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POSTED ON Saturday, 11.08.2014 / 12:48 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

ST. LOUIS - The Blues may be on a seven-game win streak, but you wouldn’t know it from talking to any of the players.

“Quite frankly, we haven’t had the mindset that ‘oh my God, seven wins, that’s a great accomplishment,’” said Blues defenseman Ian Cole. “For us, it’s been one game at a time. Continue to win, continue to play well.”

The Blues will need to play well again tonight if they expect to increase the win streak to eight games. The Nashville Predators (8-3-2, 18 points) come to town just one point behind the Blues in the Central Division.

“There’s lots on the line. I know it’s early in the season, but there’s already a battle for that top spot in our division,” said Blues forward Steve Ott. “These points are so crucial, they’re so important. You can see how tight the Western Conference already is. It’s going to be like that the whole year. Crucial points on the table for both teams, and I know we’re expecting the best out of ourselves.”

The Predators bring a new look this season. Peter Laviolette replaced long-time Head Coach Barry Trotz behind the bench. New additions offensively are Mike Ribeiro (10 points) and James Neal (nine points), who rank second and third respectively on the team in scoring. Center Filip Forsberg, who played just 13 games with the Predators last season, already has five goals and eight assists (13 points) this year.

Despite the changes, Cole says the Blues game plan won’t change.

“The game plan is consistent. We try to play the same way, regardless of who we’re playing,” he said. “Whether it’s LA, Chicago, Nashville or New Jersey…for us, when we play the way we know how to play, when we’re able to dictate the game, we’re very successful. That being said, (Nashville) is a very high-powered, very fast team.”

“They play the way Peter wants them to play,” added Head Coach Ken Hitchcock. “It’s pressure in all three zones, and if you’re going to beat them, you’ve got to get beyond the pressure and you’re going to have to be really good at supporting the puck. You’re going to have to really be sharp because they force a lot of turnovers.

“If you’re not sharp, you’re going to end up on your heels like a lot of teams have this year.”

Tonight is the first meeting between the teams this season. The Blues swept the season series with Nashville last season and has won 10 of the last 11 meetings.

Game time is 7 p.m. (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX 1120 AM).

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POSTED ON Thursday, 11.06.2014 / 12:31 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

ST. LOUIS - The Blues will get Paul Stastny back in the lineup for tonight’s 7 p.m. game against the New Jersey Devils (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX 1120 AM).

Stastny missed eight games with an upper-body injury.

“The last couple weeks, it’s been healing up great. Everyday has been better and better,” Stastny said after today’s morning skate. “I haven’t had a setback since day one until now, so it feels pretty good.”

Stastny sustained the injury in the Oct. 18 game against the Arizona Coyotes after being hit near the boards on his first shift by Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal. He went to the locker room and did not return.

“I put myself in a vulnerable position,” Stastny said. “I was reaching for it trying to block the puck and he just kind of went between me and the puck and had full momentum. Sometimes things like that happen.”

With Stastny’s return, the Blues are getting a big boost to the team that has already put together a six-game win streak.

“He’s just a guy that makes any lineup better,” defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said of Stastny. “He’s going to jump right in and play the right way and not detract from that. He’s someone that’s going to create more offense, be solid defensively. With our power play, he’s going to be a great asset to distribute pucks and make the right play.

“He’s just an extremely smart player.”

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 11.04.2014 / 2:39 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

NEWARK, NJ - Total team effort.

It's a cliché you hear quite often in sports, from players and coaches alike.

But the Blues gave the term new meaning Monday at Madison Square Garden.

While trying to protect a 2-1 lead in the third period, four Blues dove into the crease to give Brian Elliott all the support he needed as the New York Rangers took shot after shot trying to tie the game.

“Desperation. We gave them seven free looks at the same puck,” Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said. “When I was watching that, I thought ‘I’ve seen this before.’ When I got up this morning, I knew where I saw it. It was at the carnival.

“It was unbelievable. It was like 'oh they scored, no they haven’t.'”

The Rangers eventually did tie the game on the next shift, but the Blues took two points with a 4-3 shootout victory.

Photographer Bruce Bennett captured the goal mouth scramble with this amazing photo, which we shared with the players involved and asked them to tell us about this chaotic example of good teamwork.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 11.04.2014 / 1:05 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

NEWARK, NJ - The Blues have moved on from last night’s game, but it seems everyone is still talking about Vladimir Tarasenko’s stunning second period goal at Madison Square Garden.

And why wouldn’t they be?

Without a doubt, Tarasenko escaping three Rangers and tapping in a one-handed goal past New York’s Cam Talbot is a top candidate for the NHL’s Goal of the Year despite being just 11 games into the start of the season.

“You’re amazed. It’s good for him, but I think it’s really good for the game,” Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said Tuesday. “You wake up this morning and you’re seeing it on FOX, you’re seeing it on MSG, you’re seeing it on ESPN, TSN…it’s exciting.”

Despite the excitement surrounding last night’s game that had a little bit of everything, the Blues are focused tonight on beginning a home-and-home series with the Devils (6-3-2) at 6:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Network, KMOX 1120 AM).

The Blues are looking to extend their five-game winning streak, which is the best active streak in the League.

“There was a lot of energy in yesterday’s game that we’re going to have to get out quickly and get playing,” Hitchcock said. “It’s not exactly like we had long travel to get here, so it’s a little bit of a different feeling. Like anything else, when you have a team that’s been sitting around for three days that’s rested, I think the first period is critical. For us, our experience from a back-to-back game in Anaheim is going to help us here. We’ve got to be a little bit more ready for the first period to play our game and keep it simple. Let the game flow from there.

“The first period for me is everything.”

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POSTED ON Monday, 11.03.2014 / 12:53 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

NEW YORK - For the Blues, tonight’s game against the New York Rangers is a chance to keep a good thing going and extend the club’s winning streak to five games.

For Kevin Shattenkirk, it’s also homecoming.

The New Rochelle native grew up just a few minutes from Manhattan and Madison Square Garden, where the Blues will meet the Rangers tonight at 6 p.m. CT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX 1120 AM).

“Not too many opportunities to go home and see the family,” Shattenkirk told stlouisblues.com. “I think going home and playing in Madison Square Garden in front of my family is something I always dreamed of. I know sometimes my parents can’t believe it’s happening.”

Tonight will be just the second time Shattenkirk has played an NHL game in his hometown. The first was back in January when he scored a power-play goal in the third period to give the Blues a 2-1 victory.

“I think the first period for me was a little surreal. Walking out and seeing the historic ceiling in MSG was something I remember catching myself during the game, just looking around,” Shattenkirk said. “But it was still a hockey game. We go into the third period and get a power-play chance. I was fortunate to take a shot that kinda pin-balled into the net and would end up being the game-winning goal. You really couldn't have scripted it any better for me.”

Shattenkirk said he grew up a Rangers fan, saying defenseman Brian Leech was his favorite player of all-time. Other favorites included goalie Mike Richter and forward Mark Messier, who practiced at the same rink Shattenkirk skated at as a child.

“It’s fun to be back home,” he said. “I’m here in the summers, but to be playing in front of family and all these friends I’ve known over time saying they’re coming to the game to watch, that they’re proud…it’s an amazing feeling.”

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POSTED ON Sunday, 11.02.2014 / 2:57 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / DraftKings Fantasy Report

Does your fantasy league award points for adversity?

If it does, and if you have a handful of St. Louis Blues on your team, you’re probably going to win that category before the week even starts.

David Backes and T.J. Oshie were diagnosed with concussions last week, Paul Stastny has an upper-body injury and countless others have been infected over the last several weeks with an infection that has made its way around the locker room.

Okay, okay... so there’s no category for adversity in fantasy sports.

So which Blues are good to play this week?

How about Vladimir Tarasenko and Jori Lehtera for starters. The combo has combined for eight goals and nine assists this season, including seven points last Tuesday in a 4-3 overtime win against the Dallas Stars. In that game, Tarasenko had his first career hat trick and an assist on Lehtera’s goal, while Lehtera also added two assists.

Both players have scored at least three points in two separate road games, joining Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel and Mason Raymond as the only players to earn that distinction. Play them while they’re hot.

MORE GREAT PLAYS:

Alexander Steen had two goals and three assists last season against the New York Rangers. Against the Nashville Predators, he had four goals and an assist in five games. Luckily for his fantasy owners, Steen faces both of those teams this week.

Alex Pietrangelo played five games against Nashville last season, tallying one goal, five assists and a plus-5 rating in those games. The Blues will meet Nashville on Saturday night at home to cap off four games in six nights.

BLUES SCHEDULE THIS WEEK:

Nov. 3 at New York Rangers
Nov. 4 at New Jersey Devils
Nov. 6 vs. New Jersey Devils
Nov. 8 vs. Nashville Predators

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, 11.01.2014 / 12:38 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

ST. LOUIS - David Backes will be back in the lineup tonight after missing one game with a concussion.

Backes sustained the injury after being hit by Stars defenseman Trevor Daley in the first period on Oct. 28 in Dallas. Backes took some time to get to his feet and skated off to the locker room. He didn’t return to the game.

But yesterday, he was back on the ice for practice and felt good again after today’s morning skate.

“Backes will play, but don’t go to the bank on the rest of the lineup,” Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said. “Some guys that skated today felt good, some guys didn’t feel great. We’ll just take it through the day.”

The Blues are still dealing with a bacteria infection that has affected many players on the roster over the last few weeks.

On the injury front, the Blues will not have T.J. Oshie (concussion) or Paul Stastny (upper-body) available tonight.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 11.01.2014 / 10:35 AM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

ST. LOUIS - Ten children dressed up in Halloween costumes Friday at Scottrade Center and pretended to be something they considered to be “cool” and “special.”

A ninja turtle. A princess. Pippi Longstocking. Even a big yellow banana.

But those costumes only concealed something much cooler: the courageous and inspirational child underneath.

Blues employee Kyle Worman hands out candy to children from Friends of Kids with Cancer who trick-or-treated through the offices of Scottrade Center on Friday. MORE PHOTOS >>>

All 10 of those children are battling cancer. Through an affiliation with Friends of Kids with Cancer, the Blues invited the children to the rink on Friday morning to trick-or-treat through the front office, where employees surprised them with candy.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Randy Girsch, the Blues’ director of community relations. “It’s a great inspiration for everybody that meets the kids…they’re so inspired by what the kids go through and how they pull through it with a smile on their face.

“It’s an inspiration for me, the players and our staff.”

The gesture comes just one day prior to the Blues’ annual Hockey Fights Cancer game, which will be held Saturday vs. Colorado. The team will raise money for St. Louis area cancer research organizations through a special silent auction and Hockey Fights Cancer T-shirt and lapel pin sales.

Friends of Kids with Cancer, which helps children and their families find distractions from their conditions, is one of the organizations that will benefit.

Before trick-or-treating through the front office Friday, the children made spooky arts and crafts for Halloween and watched the Blues practice on the ice.

“This was a different Halloween experience,” said Hannah Uhlenbrock, the Blues’ community relations manager. “They’re trick-or-treating in a hockey arena, and I think they’ll remember it for a long time.

“That’s what we work for… to get these kids to smile. I think we succeeded today.”

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POSTED ON Thursday, 10.30.2014 / 12:36 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

ST. LOUIS - If that old adage about “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is accurate, the Blues are going to be an incredibly strong team in the near future.

That’s because in the early going, whether it’s injuries or the bacterial illness circulating through the club, the Blues have faced more than their fair share of adversity.

Here’s what they’re dealing with tonight (that we know of):

David Backes won’t play. He’s been diagnosed with a concussion after being hit by Stars defenseman Trevor Daley in the first period Tuesday in Dallas.

T.J. Oshie won’t play. He slid hard into the goal post Tuesday and began feeling concussion symptoms on Wednesday. He also has been diagnosed with a concussion.

Joakim Lindstrom is the latest to be dealing with the bacterial illness that has worked it’s way around the team. It’s uncertain whether he’ll be able to suit up tonight, either.

Paul Stastny, although practicing with the team, is still out.

“Some seasons are smooth, and some seasons are scrambles. We’re in scramble mode,” Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said after the morning skate. “Nobody’s feeling sorry for us. We’ve got to get two points. We’ve got to keep pace with everybody until we get a lot of these players back in. We can’t get too far away from the pack.”

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 10.28.2014 / 2:08 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

DALLAS - Carl Gunnarsson will make his Blues debut tonight in Dallas, where the team will face off with the Dallas Stars at 7:30 p.m. at American Airlines Center (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX 1120 AM).

Gunnarsson has been rehabbing a hip injury sustained last season and was medically cleared to play recently. The injury required a six-month recovery period, so it’s been awhile since he’s seen game action.

“Usually you get a couple exhibition games in and it takes a couple of games to get in that 100 percent mode,” Gunnarsson said. “I guess I’ve got to work on stuff to get it back quicker than usual, but whatever it takes. It’s just something you’ve got to get in the fire, burn yourself a little bit. That’s how you get used to it.”

Gunnarsson describes himself as an all-around player. Nothing flashy, more defense than offense. He’s been getting a good look at the Blues’ system from the press box, trying to get a feel for how he needs to fit in.

“Whenever I’ve been watching games, it’s been figuring out the (penalty kill), whatever system we’re doing, breakouts and all that. It’s a good way to try to learn,” Gunnarsson said. “That’s the only thing you can do from up top. I’ve been trying to pick stuff up. …But it’s another thing to execute it on the ice at game tempo, too. I just have to get in there. It’s hockey. Just relax, play your game, stick to the system. Don’t overthink stuff.”

Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said Gunnarsson would start on the third defensive pairing tonight, with the hope that after a few games, he moves up to the second pairing.

“He’s a smart player,” Hitchcock said. “I don’t think he’s overwhelmed by this. He just wants to get playing. We’ll monitor his minutes and we expect to get good 5-on-5 minutes. I don’t think we’ll use him killing penalties yet, but we’ll see how he looks.”

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SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 22 13 4 5 60 54 31
2 STL 21 14 6 1 57 43 29
3 NSH 20 13 5 2 57 42 28
4 CGY 22 13 7 2 71 61 28
5 VAN 20 13 6 1 61 60 27
6 LAK 21 11 6 4 57 49 26
7 CHI 20 12 7 1 62 40 25
8 SJS 23 10 9 4 62 64 24
9 WPG 22 10 9 3 45 51 23
10 MIN 19 11 8 0 54 43 22
11 DAL 21 8 9 4 61 72 20
12 ARI 22 9 11 2 54 67 20
13 COL 21 7 9 5 53 67 19
14 EDM 21 6 13 2 49 74 14

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
V. Tarasenko 21 12 11 15 23
J. Schwartz 21 8 13 9 21
J. Lehtera 20 7 13 12 20
K. Shattenkirk 21 1 15 8 16
A. Steen 21 4 10 2 14
A. Pietrangelo 21 1 10 -3 11
D. Backes 20 6 4 -3 10
P. Stastny 13 3 3 -5 6
P. Berglund 20 2 2 -1 4
C. Gunnarsson 14 1 3 6 4
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 8 4 1 .927 1.90
J. Allen 6 2 0 .923 2.00

 
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