A Preview: First Blues and Red Wings Game of 08-09 Season
Who's Hotter? is the question that you have to ask when you see this game.
The Blues have been streaking, winning their last three games. A close shootout against the Toronto Maple Leafs, a crushing defeat of the Dallas Stars, and a thriller that ended in another shootout against the Chicago Blackhawks and their brand new coach. (Joel Quenneville used to coach the St. Louis Blues and left for the Colorado Avalanche, and lost his first game against his former team, with his new team. Say Ha-ha, everybody.)
Among the Blues, Brad Boyes, Keith Tkachuk, Paul Kariya, and Andy McDonald have been among the best players in the NHL.These four have been the driving force behind the best powerplay in the league (40.9 percent—A number that dreams are made of). This is a strange phenomenon, considering that the Blues had the worst powerplay last year.
Something that means better things to come?
Meanwhile, the Detroit Red Wings shook off their hangover after their embarrassing defeat to the 1-2-0 Toronto Maple Leafs. Their looking decent, despite getting pushed to 2 OT's by the surging New York Rangers, which they won, and the Vancouver Canucks, which they lost.
Tomas Holmstrom's team-leading 5 goals and Brain Rafalski's 5 assists are looking to help their team this Wednesday.
Now Keys to the game....
For the Blues:
Manny being Manny
Manny Legace will have to play yet another good game in net for the Blues. Unless, the Blues plan to play the up-and-coming Ben Bishop. This 6'7 210 pound beast is a St. Louis native and 1 of the 2 leading goal prospects in the Blues system, along with Southpaw Marek Schwarz.
This game seems like the type that will either be a blowout or a very close game. But Jay McKee, Eric Brewer, Steve Wagner, Alex Pietrangelo, Barret Jackman, and Roman Polak will have be on their game to keep the Red Wings at bay.
Lighting the Lamp
The Blues will have to stay hot on the powerplay and capitalize on the mistakes that the Red Wings make.
The comeback of the Blues No. 2 sniper below Brad Boyes is a surge in the arm of the offense for the Blues. While he had a very bad year last year, he was poised during the pre-season to be among the Blues' best scorers. Can he make an impact in his first game back after being day-to-day with a hurt knee?
Now on to the keys for the Red Wings...
Where's the "ON" switch?
I'm referring, of course, to Henrik Zetterberg, although it's still early on in the season, he's not looking like the point leader he was last year. With only a goal and 2 assists in 5 games, he's going to have to step it up to win. Brian Rafalski cannot be the point-leader for the Stanley Cup Champions.
Osgood or Os"Is this how you play goalie?"
I wonder if the good Chris Osgood will show up or the Chris Osgood that let in six goals at the All-Star Game last year.
Ice the Fans
Sorry, no clever name here. But the Blues have home-ice advantage and a Scottrade Center full of crazy screaming fans. That is more than enough to turn a one-goal lead in to a five-goal lead. Just ask the Dallas Stars.
I could be right, I could be wrong. But we will all find out on Wednesday when the St. Louis Blues take on the Detroit Red Wings at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
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