With Andy Mac down with a head injury, or possible concussion. Evgeny Grachev the prospect the Blues got in a trade with the New York Rangers has a chance to shine here. Grachev is best known in New York for his inconsistency. Assuming that he gets plugged in with Backes and Langenbrunner, I would expect Backes to take center as the Blues want Grachev to be a winger. This will actually bode well for the young prospect as he built some quick chemistry with Langs in the preseason. Grachev is a big body at 6’4″ 224 lbs, like Berglund he needs to use his size and strength to protect the puck and use his stick handling skills to get to the net.
Once again though the Blues are bitten by the injury bug in the beginning of the year and its to a top line forward. This time around the Blues are prepared with offensive depth. Something Blues fans have not seen since the lock out.
Tonight the Blues square off against the San Jose Sharks at 9 pm central. The Sharks still pose a threat even after trading away Setoguchi, and Heatley. The trades brought back Brent Burns, and Martin Havlat, stabilizing their defense while still maintaining their offense. Havlat’s scoring was a bit suppressed in Minnesota as it was a defensive system in place. But if you go back when he was with the Hawks still produced and a pretty good clip.
The Sharks still have Stanley Cup winning goaltender Anti Niemi, with some decent back ups with Nittymaki and Tomas Greiss. The play of the goalies will be key tonight as Halak is still looking to get into a groove and prove that the Blues traded for the right goalie in Montreal.
Blues played a bit weak in the 1st period in Dallas the other night. Then turned it on in the 2nd and 3rd periods. The Blues are still struggling to find consistency and chemistry among 3 out of 4 lines. The line that is not struggling is the Oshie, Berglund, Stewart line. This line has been absolutely electric so far in this short season registering points in every game this season. If San Jose wants to shut down the Blues they will have to shut down the number 2 scoring line with their best defensive pairing. Berglund, Oshie, and Stewart all possess arguably the slickest hands in the NHL, they all can handle the puck and all look to pass to the right spot for some pretty goals