The St. Louis Blues looked like a serious Stanley Cup contender after acquiring goaltender Ryan Miller from the Buffalo Sabres, but the mood is far less optimistic following their 3-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in their season finale.
The Blues closed the campaign with six straight losses and scored just five goals over that span. They were shut out for the final 143:59 minutes of the regular season.
A big part of their collapse was the result of injuries. The list of injured Blues forwards includes Patrik Berglund, Brenden Morrow, Vladimir Sobotka, T.J. Oshie, David Backes, and Vladimir Tarasenko. Either way, the Blues losing streak means that they will have to face the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round and they are a tough adversary even under the best of circumstances.
Petr Mrazek picked up the shutout for Detroit by stopping 23 Blues shots. The 22-year-old netminder made his eighth career start so that Jimmy Howard could rest before the Red Wings playoff series against Boston. Ryan Miller turned aside 18 of 21 shots for St. Louis.
Justin Abdelkader scored two goals, including the game-winner.
Pavel Datsyuk had two assists, making this his first multi-point game since he returned from a knee injury.
Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.
Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.
(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)
Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.
Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.
The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.
Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.
That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.
If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.
The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.