ST. LOUIS - Exactly one week ago, the Blues and Flyers met at Wells Fargo Center. Jaden Schwartz scored in the first period and the Blues took a 1-0 lead to the third, but the Flyers scored three times in the final 10:13, including an empty-netter, to earn a 3-1 victory.
The Blues have won both games since and are preparing for a different result tonight (7 p.m., FSMW, KMOX).
“A week ago seems like a month ago,” Blues forward T.J. Oshie said. “We’re just ready to get back out there. Had a nice day off yesterday, a good skate this morning and we’re ready to go. It should be a physical battle tonight. It’ll be fun and a real good test.”
Oshie will skate with David Backes and Chris Porter tonight. Porter will be making his first appearance since Feb. 21 vs. Pittsburgh.
“Playing with two skilled guys, I don’t want to change anything that they’re doing,” Porter said after the morning skate. “Play straight lines, create a little room for them and have a little fun myself. You don’t usually get these opportunities so I try to make the most out of it. I want to help the team in any way I can, whether it’s practice, games or whatever it is.
“When I get my opportunity, I want to make my mark.”
Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said he’s looking for Porter to bring his usual energy.
“I think he’s an underrated player offensively, so this is giving him a chance to really jump up and play on a good line in a top-nine role,” Hitchcock said. “I just want him to relax and bring good energy. The energy will be there.”
Patrik Berglund will sit out tonight in what Hitchcock called a “coach decision” but will play on Saturday. Also, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester will return after missing two games with an illness. Hitchcock also said Olli Jokinen, who left with an injury in the third period Saturday in Toronto, will play this weekend.
Zbynek Michalek skated with the team today and could make his Blues debut soon. “It’s now his call. When he taps us on the shoulder, he’s in,” Hitchocock said.
THE 700 CLUB
With a win tonight against his former club, Hitchcock would become one of four NHL coaches to reach 700 regular season wins behind the bench.
Hitchcock coached the Flyers from 2002-07.
Other coaches to reach the 700 wins milestone are Scotty Bowman (1,244), Al Arbour (782) and Joel Quenneville (745), all of whom have coached with the Blues.
TARASENKO BOBBLE HEAD
The first 15,000 fans at tonight’s game will receive a Vladimir Tarasenko Bobblehead.
Players were admiring the bobblehead in the locker room after the morning skate today and had a few things to say.
Ryan Reaves: “I think ‘Vova’ has a little bit nicer tan, (but) it’s already on (my mantle). I’m going to rub it every game for some hands.”
Porter: “It’s definitely his celebration. I think he’s pumped - he’s asked everybody for his bobblehead. I’ll be giving him mine. He says he needs it for family and friends, so I think they’ll have a bunch back in Russia to put on their mantles.”
Robert Bortuzzo: “I think they nailed it. The helmet might be a little small, but I think they got the celly here which I’ve got to see a couple times since I’ve been here. I think my parents collect these things, so I’ll bring one home to them.”
The Blues have won three straight home games against the Flyers, outscoring them 7-1 in those games. Overall, the Blues have earned points in six of the last eight meetings between the teams (4-2-2).
Paul Stastny is third in the NHL with a face-off win percentage of 58.6 percent. He has been 50 percent or better in 13 consecutive games.
The Blues have the second highest win percentage in the NHL in 2015 (.724), trailing only the New York Rangers (.758).