Blues Gameday Preview: Boston Bruins – 11/7/22

The St. Louis Blues’ woeful losing streak continued on Nov. 3rd with a 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders. After general manager Doug Armstrong took the podium for roughly 30 minutes a few days prior, the team responded with strong play and energy in the first period and led 1-0 thanks to a goal by Vladimir Tarasenko (four). What followed in the subsequent periods was more of what we’ve seen from this team during their now six-game losing streak: four unanswered goals in the second period followed by an empty-netter in the third period. They now stand at 3-6-0 with just six points and remain last in the Central Division.

St. Louis Blues' Gameday Robert Thomas, Jordan Kyrou, Justin Faulk and Jordan Binnington

The Blues will head to the east coast to take on the Boston Bruins (10-2-0). The Bruins currently have the best record in the Eastern Conference and are second overall in the NHL in points (20). For the Blues, there’s no time better than the present to get things going in the right direction. Maybe playing one of the best teams in the league is exactly the test they need to end this stretch of horrible play.

St. Louis Blues Projected Lineup

Forwards

Brandon Saad – Ryan O’Reilly – Ivan Barbashev

Pavel Buchnevich – Robert Thomas – Vladimir Tarasenko

Jake Neighbours – Brayden Schenn – Jordan Kyrou

Alexey Toropchenko – Noel Acciari – Nathan Walker

Defense

Nick Leddy – Colton Parayko

Torey Krug – Justin Faulk

Niko Mikkola – Robert Bortuzzo

Torey Krug St. Louis Blues
Torey Krug, St. Louis Blues (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Goalies

Jordan Binnington – Thomas Greiss

Blues Welcome Back Saad

Forward Brandon Saad, who has been sidelined for the past six games with an upper-body injury, is expected to return to the lineup tonight for St. Louis. With him out of the lineup, coincidence or not, the Blues have been winless (six regulation losses). He’ll rejoin his previous position on the top line along with O’Reilly and Barbashev.


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Saad did not record any points in his three games before his injury, but what he will bring back into the fold is line stability and familiarity for the Blues. He spent a lot of time in 2021-22 on a line with O’Reilly (and David Perron), so the team is hoping he can be the steady wing presence O’Reilly needs to get going and will provide this offense with a spark.

Second Period Continues to be Problematic

The Blues haven’t done themselves any favors over the last two weeks. With all six losses coming in regulation, this team has failed to register even a single point since Oct. 22. After surrendering four unanswered goals to the Islanders in their most recent loss, the Blues have been outscored 18-6 in the second period. They haven’t been much better in the third period either, being outscored 12-6, but five of those goals against have been empty netters. For the Blues to start turning their season around, figuring out the second period is a major key.

Boston Bruins Projected Lineup

Forwards

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Jake Debrusk

Taylor Hall – David Krejci – David Pastrňák

Nick Foligno – Charlie Coyle – Pavel Zacha

Trent Frederic – Tomas Nosek – Craig Smith

David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins
David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Defense

Hampus Lindholm – Connor Clifton

Matt Grzelcyk – Brandon Carlo

Mike Reilly – Jakub Zboril

Goalies

Linus Ullmark – Keith Kinkaid

Quick Look at the Bruins

After somewhat surprisingly relieving Bruce Cassidy of his duties, the Bruins hired former Blues assistant coach Jim Montgomery this offseason to be their head coach. So far, at 10-2-0, that move has been a resounding success. For the Blues, they hated seeing him go but are rooting him on in his return to the bench boss position.

“He’s a great person. He really is, great teammate, very well liked by everybody. Things happen in life, mistakes. We all do it. Everybody deserves a second chance and he made the best of it.”

Blues Head Coach Craig Berube

The Bruins had a seven-game winning streak snapped on Saturday, Nov. 5, losing to the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1. Offensively, they’re led by David Pastrňák (eight goals, 11 assists) and Patrice Bergeron (four goals, six assists). The returning Brad Marchand is off to a great start in his return from injury, posting five points (four goals, one assist) in four games. Defensively, they’re led by Hampus Lindholm (four goals, nine assists) and Matt Grzelcyk (one goal, four assists).

Bruins Controversial Signing of Mitchell Miller

In just a matter of two days, the Bruins had agreed to sign and then rescind their contract offer to 20-year-old defenseman Mitchell Miller. The decision to rescind their offer is due to the amount of backlash, both throughout the hockey world and within their own locker room, they received when they made the controversial announcement. When Mitchell was 14, he was accused of bullying a black classmate with disabilities. Originally drafted by the Arizona Coyotes, the team refused to sign him.

Mitchell Miller Tri-City Storm
Mitchell Miller of the Tri-City Storm (Tri-City Storm)

Fast forward to Nov. 4, 2022, the Bruins sent shockwaves through hockey when they announced they were signing Mitchell. Prior to the signing, they consulted with many of their players, most of which were not in favor of bringing in someone with such a past. Their biggest failing may have been their lack of background work on Mitchell and not speaking with the victim’s family. Bruins president Cam Neely takes fault for the decision.

Related: Blues Stock Up, Stock Down: Binnington, Defense, Kyrou, & More

“We like to take pride in what we do as a community and we hold ourselves accountable. We dropped the ball and I’m here to apologize… The fact that we didn’t talk to the family was concerning to me. [Why we didn’t] is a great question and I plan on finding out. I want to apologize to Isiah and his family. This isn’t something that they should continue to go through.”

Players to Watch

St. Louis Blues: Torey Krug

Prior to signing with the Blues in the summer of 2020, Krug spent nine seasons playing in Boston. He was teammates with a number of players that are still on the Bruins’ current roster. So far, the 2022-23 season has not been kind to the 31-year-old defenseman: one goal, three assists, and a plus-minus of minus-11. Three of his four points this season have come on the power play (one goal, two assists), meaning in five-on-five play, he’s managed just one assist and zero goals. In two career games against his former team, he’s recorded one goal, one assist, and a plus/minus of plus-one.

Boston Bruins: Brad Marchand

In four games this season since returning from offseason surgery on both hips, forward Brad Marchand is on a tear. He’s scored five points in those four games, including their lone goal against the Maple Leafs on a penalty shot. In scoring the goal, Marchand reached a significant career milestone by recording his 800th NHL point.

According to StatMuse, in 15 career regular-season games against the Blues, Marchand has 11 points (seven goals, four assists) and owns a plus/minus of plus-three. In his last six games against them, however, he’s only managed to score three total points (one goal, two assists).

Where You Can Catch the Game

St. Louis Blues @ Boston Bruins – 6:00 PM CDT

The Blues will battle against the Bruins tonight at 6:00 PM CDT. You can watch the game on Bally Sports Midwest and Bally Sports+. If you’re unable to watch, you can hear the calls live on 101 ESPN and the Blues App.


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