TAMPA - A topic of conversation at the morning skate in Tampa today was a recent Hockey Night in Canada stat: NHL teams are 17-13 when they bring their dads on the road this season.
Take that for what it’s worth - after all, none of the dads were sure of when that stat aired - but the Blues have certainly done their part to help over the last two seasons, going 4-0 with wins against the Winnipeg Jets, Carolina Hurricanes, Washington Capitals and most recently, the Florida Panthers.
“We definitely want to win in front of the dads. Everyone is always in a good mood when they’re here, and I think that has something to do with (the winning record),” defenseman Joel Edmundson said. “Just the positivity of the dads being around might have helped us (Friday against Florida).”
A win tonight would improve that record to 5-0. The Blues and their dads will return home tonight after the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning (5 p.m. CT, FSMW, KMOX).
“First of all, I want to say thanks to the Blues for having us. This is awesome,” Bob Edmundson said at today’s morning skate. “When Joel gave me the call, you couldn’t keep me from smiling. It’s really been good - great to meet the rest of the dads that are here and the rest of the organization. We’ve been able to treat ourselves with some good food, some good laughs, a little bit of fishing. We all come from different walks of life, so it’s kind of interesting to catch up on the non-hockey stuff as well. It’s been a thrill.”
When Robby Fabbri played for the Guelph Storm, his dad, Len, made the trip for every game to watch him play. But since Robby made it to the NHL, that’s no longer possible. This weekend’s Dads’ Trip though, has brought those memories flooding back.
“I’m very proud of him,” Len said. “He’s worked very hard to get here, and there’s still a lot of work to go. This trip has been so special. I just want to say thank you. (The Blues are) first class all the way, a first-class organization. We’re very proud to be part of it and Robby is, too. They’re just the best.”
“To have him here and show him what it’s like on the road and what we do on gamedays and off-days, it’s a lot of fun,” Robby said. “Everyone’s in a good mood, everyone’s just happy to have their dads around. It’s extra adrenaline for us, and you can see it in our game.”
The Blues shutout the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first meeting between the teams on Oct. 27, but Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock cautioned this morning that you might as well throw that video and game plan out the window.
“This is not the same team. This team is playing completely different than it did earlier in the year,” Hitchcock said. “They’re on top of their game right now, they’re in sync with each other. They went through what every team goes through that has disappointment at the end, whether its conference final or Cup Final - it takes a lot to what to put the shoes back on and start climbing the mountain. They figured out a way to do it, they’re doing it now and they’ll be a threat for everybody right until the end of the year.”
The Lightning will be seeking their 10th straight win on home ice tonight. Their last home loss was on Dec. 30 (5-2 against the New York Rangers).
Patrik Berglund - Alexander Steen - David Backes
Jaden Schwartz - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko
Robby Fabbri - Paul Stastny - Troy Brouwer
Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves
Jay Bouwmeester - Kevin Shattenkirk
Carl Gunnarsson - Colton Parayko
Joel Edmundson - Robert Bortuzzo
The ‘STL Line’ of Schwartz, Lehtera and Tarasenko combined for four points (two goals, two assists) Friday night in Florida.
After an eight-game scoring drought, the Blues’ power play has scored in three consecutive games, going 5-for-10 in that span.
Kevin Shattenkirk’s assist Friday against Florida was his 200th career point as a Blue.
The Blues beat the Lightning 6-3 in the last meeting between the clubs at Amalie Arena. Alexander Steen scored a goal and two assists, while David Backes and T.J. Oshie each had a goal and an assist.
Steen has nine points over his last seven games vs. Tampa (two goals, seven assists).
Elliott has won three straight against the Bolts, posting a 1.33 goals-against average, .949 save-percentage and one shutout.
Since the start of the 2014-15 season, the Blues are 56-21-6 with Schwartz in the lineup. Without him, the club is 26-20-10.