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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:30 am 
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ST. LOUIS -- There might not have been a team which needed the NHL's Christmas break more than the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues and Arizona Coyotes each played 38 games prior to Christmas, tied for the most in the league, and the Blues' heavy December schedule included 11 games in 19 days prior to the three-day break.

"We've had some injuries, we've had a lot of games, so we're physically and mentally a little drained," defenseman Joel Edmundson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "So three days to reboot the mind, and when we come back we'll be fresh and ready to go."

The Blues jump right back into the heart of the Central Division race on Wednesday night, hosting the Nashville Predators. The Blues lead the division by one point over Nashville, but the Predators have played three fewer games.

A 3-1 win in the last pre-Christmas game in Vancouver on Dec. 23 snapped a season-high three-game losing streak for the Blues, who were 6-5 during the 11-game stretch that began on Dec. 5.

"We needed a win. We didn't want to go into the break with three days off and losing six of the last seven games," Blues goalie Jake Allen told NHL.com. "If this would have been a loss, it would have been tough to go home, to be honest. It was a huge win for us to turn this ship around."

The three goals marked the first time in their last seven games the Blues scored more than two goals in a game.

"We're in one of those spells right now where we're having trouble scoring, but I think we know as a group, when it's going like that, we've got to tighten up defensively, give ourselves a chance to win and slowly we'll start building our confidence back," Blues forward Kyle Brodziak told NHL.com.

No player needs a confidence boost more than Vladimir Tarasenko, who has scored only three goals in last 16 games, one of which was into an empty-net and another which came on the power play. He has scored only one even-strength goal in regulation since Nov. 21.

The Predators come into Wednesday night's game having gone 0-2-1 record in their last three games before the break, including a shootout loss in Dallas on Dec. 23. Nashville played only seven games in the last 16 days before the break.

"The last three games, we didn't play the way we wanted, but we're a confident group," Predators' captain Roman Josi told NHL.com. "We're a pretty honest group, and I think everybody knows we can play a lot better. ... I'm sure everybody is going to come back hungry. We all know we have to be better, but we have to stay confident and come back positive with a lot of energy."

In the only game this season between the two teams, the Predators won 2-0 on Nov. 24 in St. Louis behind a 34-save effort from Pekka Rinne.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:52 am 
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A lot to consider going into this game- Blues had lost 5 of 6 six prior to the Vancouver game, never scoring more than two goals in that span. Even the third goal in Vancouver was an empty-netter. We knew goals would be harder to come by with the injuries we have, but our lineup still features some good scorers- they've just gone cold.

The win over Vancouver was a nice way to enter the Christmas break, but I have a bad feeling the monkey's not off our back just yet. We're going to have to get some good luck (good bounces on our part/bad game on Nashville's part) to be able to beat them. Maybe some of those hit posts can start going in. Maybe Tarasenko can find some open ice and get back on the scoresheet.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:01 pm 
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This one doesn't look like a win. The Preds are healthier, their D is just as active as the Blues, and being healthier, they currently have more forward depth. The Blues 3rd line will likely get eaten up in this one. And, if Tanks line isn't aggressive offensively and winds up playing more than half their shifts in the Blues end - which has happened a few times since Schwartz went out - the Blues likely will not win.

That's without even going into Rinne being in the Blues head before the game even starts - which one has to know he is given his record vs us the past two years.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:18 pm 
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Super diving save by Allen. Great PK by The Blues!

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:21 pm 
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The Blues have been dominating in The Preds' end. Thompson has been looking good!

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:27 pm 
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Steen had a good chance. Bortuzzo roughs it up with Hartnell! :D

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:33 pm 
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Paajarvi almost redirected it in and tied it up! If only................... :cussing:

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:39 pm 
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Tarasenko has a lot more jump in his legs and oomph in his shot. I think his slump has been more mental than a physical problem.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:46 pm 
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A decent 1st Period by The Blues. A shame they're behind by 1.
Good to see Thompson playing well, and Tarasenko energised!

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:05 pm 
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Blues need to score on this PP!

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:20 pm 
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Nice one-timer by Bortuzzo!

Allen makes 3 super saves to preserve the 1-goal deficit!

But The Blues go back on The PK.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:36 pm 
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That's very bad. I wasn't optimistic they could score 1 to even tie it. A 2-0 lead is tough against Rinne and this defence.

And Edmundson misses with 4/5 of the goal open!!!

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:24 pm 
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Brodziak blasts it in on a fine feed from Pietrangelo. Sobotka tipped it in. Blues within 1!

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:36 pm 
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Blues lose 2-1, wasting a great night by Allen, and fall 3 games behind Nashville.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:49 pm 
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Can we please please pretty please get Berglund and Paajarvi the heck out of there. Replace them with Blais and Barbie or whomever. Bergie's goals were nice but I'm so tired of a 230 lbs due play like he's 180. Paajarvi is just plain stupid. No brain.

/Rant over/

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:36 am 
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Earned a whopping total of 4 points over the last 8 games. We're lucky to still be in the Top 3 in the division.

Friday's game in Dallas just became much more meaningful.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:27 am 
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gaijin wrote:
Earned a whopping total of 4 points over the last 8 games. We're lucky to still be in the Top 3 in the division.

Friday's game in Dallas just became much more meaningful.


Ever since Schwartz went down, really.

This team was godd*mn machine prior to that.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:28 am 
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P.S. Hasn't their December schedule been stupid though? Don't remember exactly what it said but FSNMW flashed a statistic about the Blues schedule in December being brutal and I remember thinking that may have something to do with all of this.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:00 pm 
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WaukeeBlues wrote:
P.S. Hasn't their December schedule been stupid though? Don't remember exactly what it said but FSNMW flashed a statistic about the Blues schedule in December being brutal and I remember thinking that may have something to do with all of this.


Absolutely. Even with a healthy Schwartz (so to speak), it's unlikely we would have been able to continue that torrid pace through this month. The latest rash of injuries just happened to coincide with an absolutely brutal schedule. That, combined with every forward going cold at the same time, and we're looking at normal Blues hockey.
:grin:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:05 pm 
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This was another frustrating game. The Blues outplayed the Predators the majority of the game, outside of the super crappy line, and couldn't beat Rinne more than once. Couple posts, missed open net, Rinne making some really strong saves late = difference in the game. Of course, Tim Peel deciding that holding is legal didn't help either.

One coaching decision early in the 3rd really bugged me. The Blues had the Predators hemmed in their own end, the Predators were worn out, and the Predators iced the puck. Panger, rightly says, thanks to that icing Yeo can put out whomever he wants to take advantage of this tired group. What dynamic trio does Yeo put on the ice to take advantage? Sundqvist (3 A in 28 games, 0 points since November 21st), Paajarvi (2G 2A in 34 games, 1 assist in the last 19 games), and Sobotka. When did Sobotka get that deflection goal in the 3rd? Not with those two pud-lickers on the ice. Playing those two 5-on-5 is a waste of time and wasting opportunity. I get that Paajarvi is a good penalty-killer, but he is NOT a good 5-on-5 player. And Sundqvist - he was awful last night. For a center, he seemingly has zero situational awareness.

For the love of god, let Blais get healthy and put Sundvist or Paajarvi, preferably both, in the press box. I'd rather see Megan get the opportunity repeatedly being given to Sundqvist. Megan does EVERYTHING (PP, PK, 5-on-5, key faceoffs offensive and defensive, etc) at the AHL level, but our current coach seems to think being big (Sundqvist) is more important than having skills and awareness. How he handled younger players in Minnesota over bigger veterans, regardless of skill, is creeping into this roster.

I don't give a crap how well they practice. Game results are what matters.

I wouldn't be surprised if they send Thompson back down when Blais comes back, even though that would be a HUGE mistake given how well Thompson is playing - and he was doing that against a BIG Nashville team - the kind of team he supposedly wasn't strong enough/too small to play against.

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