Preview: Devils at Blues
The St. Louis Blues appeared ready to run away in the Central Division, building a double-digit lead following a four-game win streak just over a month ago. However, the defending Stanley Cup champions have been in a tailspin since and will attempt to halt a season-worst five-game slide (0-3-2) against the visiting New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.
The Blues have won only twice in their last 12 (2-7-3) following that four-game run to lose their hold on sole possession of first place atop the division standings. “We’ve just got to battle through it,” coach Craig Berube said after Nashville completed a home-and-home sweep of St. Louis with a 2-1 victory on Sunday. “It’s a tough time right now obviously. We’re playing a lot of good hockey, but we’re not coming up with wins.” The Blues have the perfect opponent against which to end the skid, having won 11 in a row against the Devils, who got an early jump on the trade deadline with a pair of moves Sunday, shipping out captain Andy Greene and forward Blake Colemen in separate deals. "We lost two big parts to our team -- especially Andy," goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood said after Sunday's 4-3 shootout win over Columbus. "He's been a leader in the room ever since I've been here."
TIME: 8 p.m. ET. TV: MSG-Plus, FS Midwest
ABOUT THE DEVILS (22-26-10): The offseason trades for veterans P.K. Subban and Wayne Simmonds did not change New Jersey's fortunes, and interim general manager Tom Fitzgerald acknowledged a rebuild will be centered around the core of Blackwood and No. 1 overall picks Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes. “I don’t think we’re going to snap our fingers and it’s going to be next year that we’re contending for the Stanley Cup, or the year after,” Fitzgerald said. Blackwood allowed four goals in winning his last four starts, including two shutouts.
ABOUT THE BLUES (32-17-10): St. Louis finally held an opponent under three goals for the first time in a dozen games but scored only once despite dominating Nashville on Sunday. "We need to regroup here and find a solution to score more goals," said forward Oskar Sundqvist, who notched two shots on goal in his first game since Jan. 27. "That's what we need right now. We need some goal scoring. Hopefully we can turn it around next time." Second-leading scorer Ryan O'Reilly has one goal over his last 12 games and none in the past seven.
1. Blues F David Perron, the team leader with 23 goals, has zero in eight games in February.
2. Devils F Joey Anderson has scored in back-to-back games.
3. St. Louis will make up its postponed game at Anaheim on March 11 while a home game versus Florida on March 10 was moved to March 9.
PREDICTION: Blues 4, Devils 2