It doesn't get any easier for the Blue Jackets.
|ST. LOUIS BLUES|
7–3–3 (17 points)
ROSTER / SCHEDULE
8 P.M. – FRIDAY, NOV. 1
ST. LOUIS, MO
FOX SPORTS OHIO
FOX SPORTS GO
This week has been, to put it lightly, challenging.
They blew a two-goal third period lead on Saturday in Philadelphia, then followed that up with a complete no-show on Wednesday at home against the Edmonton Oilers. For a team that needs pretty much everyone on board to be competitive and win consistently, the past two games have been a harsh reminder of what happens when they don't have that.
In a word: ugly.
And so begins another weekend of back-to-back games starting tonight in St. Louis, where the Blue Jackets play the first of a two-game season series against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. While the Blues have been humming along as expected with points in 10 of their first 16 games, they did get a dose of bad news earlier this week. Star forward Vladimir Tarasenko underwent shoulder surgery a few days ago and will be sidelined for five months–but the Blues do expect him back in the lineup at some point this season.
Head coach Craig Berube still has plenty of depth at his disposal, and guys like Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz are having no issue producing in the first month of the season. Jordan Binnington returns as the No. 1 goaltender in St. Louis and he's got a new defenseman in front of him, as the Blues acquired Justin Faulk from the Carolina Hurricanes a couple of weeks before the season began.
For the Blue Jackets, the recipe remains unchanged: stay out of penalty trouble, return to their speed and attacking game, and support their goaltender. If they do that, they have a chance tonight against a really good team. If they don't, it'll be another long night for John Tortorella and company.
Here's a look at tonight's projected lines for the Blue Jackets:
- Return to simplicity. There's no need for the Blue Jackets to make this harder on themselves. As mentioned above, their formula is pretty straightforward. Play hard, play fast, and be responsible away from the puck. They were completely lost in their brutal loss to the Oilers and weren't any better on Saturday against the Flyers; getting back to a simple game is the first step.
- Support, support, support. There's a reason Joonas Korpisalo wanted to turn his goalie stick into sawdust on Saturday. The Blue Jackets were atrocious defensively and gave him no chance, despite recording nearly 50 saves in regulation time.
- Don't say it...don't say it... Ok, we'll bite. The power play needs a sign of life. Maybe just a pulse.