Preview: Montreal at St. Louis
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 16, 2016
Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
The St. Louis Blues have been ravaged by injuries and could be without another of their top players when they host the skidding Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night. Alexander Steen, the Blues’ second-leading scorer with 39 points, exited Thursday’s game after taking a stick to the mouth from teammate Kevin Shattenkirk to put his status in doubt for Saturday.
St. Louis had a modest two-game winning streak halted with a 4-1 setback versus visiting Carolina on Thursday to lose for the sixth time in eight games (2-3-3). Montreal’s offensive woes continued in a 2-1 loss to red-hot Chicago on Thursday and now faces a back-to-back against the Blues and Blackhawks over the weekend. The Canadiens are 4-14-0 over their last 18 games and have scored two goals or fewer 14 times in that span, but are hoping for the return of 11-goal scorer Dale Weise, who was hurt during the Winter Classic. Montreal blanked St. Louis 3-0 on Oct. 20 as part of its season-opening nine-game winning streak.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NHL Network, TVA, SportsNet (Montreal), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (23-18-3): Montreal made a minor deal that could have a major impact on the All-Star Game when it acquired forward John Scott and defenseman Victor Bartley as part of a three-team deal in exchange for defenseman Jarred Tinordi and forward Stefan Fournier. Journeyman Scott not only was voted to the All-Star team but was named the Pacific Division captain, prompting the league to announce it will review the deal as to how it impacts the Pacific roster. Coach Michel Therrien paired center Alex Galchenyuk with David Desharnais on Thursday and said he could stick with the alignment.
ABOUT THE BLUES (25-15-7): The absence of Steen would further deplete a lineup that is already missing starting netminder Jake Allen, defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Carl Gunnarsson, and forwards Jaden Schwartz, Steve Ott, and Magnus Paajarvi. Coach Ken Hitchcock gave his team off following a flat effort in the loss to the Hurricanes. “We got nothing. We got nothing,” Hitchcock said after the loss. “We don’t have any energy. We’re running on fumes right now. You can get upset by it, but we’ve got to play a game on Saturday. We’ve got to focus on Saturday. We’ve got to find some energy.”
1. C Tomas Plekanec, Montreal’s second-leading scorer, has one goal in his last 28 games.
2. Blues G Brian Elliott is 4-3-1 with a 3.21 goals-against average versus Montreal.
3. The Canadiens are 1-for-16 on the power play in 2016.
PREDICTION: Canadiens 3, Blues 2