St. Louis Blues vs. Florida Panthers: Game Preview


The St. Louis Blues face the Florida Panthers for the first time in 2014-15 on Monday night at Scottrade Center. At 11-7-7, Florida is performing better than they have in recent years, and they’re not a team that the Blues should take lightly despite their past reputation of ineptitude.

The Blues will get an opportunity to face old friend Brad Boyes, who played in St. Louis from 2006 to 2011. The prime of Boyes’s career came in St. Louis, as he had a career-high 43 goals in 2007-08 and registered 72 points in 2008-09. While his point totals have dropped off significantly in recent years, Boyes has solved the problems that plagued him the most in St. Louis and has developed into a more solid all-around player, no longer coming anywhere near the disastrous minus-20 rating that he posted in 2008-09.

It’s still a mystery, however, if the Blues will be able to reciprocate the reunion with their lone former Panther, Jay Bouwmeester. The defenseman has missed the team’s past seven games with a groin injury. Bouwmeester apparently looked good while skating with the team on the road last week, though his return has continually been delayed, so at this point it’s best to just take a “wait-and-see” approach with him. If Bouwmeester is ready to go, he’ll likely replace Carl Gunnarsson in the lineup, as the defenseman suffered an injury which looked a lot like a concussion in the Blues’ Saturday defeat of the New York Islanders and will probably be out on Monday.

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The rest of the Blues’ lineup is a mystery. It’s unclear what the defensive lineup will be, as coach Ken Hitchcock made the biggest shake-up of the season to date on Saturday by replacing Ian Cole with 21-year-old rookie Petteri Lindbohm. If he keeps things the same tonight, it will firmly entrench Cole in the doghouse, where he seemingly has been for much of his Blues tenure.

The forward corps will also be fluid, as Alexander Steen’s status is uncertain following an injury that kept him out of Saturday’s game. If there’s one thing that is a near lock, it’s that forward Joakim Lindstrom will remain in the lineup Monday after notching his first three assists of the season on Saturday. Lindstrom, who turned 31 on Friday, replaced Steen at the last minute, which allowed him to break out of a stint in which he had been a healthy scratch following a period of little productivity.

Martin Brodeur will get the start in net for the Blues in what could be a big momentum game for the goalie position. With Brodeur having picked up the win on Saturday in relief of Jake Allen, another positive performance on Monday could begin questions about whether Brodeur deserves to get the majority of the starts rather than Allen, who had been pegged as Brian Elliott‘s primary replacement. That certainly wouldn’t be the most cost-friendly solution, as Brodeur makes $20,000 in bonuses per win, the first of which came on Saturday in New York.