The St. Louis Blues enter the month of November in search of answers for how to get themselves back on track. It’s been a brutal stretch of play for this team and there is no end in sight. Their schedule in November likely won’t do them any favors either.
They are 3-5-0 with five straight losses going into this month. They’ll play multiple playoff contenders, as well as up-and-coming teams with lots of young talent. It could be a long month if they continue to play like this, a lot will be determined about this season with how they play this month.
Boston Bruins – Nov. 7
The Boston Bruins are off to a historic start under former Blues assistant Jim Montgomery. They’re 8-1-0 despite a couple of injuries, namely Brad Marchand, who has returned, and elite defenseman Charlie McAvoy. The Blues and Bruins have faced off three times since the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. The Blues are 1-1-1 in those matchups with their victory coming last season in Boston.
The Bruins have been elite in nearly every way, ranking second in goals for and third in goals against. A major part of their success has been goaltender Linus Ullmark, who has a record of 6-0-0 and a save percentage (SV%) of .945. Although the Ullmark contract seemed odd at first, it’s paying major dividends right now. Despite some trade rumors over the summer, it hasn’t affected the production of David Pastrňák. He’s cemented himself as one of the league’s best forwards with 17 points in nine games.
This is going to be a tough matchup for the Blues, especially with the way they’ve been playing. The Bruins have a steady balance of veteran players and young scoring on the wings. I’d assume that the Bruins will slow down a bit, which is natural, but the Blues play them early in the month so it’s going to be a tough matchup.
Colorado Avalanche – Nov. 14
For the first time since their second-round playoff series, the Blues will face off with the Colorado Avalanche. Their first matchup of the season will be at Ball Arena in Denver. The last time the Blues played on the road in Denver, it was a playoff overtime victory courtesy of Tyler Bozak. Both teams have a bit of a different look this season, and they’re both off to slow starts. The Avalanche are 4-4-1 with nine points, which is good for fourth in the division.
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A couple of major factors for the Avalanche’s struggles are injury-related with Gabriel Landeskog out long term and a lack of production outside of their best players. It’s bizarre to see a dynamic player like Cale Makar without a goal through nine games. I expect them to raise their level of play within the next few months and get back to where everybody expects them to be. It’s always a major challenge to face the Avalanche and the Blues have that to worry about in the middle of November. One key stat between these two teams is that the Blues are 3-7-0 in the regular season against the Avalanche in their last 10 games.
Chicago Blackhawks – Nov. 16
It’s been a surprising start for the Chicago Blackhawks. Despite every indication that a major rebuild is happening, the Blackhawks are 4-3-2 for 10 points. I don’t expect them to keep at this pace, but it’s notable that they’ve started off the season this way. They have four players on injured reserve (IR) that would likely be in their lineup right now, as well as defenseman Seth Jones being out right now.
One key factor for their play is goaltender Alex Stalock, who is having a surprising start with a SV% of .914. Jonathan Toews and Max Domi are off to great starts as well, and obviously, Patrick Kane is leading the way for this group. Their defense is still questionable, but they rank ninth in the league in goals for. One of the most interesting storylines in the NHL this season could be what the Blackhawks do at the trade deadline if they are in a playoff spot.
This has been a one-sided season series for quite some time. Since 2019, the Blues are 7-0-2 against the Blackhawks in the regular season. They dominated last season with a 3-0-1 record, the overtime loss was a game where the Blues blew a 2-0 lead. It’s been lopsided, to say the least, but that could change this season with the Blues’ struggles.
Tampa Bay Lightning – Nov. 25 (NHL Thanksgiving Showdown)
For the second season in a row, the Blues are playing on the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. This time, they’ll face the Tampa Bay Lighting, winners of two Cups in the last three seasons. The Lightning have been an average team to start this season, their record is 5-4-0 and they have the same number of goals for and goals against. None of this makes them any less dangerous. Despite the slow start, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy’s numbers aren’t that bad, his SV% is .910.
It seems that they’ve had some trouble with depth scoring this season, but that should be better by the middle of the season. It’s been a great start for both Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos, Kucherov has 12 points in nine games and Stamkos has seven goals in nine games. Despite the Lightning being consistently good, the Blues have had regular-season success against them. Since the 2018-19 season, the Blues are 5-1-0 against them. They went 1-1-0 against them last season with the loss coming in December on the road. This should be a fun matchup to watch on TNT, a lot of eyes will be on this one.
Blues’ Other Games in November
- Thursday, Nov. 3: vs. New York Islanders, 7 PM
- Tuesday, Nov. 8: at Philadelphia Flyers, 6 PM
- Thursday, Nov. 10: vs. San Jose Sharks, 7 PM
- Saturday, Nov. 12: at Vegas Golden Knights, 9 PM
- Thursday, Nov. 17: vs. Washington Capitals, 7 PM
- Saturday, Nov. 19: vs. Anaheim Ducks, 7 PM
- Monday, Nov. 21: vs. Anaheim Ducks, 7 PM
- Wednesday, Nov. 23: at Buffalo Sabres, 6 PM
- Saturday, Nov. 26: at Florida Panthers, 5:30 PM
- Monday, Nov. 28: vs. Dallas Stars, 7 PM
This is a rough schedule for the Blues to have this month with their 3-5-0 record. They’re going to have to dig deep and figure out how to be successful again. They play some of the league’s best teams as well as some tough teams to play against like the New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, and Buffalo Sabres. This is absolutely a make-or-break month for this team if they don’t win at least 10 of these 14 games, it’s likely over. It’s going to say a lot about this team with their response to the losing streak and slow start. A lot is about to be learned about head coach Craig Berube and the 2022-23 Blues.
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Ethan Carter has been writing at The Hockey Writers for over three years now. He also co-hosts The Blue Note Podcast for the Bleav Network, which covers the Blues and the NHL multiple times per week.