So the team is intact after the trade deadline. Paul Stastny is still centering a scoring line, P.A. Parenteau is still delighting with goof grins, Ryan O`Reilly wasn't shown the door, and no new stud blueliners are looking for apartments in Downtown Denver. St. Louis, on the other hand, has welcomed Buffalo backstopper Ryan Miller and his new "I-just-got-traded-so-my-mask-is-plain-as-shit" gear setup. Hitching a ride was perennial sportsmanship poster boy and Lady Byng lock Steve Ott. Sent back to Buffalo Jaroslav Halak (who was flipped to Washington) and franchise cornerstone Chris Stewart.
Both teams played on on the road Thursday night; St. Louis in Smashville and Colorado in Dante's 8th Circle. So we won't see any back-to-back game effects at the Pepsi Center on Saturday afternoon. Hopefully we won't see as many weird bounces as were had in the toilet game on Thursday night. I'd also like to see some goals from guys named Stastny, Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon, and O'Reilly. Hell, I won't be picky. I'll take 'em from Cody McLeod, Andre Benoit, and Jamie McGinn.
Most of the hockey guys in my neck of the woods have some passing affection for the Blues and think they'll go deep in the playoffs and ultimately choke because they don't have a legit superstar on offense. I'm not sure Alexander Steen and his 29 goals would agree with that, but whatever. Even discounting that, the score by committee approach is working: Five players over 40 points, but nobody over 50 (Colorado has three player at or above 50 points in Duchene, Landeskog and MacKinnon and five over 40). One thing for sure is that they've had Colorado's number this season with 4-1 and 7-3 wins over the Avalanche. So that's a lot of offense that should now have something beside league average goaltending behind it. Usually a pretty good recipe for success. It's borne fruit for the Blues this season as they lead the Central division and are just a few point behind Conference leader Anaheim.
If Colorado wants to get a four-point swing with a win against the Blues they'll need to generate some offense of their own and not get confounded by the opposing system as it seemed they did against BankruptcyTown. Put simply: SPEED. GOALZ. WIN.
Things I'll be looking for during the matinee:
- Match the Blues intensity in this important home game but don't get sucked into trading hits.
- SHOOT THE PUCK.
- Who wins the battle in net? Varlamov who sees more rubber than a condom factory or Miller who finally has something resembling a hockey team in front of him?
What about the good guys and gals from MHH? What do you hope to see in the afternoon tilt? Remember, puck drop is 1 pm MT so don't forget to get your nap in early.