After Crushing Monday Night Loss, Can St. Louis Blues Rebound Tuesday Against Boston Bruins?


After blowing a 3-0 lead on Monday night and suffering a 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, can the St. Louis Blues hang with the surging Boston Bruins on Tuesday?

The St. Louis Blues will certainly have sufficient motivation heading into the second end of a back-to-back on Tuesday night against the Boston Bruins. After taking a 3-0 lead against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night, the Blues fell apart through the closing minutes of the second period and into the third, giving up four unanswered goals to Philadelphia as a few defensive miscues and downright freak occurrences propelled the Flyers to a lead. It’s difficult to say that goaltender Jake Allen was bad, but it was very frustrating to see the Blues fail to retain a 3-0 lead that should have been decisive 30 minutes into the contest.

The Blues will have a tough task on Tuesday, as they’ll be facing a Boston Bruins team that is in second place in the Atlantic Division with 42 points and has won its past three games, as well as five of its past six. Boston isn’t remarkably better than the Blues in terms of team composition–like the Blues, they have three double-digit goal scorers, as well as an elite puck facilitator in David Krejci–but they have the added advantage of having been off on Monday, and they played at home on Sunday afternoon. Thus, the Bruins will basically have had two full days of rest, compared to about 17 hours for the Blues. We’ll have to see if the Blues, who are 0-3 in their last three back ends of back-to-backs after starting out 2-0 in them, can display some endurance again in Tuesday’s game.

Coach Ken Hitchcock already said going into Monday’s game that Scott Gomez would come out of the lineup Tuesday and be replaced by newly recalled forward Jordan Caron, who had scored seven goals in his past nine games for the AHL Chicago Wolves prior to his promotion. Assuming that forward Robby Fabbri, who briefly exited Monday’s game with an injury, is healthy enough to play against Boston, it appears that that plan will stay in place.

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It’s unknown how the lineup will be configured minus Gomez; no one on the projected fourth line of Caron, Scottie Upshall, and Ryan Reaves has substantial face-off experience, while Fabbri and Dmitrij Jaskin, who do have experience at the center position, have thrived as of late on the third line, so neither player deserves a demotion to the fourth line. Though he’s a natural winger, Upshall has taken some face-offs this season when the center has gotten kicked out of the circle, so he seems to be the most likely candidate to center the fourth line on Tuesday.

Though newly-recalled defenseman Joel Edmundson did make a mistake on the Evgeny Medvedev goal that allowed the Flyers to take the lead on Monday, it’s likely that the Blues will stick with the same defensive pairings on Tuesday and keep Robert Bortuzzo as a healthy scratch for the 10th straight game. The only possible exception would be if Carl Gunnarsson, who missed over a period on Monday night with an injury before returning, is too sore to go in the second end of the back-to-back against Boston. In that case, coach Ken Hitchcock will have to make some adjustments in order to facilitate a double-righthanded defensive pair. That move would most likely feature Kevin Shattenkirk moving over to the left side, with Edmundson pairing with either Bortuzzo or Colton Parayko.

Since Jake Allen gave up four goals on Monday night, it figures that Brian Elliott will get back in between the pipes against Boston. Elliott performed very well in his last start, getting his first win since October 18 while stopping 36 of 38 Calgary Flames shots.

Next: Blues Recall Joel Edmundson, Jordan Caron; Demote Petteri Lindbohm

Here’s how the Blues’ lineup could end up looking on Tuesday evening:

Magnus PaajarviPaul StastnyVladimir Tarasenko

Alexander Steen-David BackesTroy Brouwer

Robby FabbriJori LehteraDmitrij Jaskin

Jordan CaronScottie UpshallRyan Reaves

Jay BouwmeesterAlex Pietrangelo

Joel EdmundsonKevin Shattenkirk

Carl GunnarssonColton Parayko

Brian Elliott