St. Louis Blues: March's 5 Biggest Games

Steven ConklinCorrespondent IIFebruary 28, 2012

St. Louis Blues: March's 5 Biggest Games

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    The St. Louis Blues only made one move at this year's NHL trade deadline, dealing Ben Bishop to the Ottawa Senators for a second-round pick in 2013. 

    Bishop has flourished in the AHL this season, but made no contribution to the Blues' successes this season.

    The front office's inactivity shows how confident they are about the current roster and the possibilities for St. Louis this season.

    With a little more than a month left in the regular season, St. Louis is headed for crunch time. 

    March will decide what seed the Blues hold in the postseason, making it the club's most significant month.

    Here are the Blues' five most important games in March. 

March 1: At Vancouver

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    No one said this month would be easy. 

    The Blues finish their current Canadian road trip in Vancouver on March 1. 

    Vancouver is the NHL's best team and will provide more of a challenge than any other club St. Louis faces from here on out. A win would cap a successful road trip and give the Blues momentum.

    Holding off the deadly Sedin brothers and the rest of the Canucks' offensive onslaught would instill more confidence in the league's best defense.

    This is a must win.  

March 6: Chicago

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    The St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks meet three times in March: once in St. Louis and twice in the Windy City. In their last meeting, Chicago earned its second straight win over its rival, rallying to beat the Blues 3-1.

    St. Louis hasn't beaten the Hawks since November 8. Winning this game in St. Louis is crucial simply because doing the same in Chicago, where the Blues haven't played well, is even more challenging.

    The Blues need to grab a win on March 6 for insurance purposes and to stay atop the Central Division. 

March 11: At Columbus

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    The Columbus Blue Jackets are the NHL's worst team. Yet in their last meeting, Rick Nash and company upset St. Louis 2-1. 

    The Blues can't lose to Columbus again. 

    St. Louis meets Columbus three times in March. The game on the 11th will be the second meeting. 

    Why is it so important? The Blues begin a seven-game road trip with this game. A win would set the tone for the rest of the trip.

March 17: At Tampa Bay

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    Normally, a Tampa Bay-St. Louis matchup wouldn't carry much significance. But March 17th's meeting is big for the Blues. 

    The Lightning have the NHL's worst goaltending, led by senior-citizen Dwayne Roloson. The team has given up an embarrassing 212 goals this year. 

    St. Louis' offense has been weak at times this season, making this opportunity a great one for Ken Hitchcock's boys.

    If the Blues can put up three or four goals on the Bolts, it would be a huge boost to their young offensive stars.

    And they better.  

    St. Louis is 31-0 when scoring three or more goals this year. 

March 27: Nashville

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    No team was more active at the NHL trade deadline than the Nashville Predators. The Blues' division rival added forwards Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gastaud, making it clear the Preds are pushing for the Stanley Cup.

    And they're not just dreaming.

    With Pekka Rinne in net, Nashville might be the Central's most dangerous team late in the season. 

    By March 27th when these teams meet, I expect Nashville to be closer to Detroit and St. Louis in the race for the Central's top spot. 

    The final matchup between these clubs will be March's biggest game for St. Louis. 

    It's a must win if the Blues want to hold off Nashville heading into the final week of the regular season. 

    Steven Conklin is a contributing writer for the Bleacher Report and a student at the University of Central Missouri. He joined B/R in October 2011 and is currently a B/R intern. Any comments, questions or suggestions are more than welcome.