With Ken Hitchcock now in charge in St. Louis, the Blues aren’t quite the maddening team to be a fan of anymore. Instead, as the Los Angeles Kings will find out tonight (7:30 p.m. ET on Versus) they’re more of a maddening team to face off against.
The Blues were already a talented team but having Hitchcock and his new more defensively focused system in place, it’s made the Blues a much more formidable team to deal with. In the six game since he’s taken over, the Blues have give up just six goals leading them to a 4-0-2 record. Losing twice in the shootout is no big deal because you’re still getting points and for the Blues that’s important.
Meanwhile, Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott each have a shutout while the Blues are looking a lot more nasty to deal with. The goals aren’t exactly piling on but the defense is playing tighter and the goalies are playing better. That’s all the Blues were really in need of and it’s paying off right now.
Dealing with the L.A. Kings, however, won’t be easy. Anze Kopitar is their offensive champion while Jonathan Quick has been showing why he’s one of the up and coming goalies in the NHL. Adding in guys like Mike Richards and Drew Doughty helps add a lot of sexy highlights to the Kings lineup. They’re a well-rounded team with a lot of weapons and taking the Kings lightly means you’d likely take a vicious beating.
While there’s a lot of offense to go around with St. Louis having T.J. Oshie and David Backes and L.A. rolling out Kopitar, Doughty, Richards, and more expect both teams to clamp things down in a big way and try to show off their defensive skills. While that might not sound exciting, the kind of pace these teams push makes it makes tonight’s game worth watching more than you’d think.