The Blues and their dads head to Boston for matchup with Bruins
BOSTON — The Blues have brought their fathers along, which could mean trouble for the Boston Bruins when they meet St. Louis at TD Garden on Thursday night.
This trip to Boston and Buffalo (Saturday) is the third one the Blues’ dads have made — and the team is 4-0 on the first two trips.
“We want to put on a good show for them,” Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said. “Maybe (their perfect record) is just good luck, good karma, I don’t know what it is. When players have family in town, everybody wants to play well in front of them.
“Every single one of us knows that our dads put in a lot of time and effort when we were kids to help us get us to this point. We don’t want to let them down.”
This will be the first of two matchups between teams that appear to have a real chance at a lengthy playoff run in the spring.
The Blues, who defeated the Montreal Canadiens in St. Louis on Tuesday night, have won three straight and five out of six, and sit three points behind the Winnipeg Jets in the Central Division. The Bruins had an 18-game point streak snapped with a 3-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in the opener of Boston’s three-game homestand Tuesday.
The Bruins, on a 14-0-4 run, shook off a poor first period and played well enough to win the game, only to come up a goal (plus an empty netter) short against goaltenders John Gibson and Ryan Miller.
“We just didn’t have it early,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I don’t know if it’s credit to them, or just our guys, or the (All-Star) break, whatever the case was, wasn’t good enough. We addressed it.
“I thought we were a lot better after that but, to get back to your question, maybe the break did have something to do with it. It didn’t seem to affect them as much, although I don’t think they were dynamic by any means, but they were better than us.”
The Bruins (29-11-8) are short-handed, with Brad Marchand serving the third contest of a five-game league suspension Thursday and rookie Charlie McAvoy still recovering from a heart procedure. Noel Acciari, who missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury Tuesday, and Anders Bjork, injured in the game, are doubtful and the club recalled Peter Cehlarik from Providence.
Former Blues captain David Backes, sent to the quiet room after a hit by Nick Ritchie on Tuesday, said Wednesday he’ll be fine. He was upset there was no penalty called on the play and while it looked like shoulder to shoulder, it also looked late.
Tuukka Rask, 16-0-2 in his last 18 starts, will be in goal for the Bruins and brings a 4-2-3 record, a 2.39 goals-against average and .913 save percentage in 10 career outings against the Blues into the game.
At the other end, backup Carter Hutton has made the last six, seven of the last eight and 10 of the last 12 starts in the St. Louis goal over a struggling Jake Allen.
Hutton has allowed seven goals in the six starts and leads the NHL in GAA (1.70) and save percentage (.945).
Blues coach Mike Yeo doesn’t tip his hand on a starting goalie until the day of the game but did say Allen and Hutton will both play a game on this trip.
Allen is 3-1-0 with a 1.92 GAA and .940 save percentage lifetime against the Bruins, while Hutton is 1-2, 3.30, .875.
The Bruins come into this game second in the league in goals against, while St. Louis is third.
The Blues, who have won two straight and three of the last four in Boston, sent center Oskar Sundqvist to San Antonio of the AHL on Wednesday.