The Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues are chasing different objectives ahead of this week's Wednesday Night Rivalry game at Scottrade Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS, NHL.TV).
The Bruins can clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a victory or a loss in overtime or a shootout. But Boston has bigger things in mind; the Bruins are trying to catch the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division. The Blues have won four of their past five games but are still three points out of the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference with 10 games remaining in their season.
Here are 5 reasons to tune in:
Boston's leading scorer is having another superb season. He has surpassed 30 goals for the third straight season and has 75 points, 10 short of his NHL personal high, in 57 games. The 29-year-old forward scored a spectacular goal in a 5-4 overtime loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday and has 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in his past nine games. Few players combine his level of feistiness and offensive abilities. Marchand has eight points (six goals, two assists) in nine games against St. Louis.
Video: CBJ@BOS: Marchand dekes, roofs backhander in front
The 21-year-old forward is showing he's worth the six-year, $40 million contract (average annual value $6.67 million) he signed on Sept. 14. Pastrnak already has matched the 70 points he scored last season, and he has 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in his past 10 games. He has four assists in four games against the Blues.
The son of former Bruin Ted Donato had a spectacular NHL debut on Monday. One day after he signed with the Bruins, following the end of his junior season at Harvard, Donato scored a goal in the second period of his first NHL game and later added two assists. The 21-year-old center is the eighth Boston player to score his first NHL goal this season and the first to have three points in his first League game since defenseman Jarno Kultanen had three assists in 2000.
Video: CBJ@BOS: Donato scores, adds two assists in debut
The Blues defenseman was named the NHL's First Star last week after putting up nine points (three goals, six assists) in four games, capped by four points (one goal, three assists) in a 5-4 overtime win at the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. Pietrangelo's 15 goals are his high in the NHL, as are his five game-winning goals, and his 50 points are one shy of his best offensive season, in 2013-14.
Desperation time for Blues
St. Louis was comfortably in the top three in the Central Division for much of the season, but a 4-9-2 slide after the All-Star break has dropped the Blues to sixth in the division and fourth in the race for the two wild-card spots in the West. A 4-1-0 surge has kept them within striking distance, but the Blues have little wiggle room if they hope to qualify for the playoffs for the seventh straight season.
Video: STL@CHI: Berglund gives Blues win in overtime