This season started amazingly for the St. Louis Blues who went 4-0-0 before Tuesday night’s awful performance against the San Jose Sharks. We all know Ken Hitchcock‘s crew is good, but the anticipation of tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks poses the question – how will they respond to getting spanked by the Sharks?
Last year, the Blues started the season on a tear, winning six of their first seven games. Then, a 5-3 loss to the Red Wings knocked them into loser’s orbit, dropping five straight. This year’s edition of the St. Louis Blues is different than last year’s, but some teams have trouble kicking old bad habits.
The Hawks are a tough opponent to say the least. We all know the incredible run they went on a year ago, leading to a Presidents’ trophy and Stanley Cup title. Don’t look now, but they’re quietly doing it again. The Hawks are 4-1-1 to start the season – their only regulation loss occurring last week against your very own St. Louis Blues.
Ken Hitchcock confirms goaltender Jaroslav Halak will start tonight, making this his 6th straight puck drop appearance on the season. Confirmation Tweet courtesy of Lou Korac with NHL.com.
Magnus Paajarvi will play in Chicago, per Hitch. Halak will start in goal vs. Blackhawks. Plan right now is for Elliott to start in Winnipeg
— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) October 16, 2013
There are two schools of thought about the Blues’ lopsided loss to the San Jose Sharks. One way to take it is – the Blues were outmatched and overpowered by a better team.
However, the possibility also exists they lost that game the second Maxim Lapierre decided to take a lengthy penalty and fire up the Sharks with a hit from behind on highly respected Dan Boyle. The isolated incident drastically changed momentum, causing the Blues to endure a beating on the scoreboard. The 6-2 loss may not be indicative of the Blues true measurement against the Sharks. We’ll find out about that on November 29th in San Jose.
The Sharks started last season 7-0-0. They look to be duplicating with another surging early season win streak. The key for the Blues is to avoid a repeat of the early losing streak they suffered a few games into the 2012-13 journey.
Against the Blackhawks, the Blues went 2-3-0 last season. If you count the win from last week, the Blues have won three of their last six games against the defending Cup champs.
Tonight is about bouncing back. A Blues loss ignites a two-game losing streak this Blues team wants to avoid. Although, losing to the Sharks and Blackhawks is hardly something to get down about, it is still a scenario coach Ken Hitchcock will hope his team avoids.