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POSTED ON Saturday, 12.06.2014 / 9:44 AM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

UNIONDALE, NY - When the Blues wrap up a four-game road swing Saturday against the New York Islanders, it’ll be a day of firsts and lasts.

FIRST: The Blues will get a look at Jaroslav Halak for the first time since trading him to the Buffalo Sabres in February in a deal that brought Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to St. Louis. Since then, Halak was again traded to the Washington Capitals, where he finished last season before eventually signing as a free agent with the Islanders.

On Thursday, Halak set an Islanders franchise record with his 11th consecutive win, breaking a record set by Hall of Fame goaltender Billy Smith that had stood since 1982. In those 11 games, Halak has given up just 14 goals.

“It’s always nice, but I would say I’m not here to chase any records or anything,” Halak told reporters after the game Thursday. “I’m here to have fun, play hockey and try to help the guys win the game.”

The Islanders are winners of three straight games and have won eight of their last nine contests.

LAST: Barring a meeting in the Stanley Cup Final in June, the Blues will play their last game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum today.

With their lease set to expire at the end of the season, the Islanders will leave the 42-year-old venue for the 15,795-seat Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The Blues have won five of their last seven games at Nassau. All-time though, the Blues are 16-27-11.

“It’s a new era for the Islanders next year, so I know they’re playing as an inspired team right now,” Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. “They’re playing probably their best hockey in years and they’ve put together a good solid group of young guys and young leaders on this team who had their taste in the playoffs and they want to get back there.

“Hopefully we can grab another win in this building before they move on and we have to play them in Brooklyn.”

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POSTED ON Thursday, 12.04.2014 / 1:32 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

NASHVILLE - In a career spanning 1,464 NHL games (including the playoffs), goalie Martin Brodeur has just about done it all.

Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie? Yep.

Stanley Cup champion? Three times.

NHL All-Star Game? 10 of ‘em.

The only thing he hasn’t done is played for a team other than the New Jersey Devils. But he can cross that one off the list tonight, too.

Brodeur, the NHL’s all-time leader in games played, wins (688) and shutouts (124) will start for the Blues tonight after spending his entire 21-year career with the New Jersey Devils. Brodeur joined the Blues for practice last week after Brian Elliott sustained a lower-body injury. On Tuesday, the Blues signed the free agent to a one-year contract.

“I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a little while and it’s finally coming in,” Brodeur said after the morning skate. “We’ll have fun with it.”

Brodeur boasts a 2.24 goals-against average and a .912 save-percentage in his outstanding career, which began shortly after he was drafted by the Devils in the first round (20th overall) in 1990.

But despite all the accomplishments and being 42-years-old, Brodeur isn’t ready to call it quits just yet.

“I’m living this dream and when you are living a dream and you really enjoy what you do, it’s hard to let go sometimes,” Brodeur said.

With a big division opponent and first place in the division on the line at this point in the season, Hitchcock said it’s the perfect time for Brodeur to start.

“He’s here to see if he wants to keep playing hockey and he wants to finish it on his terms, on his note,” Hitchcock said. “His legacy (with New Jersey) is not going to be affected by this. He’s going to finish it on his terms hopefully and whatever is written, it’s going to be written about how many Cups, how many wins, how many shutouts (he has)…he’s got numbers nobody is going to touch, and good on him, because he’s earned and deserved every bit of it.”

Brodeur will be making his first start since April 13. He has earned points in four of his last five starts against the Predators (3-1-1), and his last start against Nashville was a 15-save shutout on Nov. 10, 2013.

“I never really put a thought into when it was going to be done or how I’m going to feel. I just went year by year, especially at the end,” Brodeur said. “Two years ago, before we went on the Cup run in New Jersey, I thought ‘yeah, that’s enough.’ But I think I have a little more life into me because of the run and how fun it was and everything. That made me want to continue more.

“Now here I am.”

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 12.03.2014 / 1:12 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

CHICAGO - The Blues are back on the road for three games, starting with tonight’s 7 p.m. meeting with the division-rival Chicago Blackhawks at United Center (NBCSN, KMOX 1120 AM).

The road has been a friendly place for the Blues as of late. This season, the Blues are 7-3-1 away from Scottrade Center and are currently on a three-game road winning streak.

“We don’t really change our game too much. I think we’re pretty consistent both home and away,” Blues forward Alexander Steen said. “We obviously do a good job of pre-scouting other teams. On the road, we just roll our lines a little bit more. Everybody gets involved earlier in the game.

“The fact that we can roll four lines and be confident and comfortable is a big reason why we’re able to win a lot of hockey games, and not just on the road.”

Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock attributes the road wins to strong play late in games.

“We just find ways to keep going,” Hitchcock said. “We are not kicking on all cylinders yet, but we find ways to get points. We find ways to get wins, especially in the third period. We’ve got no quit in us.”

The Blackhawks have returned to Chicago after a six-game road trip in which they went 5-1-0. Injuries have mounted for the Blackhawks, though, who will be without goalie Corey Crawford for two to three weeks with a lower-body injury. Patrick Sharp has also been out of the lineup since Nov. 4. He’s skating but isn’t expected to be in the lineup tonight.

“It’s a big rivalry, obviously,” Steen said of facing the Blackhawks. “Playing at home, it’s an awesome feeling against these guys. On the road, it’s a complete different bear. Their home crowd is real noisy and loud. It’s a nice feeling when you get them quiet. In the last few years, we’ve been building and building on this rivalry. They always tend to be high-paced, irritating games.”

The Blues won the first matchup 3-2 on Oct. 25 at Scottrade Center.

Added Hitchcock, “We can’t play 40 minutes and expect to beat this team. They're playing too well. They’ve got 60-minute efforts going across the board, they’ve got four lines playing…we’re going to need the same.”

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POSTED ON Monday, 12.01.2014 / 10:25 AM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / DraftKings Fantasy Report

Is Jake Allen available in your fantasy hockey league?

He shouldn’t be, so if he is, add him right now.

With Brian Elliott sidelined with a lower-body injury and labeled week-to-week, it’s a safe bet that Allen will get the vast majority of starts until Elliott comes back. And why wouldn’t he?

He’s 8-2-1 this season with a 2.16 goals-against average, a .918 save-percentage and two shutouts. In his last start on Saturday, Allen tied a season-high for a Blues goaltender with 36 saves against Minnesota. He also stopped all three shooters he faced in the shootout.

Through Saturday, Allen ranked ninth overall in the League in goals-against average.

HONORABLE MENTION

Vladimir Tarasenko keeps scoring goals, and sometimes, he’s doing it all by himself. On Saturday in Minnesota, Tarasenko scored an unassisted goal in the second period, then scored the deciding goal in the shootout. And the night before, it was Tarasenko with the overtime game-winner against Edmonton.

As of Saturday night, Tarasenko ranked fourth overall in the NHL with 14 goals.

SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Dec. 3 at Chicago Blackhawks
Dec. 4 at Nashville Predators
Dec. 6 at NY Islanders

DraftKings offers free or paid fantasy hockey options and gives players the opportunity to win real money! Participate in daily hockey leagues with no season-long commitment! To date, over $20 million has been paid out to thousands of fantasy sports winners! Go to draftkings.com to sign up today!

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POSTED ON Saturday, 11.29.2014 / 1:18 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

ST. PAUL, MN - Chris Porter said he’s pretty sure he’s in the lineup every time the Blues play in Minnesota.

And that’s just fine with him.

Porter was born in Toronto but later moved to Fairbault, Minnesota, where he attended high school. Tonight, he’ll play in front of about 15 to 20 friends and family, including his parents and sister.

“I’m from Ontario, but I call this home,” Porter said Saturday after the morning skate at Xcel Energy Center. “It’s a neat feeling. (My family) doesn’t get to see me play every day. It’s different obviously on TV than seeing it live, so whenever you get a chance to play in front of family, friends or anybody that you know, it’s always special.

“To do it here in Minnesota is fun as well.”

Porter will take Steve Ott’s place on the Blues’ effective fourth line. Ott sustained a groin injury last night vs. Edmonton and didn’t make the trip.

“Hopefully I can just add to what they’ve done,” Porter said. “They’ve been great over the last three weeks. Obviously it’s tough to see (Ott) go out, but it’s an opportunity for me. I’m just going to try and create some energy and physicality and add to what they’ve done.”

Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock credited Ryan Reaves with the line’s recent success. Hitchcock said Reaves has been forcing a lot of turnovers, including four on one shift Friday vs. Edmonton.

“He’s really brought his game to a new level,” Hitchcock said. “His awareness on the ice, his stick positioning, everything’s caught up. He’s not chasing checks, he’s not chasing the game, he’s really playing well. It’s a good line, and it’s a line that can play effective.”

Said Reaves, “I think we’re running into trouble when we have three guys running around, trying to bang bodies. We’re playing more patient now.”

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POSTED ON Friday, 11.28.2014 / 3:54 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

ST. LOUIS - With Brian Elliott sidelined for a few weeks with a lower-body injury, Blues goalie Jake Allen will be between the pipes tonight (and for the foreseeable future) when the Blues host the Edmonton Oilers at 7 p.m. at Scottrade Center (FSMW, KMOX).

“It’s an unfortunate injury to Ells, a guy that’s been playing great all year,” Allen said after the morning skate. “He’s a big part of our team, but I’m looking forward to doing my best, treating it like another game, and hopefully he gets back soon.”

Jordan Binnington, who has a 1.89 goals-against average and a .925 save-percentage in nine games with the Chicago Wolves, will serve as the backup.

But due to Binnington’s lack of professional experience, the Blues invited Martin Brodeur to join the team for practice. Depending on the severity of Elliott’s injury and how Brodeur looks, the Blues could sign the future Hall-of-Famer to backup Allen before next week’s road trip to Chicago, Nashville and Long Island.

No matter what happens though, Allen is enjoying having Brodeur around.

“He was one of my favorite goalies growing up, so it’s pretty cool to have him around,” Allen said. “Hopefully I get to know him a little bit better the longer he’s here. He’s a guy with so much experience…you can’t have enough of that on the team.”

“I know Brian Elliott and Jake Allen have been doing a great job. I’m not here to disturb anything with what’s going on here,” Brodeur said. “There’s a need for somebody to help Jake right now with Brian being out. I’m just glad they’re giving me a good look here.”

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 11.25.2014 / 12:24 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

ST. LOUIS - Just three days removed from facing the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre, the teams will meet again tonight, this time in St. Louis (7 p.m., FSMW, KMOX).

In the first meeting, the Blues earned a tough 3-2 win thanks to Alexander Steen’s game-winning goal in the second period. Brian Elliott made 24 saves against his former team, and Alex Pietrangelo had two assists.

Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson expects to see a similar game tonight.

“Like we saw in Ottawa, (they’re) a tough forechecking, skating team with a lot of skill, especially on their power play,” Gunnarsson said. “Since we played them a couple of days ago, we kind of know their lineup and how they play a little bit more. We tried to bring it. And so did they. A lot of hits, a lot of battles.

“Essentially that’s where you’re going to lose the game, in the one-on-one battles, so that’s where we’ve got to be strong tonight.”

The Blues are looking for their third consecutive win after dropping the first two games of their road trip last week.

“I think the thing you have to be ready for is the tempo,” Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said. “The tempo of the game is very fast. They play very fast, they’re fast with the puck, fast without the puck, they put a lot of pressure on you and you have to be ready for it.”

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POSTED ON Monday, 11.24.2014 / 2:21 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / DraftKings Fantasy Report

Alexander Steen is heating up.

The Blues forward has points in back-to-back games entering Thanksgiving week. He scored his fourth goal of the season Saturday against the Senators, then followed that up with a two-assist performance in Winnipeg.

Steen now leads all Blues forwards with eight power-play points this year (one goal, seven assists).

“I think the biggest difference is Steen,” Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said after the Blues' second consecutive win on Sunday in Winnipeg. “Steen and Backes are competing at a whole ‘nother level now.”

Steen has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 21 games this season.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Jaden Schwartz has points in three consecutive games. He scored his eighth goal of the season Sunday against the Jets. His 21 points this season are second on the Blues and are tied for 13th overall in the NHL.

Jori Lehtera has assists in three consecutive games. He’s recorded 13 assists this year. He ranks third on the Blues in points with seven goals and 13 assists (20 points).

SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Nov. 25 vs. Ottawa Senators
Nov. 28 vs. Edmonton Oilers
Nov. 29 at Minnesota Wild

DraftKings offers free or paid fantasy hockey options and gives players the opportunity to win real money! Participate in daily hockey leagues with no season-long commitment! To date, over $20 million has been paid out to thousands of fantasy sports winners! Go to draftkings.com to sign up today!

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POSTED ON Sunday, 11.23.2014 / 11:07 AM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

WINNIPEG - Barret Jackman will appear in his 744th career game with the Blues when the club meets the Winnipeg Jets today at MTS Centre (3:30 p.m., FSMW, KMOX).

With 744 games, Jackman will tie Brett Hull for third on the Blues’ all-time games played list.

Originally drafted by the Blues in the first-round (17th overall) in 1999, Jackman has played his entire career with the Blues. He now trails only Bernie Federko (927 games) and Brian Sutter (779) in games played.

Jackman’s milestone comes at the end of a four-game road trip, where the Blues have a chance to finish it with a 2-2 record if they can beat the Jets today. The Blues are 3-0-2 in their last five games at MTS Centre.

Meanwhile, the Jets are wrapping up a three-game home stand with today’s contest. They’re coming off a 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night but are 10-8-3 on the season, which is good for fourth in the Central Division.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 11.22.2014 / 10:41 AM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

OTTAWA - Looking for an offensive spark, the Blues are primarily focused right now on getting back to a solid defensive game.

The belief is that if you start there, the offense will come.

“The last couple games, we’ve given up a few too many odd-man rushes and maybe forced the offense a little bit too much,” said defenseman Barret Jackman. “We know that our team is defense-first. We create a lot of chances off of our checking.”

The Blues, typically a very strong defensive team, have lost two consecutive games after winning 10 of the previous 11. They’ve scored only one goal in the first two games of this four-game road trip.

“To me, unless we clean up our own end, it doesn't matter how many goals we score," Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said after Thursday’s 4-1 loss in Montreal. "We made some mistakes on our half of the red line.”

Cleaning up those mistakes starts this afternoon at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, where the Blues will meet the Senators at 2 p.m. CT (FSMW, KMOX).

The Senators are coming off of a 3-2 win against the Nashville Predators on Thursday, a game in which Ottawa scored three times in the second period. Overall, the Senators are 9-5-4 and have just one regulation loss at home (5-1-3).

A key to beating the Senators would be keeping defenseman Erik Karlsson in check. The 24-year-old Swede is one of Ottawa’s biggest offensive weapons and has 13 points in 18 games this season.

“(He’s) one of the best offensive defensemen in the league,” Jackman said. “We make him play defense, turn to get the puck and we kind of neutralize his ability to affect the game.”

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SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 35 22 8 5 101 96 49
2 CHI 34 23 9 2 106 67 48
3 NSH 32 22 8 2 92 65 46
4 STL 33 21 9 3 100 81 45
5 SJS 34 19 11 4 97 87 42
6 WPG 34 17 10 7 83 80 41
7 VAN 32 19 11 2 92 90 40
8 LAK 34 17 11 6 94 84 40
9 CGY 35 17 15 3 100 95 37
10 MIN 31 16 12 3 91 84 35
11 DAL 32 14 13 5 95 109 33
12 COL 33 12 13 8 85 101 32
13 ARI 32 11 17 4 74 104 26
14 EDM 34 7 20 7 74 116 21

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
V. Tarasenko 33 20 17 18 37
K. Shattenkirk 33 5 23 14 28
J. Schwartz 31 11 16 10 27
J. Lehtera 32 8 17 13 25
A. Steen 31 8 13 -1 21
A. Pietrangelo 33 3 17 -10 20
D. Backes 32 8 7 -4 15
P. Stastny 25 7 6 0 13
T. Oshie 25 5 7 2 12
P. Berglund 32 4 7 1 11
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 8 4 1 .931 1.82
J. Allen 11 3 2 .907 2.49

 
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