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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:27 am 
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TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs and the St. Louis Blues hope to shake off the rust and recent losses when they return from their mid-season vacations Tuesday night at the Air Canada Centre.

The Blues (26-17-3) lost three in a row before taking a six-day break in the schedule.

The Maple Leafs (25-17-3) lost two in a row before entering a five-day break.

"Any time you take time off, getting the motor running and getting skating again is not as easy as you may think," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said.

The Maple Leafs are 4-4-2 in their past 10 games.

"I think if I'm not mistaken last year's break came at a time when we were rolling, and we didn't really want to go away for a week," Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly said. "Right now, I think a little break might not be the worst thing."

The Blues, meanwhile, are 4-5-1 in their past 10 games. They started the season 13-3-1.

"I don't think there's anyone inside our locker room that that break wasn't good for," Blues coach Mike Yeo said.

The Blues defeated the Maple Leafs 6-4 on Nov. 4 in St. Louis.

Despite the Blues' recent struggles, they have had some good news. Left winger Jaden Schwartz skated Monday for the first time since he suffered a broken ankle on Dec. 9 in a game against the Detroit Red Wings.

Schwartz, who has 14 goals and 21 assists in 30 games, did not accompany the team to Toronto. He could return to action by the end of the month.

"Another positive," Yeo said. "I'm happy about that. We'll see how he's doing. We're happy to have him back."

The Blues are 6-9-1 without Schwartz and have not been scoring.

"We're on the light at the end of the tunnel with (Schwartz), but I think part of it (the scoring struggles) is sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "When you're not scoring, you push to score more. When you push to score more, you're worse defensively.

"We have to be comfortable again playing in low-scoring games. And I think we've lost our comfort level in that and we have to regain that. We have to play time-and-score to a higher efficiency. Every play doesn't have to be a home run. We have to just methodically go through and push games along and play to win."

The Blues recalled centers Ivan Barbashev and Tage Thompson and defenseman Vince Dunn from the American Hockey League, where they were assigned so they could continue to play during the break.

Barbashev and Dunn each had a goal and an assist for Chicago of the AHL and Thompson had a power-play goal for San Antonio.

"Those guys played well," Yeo said. "Those guys did their job, and we're happy to have them back. It's a good thing for them to keep playing."

Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs recalled defenseman Travis Dermott and center Frederik Gauthier, who spent the break with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.

Dermott, 21, made his NHL debut on Jan. 6 against the Vancouver Canucks and had an assist while making a good impression.

He has two goals and 16 assists in 28 games with the Marlies this season.

Gauthier, 22, has played in five games with the Maple Leafs this season. He has two goals and two assists in 33 career NHL games.

Maple Leafs defenseman Nikita Zaitsev is still out with a lower-body injury and Babcock said he had no time frame for his return.

"It's nice to kind of get a mental break from everything and come back re-energized," Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews said after practice on Monday.

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Last edited by theohall on Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:28 am 
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This Armstrong quote
Armstrong wrote:
We have to play time-and-score to a higher efficiency. Every play doesn't have to be a home run. We have to just methodically go through and push games along and play to win.


In other words, the wingers need to be responsible defensively.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:15 am 
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We have to just methodically go through and push games along and play to win.


I don't even know what this means.

I guess the good news is that after a week of not playing, we are still 3rd in the Division. The flip side of that is there is no room for error. Nashville is already 1 point ahead, and they've played four fewer games. Dallas is mathematically tied, Minnesota is only two points back, and Colorado (Colorado!) is only 4 points back with three games in hand, and riding a nice win streak as well.

It's safe to say any benefit of our quick start has now evaporated. But there are still 35 games left to be played, so a lot of hockey to go yet.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:16 am 
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gaijin wrote:
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We have to just methodically go through and push games along and play to win.


I don't even know what this means.

I guess the good news is that after a week of not playing, we are still 3rd in the Division. The flip side of that is there is no room for error. Nashville is already 1 point ahead, and they've played four fewer games. Dallas is mathematically tied, Minnesota is only two points back, and Colorado (Colorado!) is only 4 points back with three games in hand, and riding a nice win streak as well.

It's safe to say any benefit of our quick start has now evaporated. But there are still 35 games left to be played, so a lot of hockey to go yet.


Well that's why it's all the more important to start hot so that you can survive these negative dips without being out of the picture entirely.

Regardless, yea, we need some wins. Could be a desperate looking game tonight because both teams really need to get back to the right form.

Blues 3
Leafs 2

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:32 pm 
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For those not in St Louis area who watch via other means, tonight's game is NHL.TV free game.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:22 pm 
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For the love of all that's holy - put a 2nd defenseman on the first power play unit, please!!! A left-handed one, preferably....

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:27 pm 
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Quoting a different analyst - the most dangerous player offensively on the ice, is usually the guy skating the quickest.

So who is dangerous when all the Blues forwards are standing stationary at the offensive blue line waiting for the puck to go in the zone? This has happened way too often in this game.

Skate, for pete's sake. Don't wait, circle back or something so more than the defenseman carrying the puck over is entering the zone with some speed.

Watch a Lightning game some time and count how often you see 3 forwards standing at the offensive blue line waiting for the puck to enter the offensive zone. It almost never happens, outside of off-side face-offs.

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Last edited by theohall on Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:29 pm 
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I think our power play now has a negative rating.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:31 pm 
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Interesting that Yeo's rep was earned as a special teams coach. Seeing as the Blues don't have Malkin, Crosby, and those other guys on that team, it's probably not deserved.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:35 pm 
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Blues look pretty good most of the game, then give up a shorthanded goal.
Looks like the guys put on a little burst after that, but nothing to show for it.

Then they pull the goalie and finally score. Steen

The ice is pathetic. How can a Canadian rink have such shitty ice?

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:42 pm 
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DUNN.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:43 pm 
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Wow. Haven't seen the Blues tie the game in the last minute in a LONG time.

And Dunn scores in OT! That's (an unbelievable) 2 points!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:46 pm 
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Nice with a rookie, skill defenseman getting the game-winner!

Still want to know why Sobotka is ever on the ice in OT ahead of Tage Thompson, who hasn't sniffed one second of OT time.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:36 pm 
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Wow! Blues play like a winner! After being shut out all game long, scoring in the last minute to tie it up, and winning in OT!! I can't believe I slept through my alarm and missed it! Great game by Hutton. Great tip by Steen, and OT winner by Dunn! Glad he decided to shoot, instead of passing off, deferring to Stastny, instead of trusting in his own shot.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:17 am 
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I was thinking the same thing Gaijin mentioned. About 1:30 left in the 3rd the only thought running through my head was when was the last time these guys scored with the goalie pulled? 1995?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:34 am 
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Needed a game like this. My cable went out in the 2nd period, but came on with about 2 1/2 minutes to go. First thing I thought when we pulled Hutton was how winning that game could spur a winning streak. Hopefully the time off plus this kind of win makes that happen.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:48 am 
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cardsfan04 wrote:
First thing I thought when we pulled Hutton was how winning that game could spur a winning streak.


And it may help that the next three games are against Ottawa, Arizona, and Ottawa again...

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:59 am 
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gaijin wrote:
cardsfan04 wrote:
First thing I thought when we pulled Hutton was how winning that game could spur a winning streak.


And it may help that the next three games are against Ottawa, Arizona, and Ottawa again...


haha, I didn't realize that. But, that certainly doesn't hurt lol

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:55 am 
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FYI, based on all the pre-game talk on FSMW, Dunn wasn't supposed to play, but Bouwmeester couldn't go, so Dunn played. Do the Blues win this game with Bouwmeester, instead of Dunn? Question deserves to be considered.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:10 am 
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theohall wrote:
FYI, based on all the pre-game talk on FSMW, Dunn wasn't supposed to play, but Bouwmeester couldn't go, so Dunn played. Do the Blues win this game with Bouwmeester, instead of Dunn? Question deserves to be considered.


I vote no.

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