St. Louis Blues Look to Start East Coast Swing Strong Against New Jersey Devils


St. Louis Blues Game 15/82: Tuesday, November 10, 6:00 PM at New Jersey Devils

The St. Louis Blues head to New Jersey on Tuesday to continue a four-game slate of away games and face the Devils. Two members of the 2014-15 Devils squad who now play for the Blues, center Scott Gomez and forward Martin Havlat, will be looking to make their mark against their former teammates. It will be an especially meaningful opportunity for Havlat, who will face his former franchise in his first NHL game of 2015-16 after signing with the Blues last week.

For as mediocre as the Devils franchise has been in recent years, the team is off to a solid start this season. Through 14 games, the Devils are 8-5-1, meaning that they’d be in position to make the playoffs if the postseason started today. Interestingly, one of New Jersey’s best players thus far has been former Blues forward Lee Stempniak, who was brought into camp on a professional tryout contract but impressed enough to make the team. The 32-year-old Stempniak has three goals and nine assists through 14 games, placing him only behind Mike Cammalleri for the Devils’ lead in points.

The Blues’ big, physical lineup should have a fun opportunity to knock people around on Tuesday, as the Devils’ roster features six forwards who are 5-foot-10 or smaller. It should be interesting to see how those guys hang with 6-foot-6 Colton Parayko and 6-foot-4 Joel Edmundson as they try to make things happen in the offensive zone.

Havlat will be making his Blues debut on Tuesday night, and though coach Ken Hitchcock did not divulge what line he’d play on at Monday’s practice, it can be inferred that he’ll play with David Backes and Robby Fabbri because he’s practiced with them since signing with the Blues on Friday. That could mean that Scottie Upshall, who has played on that line recently and scored a goal in Saturday’s victory over Nashville, could be a healthy scratch. However, it’s also highly possible that Upshall would drop down to one of the lower lines and replace either Magnus Paajarvi or Dmitrij Jaskin, seeing as he’s moved around the lineup enough through this season to be comfortable with either the third or fourth line personnel. With that said, if Upshall was going to move down, one would think that he would have practiced with the group he was going to end up playing with in advance of Tuesday’s game.

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Jake Allen will get his fifth start in six games in goal (and he relieved Brian Elliott in the sixth). The 25-year-old will have yet another opportunity to claim the Blues’ starting goalie job, which he seems to be seizing more and more with each game. His two shutouts through eight starts and 1.71 goals-against average are certainly helping his cause.

Allen was extremely successful against New Jersey last year, shutting them out on November 4 and then blanking them for another 56 minutes on November 6 before a bizarre sequence of events in which the Devils scored three goals in 3:25. The Blues still won that game, however, so Allen is undefeated against New Jersey in two starts and will be looking to extend that streak on Tuesday.

Here’s what the Blues’ lineup might look like on Tuesday against New Jersey:

Alexander Steen-Jori LehteraVladimir Tarasenko

Martin Havlat–David Backes–Robby Fabbri

Magnus PaajarviScott GomezTroy Brouwer

Scottie UpshallKyle BrodziakRyan Reaves

Joel Edmundson-Alex Pietrangelo

Jay BouwmeesterColton Parayko

Carl GunnarssonKevin Shattenkirk

Jake Allen

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Check out our Blues page for more updates as the team faces off against the Devils on Tuesday.