The Blues kicked off the season in style Saturday, now the focus is back to business. The Anaheim Ducks come to town for a 1:00 pm showdown. They will be hungry for their first win and the Blues best watch out for early pressure.
The expected line up remains the same from Saturday’s home opener. Aside from Ryan Reaves replacing Cam Janssen.
David Perron-David Backes-Brad Boyes
Andy McDonald-Patrik Berglund-T.J. Oshie
Alex Steen-Jay McClement-B.J. Crombeen
Brad Winchester-Matt D’Agostini-Ryan Reaves
Barret Jackman-Erik Johnson
Eric Brewer-Roman Polak
Carlo Colaiacovo-Alex Pietrangelo
Jaroslav Halak with Ty Conklin backing up.
Blues News & Game Notes
Due to a rather wicked hit by Brad Wincheser, Cam Janssen will be out two weeks with a concussion and sternum injury. The two forwards collided trying to finish their respective check on Flyer defender Oskars Bartulis. Reaves fills a similar role to Janssen at the Blues AHL affiliate in Peoria. The only real difference between the two is the few inches of height on Reaves. Expect the same get in your face attitude that gets the Scottrade crowd all worked up.
Who to Watch For?
Chemistry? – Can the second scoring line of McDonald, Berglind and Oshie click. They were not “bad” against the Flyers, but they didn’t have the positive impact that they should. The three combined for just four shots on goal and three giveaways (all Oshie). The need a bounce back game.
Soda and Gas – No road trip here, just the third pairing of Colaiacovo (Coke-a-Cola) and Pietrangelo (Petro). For at least one game the fears of defensive gaffes between the two were averted. The possibility is there, but a budding relationship between the two could likely quell those concerns. Good to see Colaiacovo take Pietrangelo under his wing and really work with him to get better.
Keys to Victory
- Fix the Power Play, now…: The Blues went 1-for-10 against the Flyers penalty killers. The Blues failed to generate many scoring chances outside the one goal by Brad Boyes on the 5-on-3 advantage. The power play is a momentum swinging device that can bury an opponent. The inability to utilize that tool will bury the Blues in the long run. Just like it did last season. By Andy Strickland’s count, Alex Pietrangelo and Erik Johnson combined for a total of eight attempted shots blocked in Saturday’s home opener.
- Let’s Get Physical: One hallmark of the Blues over the last two to three seasons has been their physical play. I was very happy to see the Blues outhit another hit happy squad 22 to 13. The Ducks are in the same playstyle boat and the boys in blue need to match. A good way to increase the numbers? Chip the puck behind the questionable Ducks defense and pound them on the forecheck all game.
- Find Another Spark Plug: Janssen usually serves as the firestarter on home ice. Without his presence someone else needs to take on the dirty work of getting the crowd worked up. Could be a tall order on a Monday afternoon. The House of Payne needs to be just like the band. Loud and obnoxious to drive the visitors nuts. Reaves, Winchester and Crombeen will have their numbers called. Wouldn’t count out someone being “Oshie’d” either. The team knows the fans feed off that and someone has to bring it.
About the Author: Bleeding Blue from the IL side of the Mississippi, I've been a Blues fan since I can remember seeing the Blues take on the Oilers at the Arena when I was about 5. All I remember is that Brett Hull scored and I was hooked. Now I cheer on the likes of David Backes and TJ Oshie. It's a great time to be a Blues fan as this team rebuilds itself.