The Blues have not been playing well as of late (disclaimer: the Blues are my favorite hockey team, but I'm very honest about them - they're playing terribly horribly awfully as of late). After a franchise best 9-1-2 start through November 7th, they have gone 6-10-4 since then. Their offense is on pause without David Perron (who suffered a concussion on November 2nd after being hit by the Sharks' Joe Thornton), T.J. Oshie (broken ankle on November 10th against the Blue Jacket's) and Andy McDonald (concussion against the Oilers on December 4th). Their defense is just now operating at full blast since Roman Polak returned last night - he had been out since October 30th because of an accidental lacerated wrist sustained after colliding with Sidney Crosby's skate. Erik Johnson, Barret Jackman, Carlo Colaiacovo, and Alex Pietrangelo have also missed time, leaving Eric Brewer as the only Blues' defenseman not missing a game.
Top scorer David Backes has just seven goals on the year and 24 points, while top goal scorer Alexander Steen has nine goals. In contrast, the Thrashers have four players with ten or more goals, and two players (Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd) with over thirty points. The Blues are 23rd in the league, scoring only 2.47 goals a game, while the Thrashers are fourth in the league with 3.26 goals a game. To compare, their last three games, the Thrashers have scored fifteen goals. The Blues, in contrast, have scored six.
Defensively, the Blues tend to allow 2.75 goals a game and the Thrashers 2.74, so they're fairly evenly matched in that respect. Both teams' goaltenders have had off seasons as far as comparing backups to backups, which is probably what we'll see in tonight's game since this isn't a divisional match-up.
|2010 - Ty Conklin
|2010 - Chris Mason
Mason might be able to exploit his knowledge of a St. Louis team that he played with for two seasons. A decent number of the players are the same as he played with, with the exception of just a few, and he is also familiar with coach Davis Payne's system. All time, the Thrashers are 5-6-1-1 against the Blues. Recently the teams have been more and more evenly matched, and as the season progresses, it's becoming clear that the Thrashers might be out-matching the Blues tonight.