St. Louis Blues vs. Los Angeles Kings: Game Preview


The St. Louis Blues will conclude their three-game season series with the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night, attempting to end this year’s trend of the home team taking the victory. The Kings won 1-0 in a shootout on October 16 in LA, and the Blues beat the Kings 5-2 on Tuesday night in St. Louis, lengthening their win streak to five games. The Blues haven’t beat the Kings in Los Angeles since January 13 of 2011, so Thursday night’s game definitely will be monumental if they want to prove that they’re a force to be reckoned with against their Western Conference foes.

Thursday’s game will be the first this year that the Blues have played without forward Jaden Schwartz, who is out week-to-week with a foot injury that was suffered in Tuesday’s victory. It will be interesting to see how the Blues attempt to make up for Schwartz’s offensive impact, as he’s third on the team this year with 27 points (11 goals and 16 points).

Martin Brodeur will get his third start in goal for the Blues, following three straight victories with Jake Allen between the pipes. The 42-year-old has three wins on the year, as he also picked up a victory in relief of Allen against the New York Islanders on December 6.

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Beyond Brodeur, the Blues’ lineup is pretty up in the air. T.J. Oshie is expected to return to the lineup after missing Tuesday’s game to deal with the death of his aunt. The Blues will have to replace Schwartz, so it’s possible that both Magnus Paajarvi, who filled in for Oshie, and Chris Porter, who was the forward of choice among the standard rotation that now exists between him, Paajarvi, and Joakim Lindstrom, could stick in the lineup. The Blues also could elect to get Lindstrom back into the lineup or use Dmitrij Jaskin, who was recalled from AHL Chicago on Wednesday. Considering Jaskin’s potential as a scorer, he may be viewed as the most logical replacement for Schwartz, although he only has one point in six NHL games this year.

On the blueline, Carl Gunnarsson will miss another game with a concussion. Despite coach Ken Hitchock’s previous assertion that there would be a rotation for two spots among Ian Cole, Chris Butler, and Petteri Lindbohm, the actual rotation seems to have been cut down to Cole and Butler, as Lindbohm has now played in six straight games since being recalled from Chicago. If the rotation stays on schedule, tonight should be Butler’s night in the press box, as Cole was a healthy scratch on Tuesday.

Next: How Could Jaden Schwartz's Injury Affect Blues' Roster Composition?