Preview: Blues at Canadiens
The St. Louis Blues dropped their season opener in overtime to the Washington Capitals, casting a pall on a night when the team raised its Stanley Cup championship banner to the rafters. The Blues have not lost since and will carry a three-game winning streak into Saturday night's matchup at the Montreal Canadiens in the third stop of a four-game road trip.
St. Louis posted a pair of one-goal victories over Dallas and Toronto before rallying from an early two-goal deficit in a 6-4 win at Ottawa on Thursday night. "We have to work for everything we get," Blues forward Brayden Schenn said. "We're not a run-and-gun team where we think we can weave our way through a hockey game." Neither are the Canadiens, who went beyond overtime in each of their first three contests before dropping a 4-2 decision to Detroit in Thursday's home opener. "We have to find that sharpness if we're going to win some hockey games," coach Claude Julien said. "Physically, we need a break. Mentally, we need to sharpen up."
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NHL Network, FS Midwest (St. Louis), TVA, CITY (Montreal)
ABOUT THE BLUES (3-0-1): Ryan O'Reilly, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the most valuable player in St. Louis' run to the Stanley Cup, collected three assists before adding an empty-net tally Thursday for the second four-point game of his career. "If you win, you have to absolutely be happy with that part," O'Reilly said. "But you look at the little details of it and I've still got a ways to go to play my best game." David Perron is off to a strong start, posting a four-game point streak after scoring twice Thursday, including career goal No. 200.
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (1-1-2): One positive has been the success with the man advantage for Montreal, which scored an NHL-worst 31 goals on the power play in 2018-19 but has converted on the man advantage in each of the first four games. However, the Canadiens have offset that by their struggles while short-handed, surrendering five power-play goals to their opponents. "We know we've got to clear some things up," Artturi Lehkonen said. "We've got to be more alert when we go on the PK, know our assignments and what we have to do to get the job done."
1. St. Louis is seeking to earn at least one point in its first five games for the first time in franchise history.
2. Canadiens F Joel Armia has scored three goals in the past two games.
3. Schenn has goals in three straight games overall and four tallies and five points in the past five versus Montreal.
PREDICTION: Blues 3, Canadiens 2