For a Boston Bruins team that has struggled to score goals and
win games throughout February, a trip to St. Louis doesn’t seem
like the best elixir.
The Blues, meanwhile, are trying to take full advantage of home
ice before heading out on a difficult road stretch.
St. Louis looks to extend its remarkable run of success at
Scottrade Center on Wednesday night and send the sputtering Bruins
to their first three-game losing streak since October.
Multiple trends will need to change for Boston (35-20-2) to
avoid that fate.
For one, the Bruins have four shutout defeats while going 3-6-0
this month, a particularly troubling fact considering the Blues
have blanked 10 visitors to St. Louis this season.
The Blues (36-16-7) haven’t lost in regulation at home since
Dec. 3, going 18-0-3 in that stretch – 5-0-0 with three shutouts
since the All-Star break.
“If we go into that game with the same kind of weight we have on
our shoulders lately, it might be a tough night,” Boston coach
Claude Julien told his team’s official website. “Somehow we got to
take that weight off our shoulders and just go out and play and
give it all you got, and you might be surprised at what you can
come out with.
“Sometimes a good opponent and going out there with that
attitude can make a lot of things happen so that’s what you have to
The Bruins put a season-high 48 shots on goal Sunday at
Minnesota but lost 2-0.
Earlier that day, St. Louis allowed three unanswered goals in
the third period of a 3-1 loss at Chicago.
Coach Ken Hitchcock’s team will have plenty of chances to
correct its inconsistency on the road in the next few weeks, with
six in a row and 13 of 16 away from home after Wednesday. First,
however, the club would love to pick up two more points in St.
Louis as it continues to chase Detroit in the standings.
“We’ve got a strong team here, but there’s been times where
we’ve let it slide for whatever reason,” said Andy McDonald, who
has scored in three straight games. “You watch the way Detroit
plays, it’s the same through three periods. They don’t stray too
much from their game. We have to find the kind of effort where
we’re not having a dropoff.”
There has been little dropoff in the Blues’ outstanding
defensive statistics, thanks in part to two goalies – Brian Elliott
and Jaroslav Halak – among the top four in the league in
goals-against average. Halak, who has four shutouts in his last
five home starts, might be back after a bout with the flu.
Boston also has two netminders among the NHL’s top eight in GAA,
but neither has been at his best lately. Tuukka Rask has allowed 17
goals while losing five straight starts, and Tim Thomas has a
pedestrian .882 save percentage in his last five outings after
setting a single-season league record (.938) in that category last
Both teams are depleted up front, with the Bruins struggling to
replace injured forwards Rich Peverley and Nathan Horton. Already
without Alex Steen and Matt D’Agostini, the Blues lost veteran
Jamie Langenbrunner for at least four weeks Sunday with a broken
Boston has only three victories in the last 19 meetings but has
won its last two visits to St. Louis.
The Bruins’ lead over Ottawa in the Northeast Division has
slipped to two points and could disappear Wednesday, but they still
have four games in hand on the Senators.