ST. LOUIS - If that old adage about “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is accurate, the Blues are going to be an incredibly strong team in the near future.
That’s because in the early going, whether it’s injuries or the bacterial illness circulating through the club, the Blues have faced more than their fair share of adversity.
Here’s what they’re dealing with tonight (that we know of):
David Backes won’t play. He’s been diagnosed with a concussion after being hit by Stars defenseman Trevor Daley in the first period Tuesday in Dallas.
T.J. Oshie won’t play. He slid hard into the goal post Tuesday and began feeling concussion symptoms on Wednesday. He also has been diagnosed with a concussion.
Joakim Lindstrom is the latest to be dealing with the bacterial illness that has worked it’s way around the team. Head Coach Ken Hitchcock labeled him "out right now."
Paul Stastny, although practicing with the team, is still out.
“Some seasons are smooth, and some seasons are scrambles. We’re in scramble mode,” Hitchcock said after the morning skate. “Nobody’s feeling sorry for us. We’ve got to get two points. We’ve got to keep pace with everybody until we get a lot of these players back in. We can’t get too far away from the pack.”
Despite the adversity, the Blues have reeled off consecutive wins against two tough divisional opponents (Oct. 25 vs. Chicago and Oct. 27 at Dallas). They’ll need more of the same tonight against the Anaheim Ducks.
“The last two wins, we’ve had a lot of banged up guys,” Hitchcock said. “A lot of sickness still rolling through the team, but we still got wins.
“Another big game tonight.”
The Ducks come to town winning eight of their last nine games, including a 3-0 win against the Blues at Honda Center on Oct. 19.
Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said the Blues got “too spread out” the last time out against the Ducks and stressed the importance of being more structured tonight.
“Just stay with the game plan, stay with the structure. It’s what works and we know that’s what helps us be successful against them,” Shattenkirk said. “I think they’re one of the best forechecking teams in the league, so when we do go back for pucks in the defensive zone, we have to make sure that everyone is getting back quickly and are ready to transition as quickly as possible, too.”
Tonight’s game begins at 7 p.m. at Scottrade Center and will be available on FOX Sports Midwest and KMOX 1120 AM.
A WINNING COMBO
Vladimir Tarasenko and Jori Lehtera have been a dynamic pairing for the Blues this season. On Tuesday in Dallas, Tarasenko had four points (three goals, one assist) while Lehtera had three (one goal, two assists).
Through eight games, the pair have combined for 15 points (six goals, nine assists).
“Vladi was on fire so it was easy for me to play with him,” Lehtera said. “I know he’s a good player, that’s why I want to pass him the puck every time I get it. He can pass and shoot and challenge one-on-one all at the same time. You never know what he’s going to do. The defenseman doesn’t know (either).”
Tarasenko and Lehtera played almost two seasons together in the KHL, and their chemistiry certainly shows.
“I don’t need to look where he’s going and he doesn’t need to look where I'm going. I already know where he is,” Tarasenko told Darren Pang after Tuesday’s game. “It’s good to have some success here.”
The Blues are celebrating Halloween by allowing fans to come to the game in costume tonight (masks will need to be removed during entry to the game). Trick or treating will be available at several candy stations throughout the concourse, and fans can take a commemorative picture at the Fish Eye Fun booth outside Section 124.
In addition, the Blues 14 Fund will be selling commemorative Halloween-themed pucks outside Section 119. Pucks are autographed by Blues players and are available for $30 each.