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Blues Not Concerned About the Offense

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Blues might not be scoring many goals lately, but it’s not something they’re particularly concerned about.

Although they scored just four goals on their four-game road trip, the Blues have collected five of a possible eight points in those games (2-1-1). For them, the wins mean a heckuva lot more than the goals.

“We know there are goals in here to be had, and we know we have good enough players to score those goals,” Blues forward Troy Brouwer said. “And they’ll come. We still want to be able to score and not (have to) win 1-0 every night, but if that’s what needs to be done, that’s how we’ll do it.”

“We’re just going through an unlucky phase,” Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We’ll get lucky here in the next week or so and start scoring. I think we’re playing well. When we’re playing loose, we’re scoring more and giving up more. When we had our high-water mark as far as offense goes, it was a wide-open affair. To me, the zero or the one goal against is the most important thing because it gives you a chance to win every game. You’d like to score a lot more, but with 30 games left in the season, it’s all about winning hockey games.

“I don’t really care what the score is as long as we win games.”

One key factor in the lack of scoring might be the power play, which has been struggling. The Blues didn’t score a power-play goal in nine opportunities on the road trip, but Hitchcock says it’s just a matter of the team pressing too much.

But again - wins are wins, especially at this point in the season.

Blues forward Jori Lehtera might have expressed that best.

“I’ll take two points (in the standings) every day,” he said.

THE FIRST MEETING

The Blues will meet the San Jose Sharks for the first time this season tonight, leaving the Washington Capitals as the last team they have yet to face.

In the last two meetings between the teams, the Blues have outscored the Sharks 14-4 with two 7-2 victories last season. Alexander Steen led the Blues with six points (two goals, four assists) in those games.

The Sharks, meanwhile, dropped a 3-2 decision to the Ducks on Tuesday - their first regulation loss since Jan. 7. They were 8-0-2 in the previous 10 games.

“Their skill really stands out. When they have the puck on their stick, they make guys really go around them and it’s tough to handle,” Brouwer said. “We have to make sure we’re structurally sound through the neutral zone, try not to let them get too much speed, and when they do enter the zone, make sure we get quick exits… They’re so skilled, they’re going to create opportunities, but we need to try to push them to the outside as much as possible.”

A SHOT-BLOCKING MACHINE

The Blues blocked 14 shots in Saturday’s game against Nashville, but defenseman Carl Gunnarsson blocked half of those.

One of them was a patented Shea Weber blast off the shin pad.

“He had an OH-MY-GOD moment - I’m going to heaven because (Weber) has the puck,” Hitchcock joked. “Say goodbye to my family.”

For perspective, it was less than a week ago when Weber won the NHL’s Hardest Shot Competition for the second consecutive season. Weber’s shot was clocked at 108.1 miles per hour - just 0.8 shy of Zdeno Chara’s all-time record.

PROJECTED LINES

Today’s morning skate was optional, so we’re making an educated guess that the lines for tonight will remain the same.

Forwards

Patrik Berglund - Alexander Steen - David Backes

Magnus Paajarvi - Paul Stastny - Vladimir Tarasenko

Robby Fabbri - Jori Lehtera - Troy Brouwer

Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Dmitrij Jaskin

Defense

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Joel Edmundson - Kevin Shattenkirk

Carl Gunnarsson - Colton Parayko

Goalie

Brian Elliott

BLUE NOTES

Fans are encouraged to donate school supplies at tonight’s game to benefit KidSmart. All fans who donate will have a chance to win great Blues prizes, including an autographed Blues hat, souvenir stick, puck, jersey or tickets to an upcoming game. Fans can also help raise money for KidSmart by purchasing Mardi Gras beads, which will be available on the concourse for $3 each or two for $5.

Since Dec. 21, Robby Fabbri is fifth amongst all rookies with 10 points (six goals, four assists in 19 games).

The Blues are 8-1-1 against the Pacific Division this season, including a 4-1-0 mark at home.

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