Bruins Game 48 Preview: St. Louis Blues

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

The second game of a back-to-back is always more difficult than the first, even more so when you lose the first game. Last night, the Bruins took a hard 4-3 loss to one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia Flyers. The Bruins had a 2-0 at one point in the game but proceeded to allow four consecutive goals against on route to the defeat. Boston’s loss and Montreal’s win last night ties the two in the standings with 57 points, but the Bruins do have one more game in hand and an extra regulation plus overtime win.

The St. Louis Blues, on the other hand, have not had as good as a season as they may have expected, which has led to General Manager Doug Armstrong’s announcement earlier that essentially everyone on the roster, including possibly scoring winger Vladimir Tarasenko and forward Brayden Schenn. The Blues, however, were in the midst of a three-game winning streak recently, before losing their last game to the New York Islanders in overtime on Tuesday. St. Louis is twelfth in the Western Conference, currently four points behind the Minnesota Wild for the final Wild Card position.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 13-8-3 2.44 GAA .919 SV% Last Game: 19 Saves in 3-2 loss vs MTL

STL: Jake Allen 15-14-4 3.01 GAA .899 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 4-1 win vs WSH

Who’s Hot

Bruins forward David Krejci has been finding some success on the score sheet as of late, scoring a point in his last four consecutive games, including a three-game goal streak that came to an end last night against the Flyers. Krejci has only been a minus rating once in the past five games, a much better result for the Bruins centre. Krejci’s totals are now extended 10-27-37 totals in 47 points.

david-krejci-and-brian-elliott.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (The Canadian Press)

Ryan O’Reilly has been the best point-producer on the Blues in 2018-19 and he has continued that pace in the last two games, scoring a combined three points, bringing his season numbers to 16-29-45 in 46 games. With Tarasenko struggling to score throughout the year so far, the Blues have valued the services of O’Reilly this season.

David Pastrnak has rebounded from a brief stretch of struggling to have points in the last three games, extending his point totals to fifty-five in forty-seven games. Even with that time of struggling, Pastrnak has been able to generate scoring opportunities but seemed to lack the ability to bury the puck past the red line.

At this point of the season, Vladimir Tarasenko should be near the top of the scoring race but instead, his twenty-nine points in 44 games this season ranks him with the average players in the NHL. With that said, Tarasenko has five points in his last four games, including a two-goal performance in the win over the Dallas Stars on January 12th.

Who’s Not

Patrick Maroon joined St. Louis after a time with the Edmonton Oilers, hoping to bring some additional bottom-six scoring to a Blues team that is supposed to have good top-six scoring. However, Maroon only has four goals and eight assists for twelve points in thirty-seven games this year and is a team-worst -13 rating in the plus/minus category. He only has one goal in his last eight games.

David Backes is coming back into the lineup after being scratched last night against Philadelphia. Backes has 4-8-12 numbers in thirty-eight games in 2018-19 and he has a -6 rating. Bruce Cassidy tried him for a few games alongside David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk on Boston’s second-line but did not pay off as he failed to produce enough like the team needs him to.

Jake Allen has not been good in the net for the Blues this season and part of the blame on the lack of success for the team this year can be put on his performance in between the posts. His 3.01 goals-against-average and his .899 save percentage are not even close to what his numbers should be. Allen is scheduled to get the start against Boston and the Blues organization is hoping he can turn things around.

Bruins vs Blues Outlook

This will be the first of two meetings against the Blues for the Bruins this season and they will be looking for a much-needed win, especially after the loss to the Flyers last night. The Bruins desperately need to gain points against weaker, non-playoff teams and that is including tonight’s game.

Boston went 1-0-1 against St. Louis last season, with four goals scored and three against. Also, David Pastrnak has never scored against St. Louis in his young NHL career, the only team other than Boston, of course, that he has not buried the puck past the goal line. The B’s will need to put pressure and if they get a lead such as they had against the Flyers, they need to hold onto it and aim to rack up more goals.

Boston is 10-12-2 this season when they fail to score first, so the mission tonight will be to score first and often. This is a crucial game in the standings for both franchises at this stage in January, setting up for a fun, entertaining game. Before the puck is dropped, take a look at the Bruins lineup as well as the roster changes.

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