CALGARY, AB -- One of the most promising teams in the Western Conference, the St. Louis Blues will look to take the next step in their playoff endeavours after being bounced in the first round by the Los Angeles Kings last spring.
Coach Ken Hitchcock will have a more stable goaltending situation this season with the healthy duo of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott. Defensively, few can rival the Blues trio of Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk and Jay Bouwmeester, all of whom could be Olympic bound this February.
So far, the mix was worked in St. Louis. The Blues have lost just twice in regulation this season and have nine wins in 13 games.
Last Season: 29-17-2, 60 points (4th in West)
Notable Additions: C Keith Aucoin, C Alexandre Bolduc, C Maxim Lapierre ,LW Magnus Paajarvi, C Derek Roy, LW Brendan Morrow.
Notable Subtractions: RW Jamie Langenbrunner, LW/C Andy McDonald, C Scott Nichol, LW David Perron, D Kris Russell
Flames Season Series Record: 0-0-0
Few have been as productive as Steen so far this season. The 29-year-old has 13 goals and 19 points in 13 games this season and is currently riding an eight-game point streak that has seen him collect nine goals and 11 points. How consistent has Steen been? He’s collected at least a point in 12 of 13 games for the Blues, while scoring in 11 different contests. He currently leads all NHLers in goals and is fourth in total points.
After starting the season with five points in five games and four goals and seven points in nine games, Tarasenko has been kept off the score sheet in his past four contests. The 21-year-old former first round pick has just two assists since seeing his four-game point streak snapped -- a span of eight games.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Sent to St. Louis last spring in exchange for Reto Berra, Mark Cundari and a first round pick (used to select Emile Poirier), Bouwmeester has adjusted well to the Blues. Though the former Flames defenceman has nine assists in 13 games this year, he’s still searching for his first goal after finding the back of the net seven times last season.
Pacing the Blues in average ice time at 25:48 a night (Bouwmeester’s second with 24:47), Pietrangelo has given St. Louis big minutes this season. He’s also contributed in a big way offensively. The 23-year-old is third on the team in goals (4) and points (12). All of his goals have come as part of a four-game scoring streak that was snapped Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens.
Matched with Steen and TJ Oshie this season, Backes has enjoyed the most productive start to his career. The Blues captain has six goals and 15 points through his first 13 games of the season, second on the team in both categories. The 6-foot-3, 221-pound pivot has 30 penalty minutes to compliment his numbers.