ST. LOUIS - Just like last spring, the St. Louis Blues have the higher seed but the unenviable task of facing the defending Stanley Cup champion in the first round of the playoffs.
For the Blues to prevail against the Chicago Blackhawks in a matchup of 100-point teams, coach Ken Hitchcock says they'll need standout play from goalie Ryan Miller. St. Louis lost in six games to the Kings and Jonathan Quick last year and acquired Miller in hopes of making a deep run.
Hitchcock anticipates game-time decisions for the opener Thursday night, with a roster hit hard by injuries during a six-game losing streak to end the regular season.
I mean, hockey had to change the rules because of Marty, and that's impressive. I got two Stanley Cup rings because of the guy. Look at the banners of [Scott Niedermayer, Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko] and Marty is right up there when you think about the New Jersey Devils; he was part of the core group and he'll go down as one of the greatest goalies ever.
— New Jersey Devils center Scott Gomez on former teammate Martin Brodeur, who will announce his retirement Thursday