With all the attention that the other streaky Central Division teams were getting, it’s probably easy to ignore what the St. Louis Blues have been doing at home. The Boston Bruins shined a bit of a spotlight on that by beating them 4-2, ending the Blues’ franchise-record 21-game points streak in St. Louis.
Granted, it’s a points streak, not a winning streak. The Blues came into tonight’s game with a dazzling 18-0-3 record in their last 21 games in St. Louis, as they hadn’t lost a home contest in regulation since the Chicago Blackhawks beat them 5-2 on Dec. 3, 2011.
Brad Marchand scored twice while Chris Kelly and Milan Lucic also contributed to the 4-2 win as Tim Thomas edged Brian Elliott.
What this game means
Either way, this could be a nice reset for the Bruins and a test for the Blues.
Boston had been struggling a bit – at least relatively speaking – but beating a team as formidable and defensively adept as St. Louis could help them get back on track. The Ottawa Senators briefly “tied” the Bruins with 72 points tonight but now Boston has 74 and four games in hand.
St. Louis is hitting a tiny rut with recent struggles against the Central Division and two losses in a row. Once the Detroit Red Wings really revved up their home run, it was probably time for the Blues to kiss their division title hopes goodbye, but the young team needs to stay committed to make their thin-margin-of-error style work.
Perhaps they learned a little something from Boston, then, as the Bruins were once a lot like them.
The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.
Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.
The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)
The hope was that the Columbus Blue Jackets would be jolted into a great, long winning streak, and their season would be saved.
The reality of John Tortorella’s first month behind the bench has been, well, reality. The Jackets are 8-7-0 since Todd Richards was fired. Better than 0-7-0, sure, but at 8-14-0 overall, they remain last in the Eastern Conference.
Fifteen games in, Tortorella is still trying to get his message across.
“A big reason why we bring them in (to practice yesterday and today) is because we don’t have a full understanding of the standard we need to be at in all areas of the game,” he told The Columbus Dispatch. “Some things you can’t control in our game, but it’s how hard you play, how hard you are with your bite as a team, and the pace you play with – you can control that.”
The Jackets play Wednesday in New Jersey, where they’ll look to shake off Sunday’s disappointing home loss to San Jose. Columbus held a 3-1 third-period lead in that one. The Sharks scored four straight to win 5-3.
The San Jose Sharks have signed forward Dainius Zubrus to a one-year, two way contract, the club announced today.
Zubrus was given a tryout with the Sharks last week.
The 37-year-old played 74 games with the Devils last season, scoring just four goals with six assists. His contract was then bought out.
According to a Mercury News source, the decision to sign Zubrus lay “mainly” with his former coach in New Jersey, now San Jose’s bench boss, Pete DeBoer.
“He looks good,” DeBoer said of Zubrus last week, per CSN Bay Area. “He looks close. It’s tough to find six-foot-four, 215-pound guys who can play. … He’s an easy guy to play because he’s defensively reliable. He plays a big possession, heavy game. There’s a lot to like there.”
In a related move, the Sharks have reassigned forward Nikolay Goldobin to the AHL.