Derek Roy will be back in the Blues’ lineup tonight (versus Minnesota) after missing two games with a shoulder injury, and he’ll be centering a third line — with gritty veterans Steve Ott and Brenden Morrow — for which coach Ken Hitchcock has high hopes.
“The line that we’re playing together with Roy on it has played three times together before, and all three games they’ve played really well together,” Hitchcock said, per NHL.com. “It’s three veteran guys that know how to read off each other. Obviously Ott takes a lot of the faceoffs and ends up down low in our zone.”
Roy, Morrow, and Ott are all pending unrestricted free agents who may or may not be back with the Blues next season. The first two signed one-year deals in the offseason; Ott was acquired in a deadline trade with Buffalo, along with pending-UFA goalie Ryan Miller.
“I want to see [the line] play consistently well before we evaluate whether we’re going to stay with it or not,” added Hitchcock. “I’m not 100-percent sure yet.”
The Blues are gearing up for one of the most important playoff runs in franchise history. St. Louis has never won a Stanley Cup, but there’s a strong sense that could change this spring, despite a very tough Western Conference.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: