bortuzzo, but you bring up a very important point, Theo.

I think Gunnarsson isn't very long for this team anyway, when all are healthy and back in the flow. He'll be traded for something at the deadline, maybe part of a package. Something has to give to make room for Walman and/or Schmaltz down the line. Interestingly enough, Schmaltz is doing very well in San Antonio and Walman is doing poorly in Chicago--kind of the opposite of what I was expecting. I guess the systems may have a lot to do with that.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:15 pm 
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I will only become a believer in Schmaltz when he can actually win puck battles in his own end at the NHL level. He was awful in that regard in his short stint last season and both instances I saw him play in the preseason.

Given the ages of Pietrangelo, Edmundson, Parayko, and Dunn... some of these D prospects might just become trade tools. Schmaltz is going to have a hard time cracking the lineup ahead of even an inexpensive veteran (like Bortuzzo) for that 3rd defensive pairing. Heck, he couldn't take Nate Prosser's spot. I know, that's more a matter of ensuring Schmaltz kept playing instead of riding the pine, but he couldn't beat out Bortuzzo, either.

With Gunnarson and Bouwmeester both under contract for next season - 1) someone is going to go and even if someone goes 2) they can let Walman take the time at the AHL level to adjust thanks to how well Dunn has performed.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 3:48 pm 
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Forwards
Jaden Schwartz - Brayden Schenn - Vladimir Tarasenko
Vladimir Sobotka - Paul Stastny - Alexander Steen
Dmitrij Jaskin - Oskar Sundqvist - Magnus Paajarvi
Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Chris Thorburn

Defense
Joel Edmundson - Alex Pietrangelo
Jay Bouwmeester - Colton Parayko
Vince Dunn - Robert Bortuzzo

Goalie
Jake Allen


Holy cow!! Common sense prevails!!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:17 pm 
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Tarasenko wrists it on off an Oiler's stock! Blues lead 1-0!!!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:25 pm 
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Jaskin with a wrister high right corner! Goal scorer's goal! 2-0 Blues!!!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:29 pm 
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Short leash on Talbot, let's get to the backup now!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:32 pm 
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How did The Blues not score on that flurry of good shots?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:49 pm 
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Good 1st Period. Blues took advantage of Oiler defensive lapses. I expect more of the same.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:52 pm 
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For what it's worth at the moment, Brayden Schenn, with his assist this evening, is now 8-19-27 and Jori Lehtera is presently 0-2-2.

Armstrong should be in consideration for GM of the year... Hextall should be in consideration for being fired.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:11 pm 
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Schwartz knocks in the rebound!!! Blues lead 3-0!!!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:18 pm 
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Blues were lucky with McDavid hitting the post. Allen comes way out to clear the puck himself, and the penalty is killed. Tarasenko stands up for his teammate and gers into a fight. THAT should elevate The Blues even more!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:26 pm 
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Jaskin hit the post while filling in for Tarasenko!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:28 pm 
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For the love of all that is sacred, someone shove a mute in that :cussing: trumpet. That thing is annoying.

:goblues:

The Oilers miss Sekera, but their forwards are absolutely awful at supporting in the d zone.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:34 pm 
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The Blues are just cruising around inside of The Oilers' zone not being touched at all. They can just wait for an easy shot, they always have a screen, and someone ready in front of the net. They could be ahead 10-0 already, if Paajarvi, Sundqvist, Thorburn, Jaskin, Upshall, Brodziak and Sobotka were better shooters.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:41 pm 
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Schwartz steals the puck behind the net and sends iy to Schenn skaying in, who buries it! Blues lead 4-0!!!

Another good period for The Blues!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:07 pm 
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Too bad Thorburn has no shot. Even Paajarvi, Sundqvist and Jaskin would have scored on that partial breakaway.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:08 pm 
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Wow, Edmonton looks... just bad. Can't that fan base ever catch a break?


Well, I guess there was that Gretzky guy a while back...

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