Blues vs. Carolina Hurricanes - 1/14/16 game day preview
The Blues continue their home stand against their second consecutive Eastern conference team when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes at the Scottrade Center at 7pm tonight. The Hurricanes come in on a hot streak, winners of their last 3 games and taking points in 8 of their last team. Even with the hot streak, they still sit in 7th place in the Metropolitan division. Why does this feel eerily similar to the game against the Leafs (low standings team coming in hotter than usual)?
News media is reporting that Eddie Lack will get the start in goal for the Hurricanes. Lack has yet to lose against the Blues, winning all 5 games while posting a 1.74 GAA and a 93.5% save percentage. Eric Staal and Kris Versteeg both have 6 goals against the Blues but Versteeg’s have come in almost twice as many games (13 vs. 24). Jeff Skinner and Victor Rask have enjoyed success early in their careers against the Blues with 4 goals and 2 assists in 8 games. Blues fans may want to focus a bit on Justin Faulk who is having a strong year in Carolina. As you might expect given their record, the Hurricanes are in the bottom third of most key NHL stats like goals per game, goals against per game, power play efficiency, etc.
Even with the all the injuries and inconsistent play, the Blues still sit in the top 20% of the league in points per game. The power play and penalty kill remain in the top 5 in the league while they hope to move their goals per game average out of the bottom third of the league.
One player you may want to pay particular attention to tonight is Troy Brouwer. Brouwer has 10 goals in 23 games against the Hurricanes and will start the game on Paul Stastny’s line. Stastny also has had success against the Hurricanes scoring 5 goals and adding 5 assists in 10 games. On the back end, Alex Pietrangel has 1 goal and 5 assists in 8 games and Brian Elliott has a 2.69 GAA and a 90.1 save percentage.
With all of the injuries, expect the lines to start as follows:
Steen - Stastny – Brouwer
Fabbri – Lehtera – Tarasenko
Upshall – Backes – Berglund
Jaskin – Brodziak – Reaves
Shattenkirk – Pietrangelo
Butler - Parayko
Edmundson – Bortuzzo
As a side note, I have seen a number of people comment on Ryan Reaves taking some extra shots on Jordan Tootoo during their fight on Tuesday. In my mind only the last shot would often be considered late. The one before that happens a lot in fights. I speculate that their prior history and perhaps a perception of turtling helped contribute to the extra shot.
Notes from around the league:
- Columbus finally won a post trade game but it was against Toronto. Of course the Blues recently lost to Toronto.
- As the Panthers came off their hot streak the sure crashed hard, losing 6-0.
- Anyone else notice that the Hawks have now won 8 in a row and taking 16 of 20 possible points?
- The Hawks could be the first team to 20 home wins as the sit with 19 now).
- Don’t look now but the Coyotes have won 4 in a row and have taken 16 of 20 possible points vaulting themselves into 2nd place in the Pacific.
It’s a great day for hockey.