Blues try to extend home streak vs. struggling Bruins
After closing out 2011 as the hottest team in the league, the new calendar year hasn't been as kind to the Bruins.
The Blues have yet to drop a regulation game at home in 2012.
St. Louis puts its franchise record 21-game home point streak on the line this evening as it looks to deal Boston its first three-game slide since late October.
The Blues have been one of the more dominating teams this year on home ice, where they are 26-3-4 this season and haven't lost in regulation since Dec. 3. They have gone 18-0-3 at Scottrade Center since and sit fourth overall in the Western Conference with 79 points, five back of Detroit for first place.
St. Louis comes into this test having won five straight at home and outscoring its opponents 16-3 in that span. However, the club fell to 10-13-3 on the road this season with Sunday's setback in Chicago and kicks off a six-game road trip tomorrow night in Nashville.
Goaltender Brian Elliott was coming off a shutout win over the visiting Wild on Saturday and held the Blackhawks off the board through the first two periods before getting beat twice in the final frame. Chicago added an empty- net tally to hand St. Louis a 3-1 defeat.
"We're a team right now that needs everybody to play at a high level for us to win on the road," said St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock. "The way we're built, we don't have offensive players to carry us. So if guys are not up to task it reflects on our game."
Elliott made 24 saves and Andy McDonald scored in his third straight game for the Blues, who had won six of seven coming in. Patrik Berglund and Jamie Langenbrunner each posted an assist for a third straight game.
Langenbrunner, though, suffered a broken left foot in the loss and was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. He is expected to be re-evaluated in four weeks.
Goaltender Jaroslav Halak was scratched for the past two games due to the flu, but is expected to serve as at least the backup tonight after Ben Bishop was sent back to the minors. McDonald is also questionable due to flu-like symptoms.
The Blues have a chance tonight to deal the Bruins their first three-game slide since Oct. 22-29. Boston followed that season-high slide by winning 10 straight and 21 of their next 24, but have gone 11-11-1 since Dec. 31 and now own just a two-point edge over Ottawa for first place in the Northeast Division.
The Bruins have lost six of nine this month and have been shut out four times in that span. That includes Sunday in Minnesota, where Boston was dealt a 2-0 setback.
Tim Thomas allowed two goals on 29 shots as Boston fell to 1-2 on a six-game road trip.
"We're just shooting it right back into the goaltender. ... That's what happens when things aren't going your way," Bruins head coach Claude Julien said.
The Blues have won nine of their last 11 versus the Bruins, with three of the past six encounters ending in shootout fashion. That includes St. Louis' 2-1 victory at Boston in the lone meeting last season.
The Bruins have won their last two trips to St. Louis and haven't lost in regulation as the road club in this series since Dec. 18, 1999.