Roberto Luongo made 14 first period saves to keep things scoreless after 20 minutes between the Blues and Panthers in Florida tonight.
His biggest save came 5:45 into the first period when he robbed David Backes of a sure goal. The Blues captain had a wide open net, but Luongo managed to get enough of the puck with his glove to keep it out.
The Philadelphia Flyers couldn’t have felt great about their slim playoff hopes when Steve Mason went down with his knee injury. For better or worse, it’s on Ray Emery, and Sunday is the kind of game he has to win.
Since taking over for Mason in February, Emery’s gone 1-0-2. The 30-year-old’s overall numbers aren’t much to brag about (9-9-3 with a .890 save percentage), but this stretch will probably make a big impact on how the league views the pugnacious puck-stopper going forward.
On the Buffalo side, Michal Neuvirth gets a chance to stretch his legs in the Sabres’ net with Jhonas Enroth shipped off to Dallas.
The situations are quite different, yet both netminders have plenty to prove today.
Blues at Panthers: Brian Elliott vs. Roberto Luongo
Lightning at Sharks: Expected starters are Ben Bishop against Antti Niemi
Capitals at Ducks: Expected starters are Justin Peters vs. John Gibson
Hossa along with linemates Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad have combined for nine goals and eight assists in the four games
“I think right now Johnny, me and (Saad) we’re having lots of chances so we just continue to put the puck at the net,” said Hossa. “We try to do more things obviously when you have more confidence the puck is with you and you try to do a little more.
“At the same time, you try to keep things simple and put the puck at the net.”
The Blackhawks remain four points back of St. Louis for second spot in the Central Division. The Blues also have a game in hand.
Quenneville is keeping his expectations realistic with 26 games remaining.
“We always think we’d love to be in first place in our division, a lot comes with that, but at the same time, we’ve got to shoot for reality, and that’d be St. Louis,” he said. “And we’ve got work to do.”
Dmitrij Jaskin has been having a nice run lately for the St. Louis Blues. It probably doesn’t hurt that the Blues employ some impressive forwards to support him, with Alexander Steen being among the standouts.
The stretch pass Steen sent to Jaskin was a work of art on Thursday:
The Blues have largely been taking it to the Tampa Bay Lightning so far tonight. We’ll see if that carries over through the remainder of the game.
Update: St. Louis won in an impressive fashion by a tune of 6-3.