Preview: Blues at Devils
There has been no Stanley Cup hangover for the St. Louis Blues, who made history by becoming only the second team to string together three winning streaks of at least seven games one season after winning the championship. The Blues will go for their season-high ninth consecutive victory when they visit the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.
St. Louis owns the second-best record in hockey but, despite the hot streak, holds only a two-point edge over the Colorado Avalanche atop the Central Division. “I think the thing is we don’t rely on one or two guys up front or one or two guys on the back end,” forward Brayden Schenn said after Tuesday's 3-1 victory at the New York Rangers. “We rely on a team to get the job done every night. ... That’s how we’re winning hockey games.” The Blues have completely dominated the series in the past decade, winning 15 of 16 and posting its 12th straight victory over New Jersey with a 3-0 shutout on Feb. 18 that started the current eight-game run. The Devils rebounded from the defeat with St. Louis by earning points in six consecutive games (4-0-2), a streak that came to an end in a 3-0 setback at Vegas on Tuesday.
TIME: 7 p.m. ET. TV: FS Midwest, MSG-Plus, TVAS, Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Ontario, Sportsnet Pacific
ABOUT THE BLUES (40-17-10): St. Louis lost five straight before the current run, ignited in part by coach Craig Berube's decision to have Ryan O'Reilly center Jaden Schwartz and Schenn. The results have been spectacular: Schenn is riding a five-game goal streak while Schwartz and O'Reilly have combined for 17 points in the eight games. “I think sometimes you play with certain players over the course of the season and a change is good sometimes,” Berube said. “It brings a little new life to your line, or to a teammate, and that’s basically what it is.”
ABOUT THE DEVILS (26-28-12): New Jersey shipped out defensemen Andy Greene and Sami Vatanen in advance of the trade deadline and took another hit along the blue line when it was revealed that Will Butcher will miss the rest of the season with ruptured ligaments in his right thumb. Butcher was hurt, coincidentally, while blocking a shot in last month's loss at St. Louis and will undergo surgery that requires a recovery time of three to four months. Jack Hughes skated on the wing with Travis Zajac and Jesper Boqvist at Thursday's practice.
1. Blues F Jordan Kyrou will return to the lineup after missing the past two games due to illness.
2. Devils F Kyle Palmieri, who leads the team with 23 goals, has been held off the scoresheet in four straight.
3. Blues D Colton Parayko has three goals and eight points over the last seven games.
PREDICTION: Blues 3, Devils 1