St. Louis Blues (39-12-6) at Vancouver Canucks (27-24-9)
|Date & Time||Wednesday February 26, 2014, 10:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Vancouver Canucks / St. Louis Blues --- Over/Under:
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
In Vancouver there are a lot of Canucks fans that are hoping the Olympic break was exactly what this hockey club needed to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. The Canucks enter Wednesday night's meeting with the Blues on a seven game losing streak and things are starting to look pretty bad as they've slipped out of a playoff spot for the time being. Canucks fans seem to place all the blame on general manager Mike Gillis, and some on this core group of players that has been around for a while now, but the addition of John Tortorella behind the bench never made any sense. While it might please fans in Vancouver to see their head coach berate players they feel are underperforming, it would be quite damning if this roster was unable to make the post season after five consecutive berths under his predecessor. Tortorella has also done a wonderful job of turning the Sedin twins into mediocre players and continued to make a fool out of himself by being unable to control his emotions. Those types of things might not seem like a big deal to outsiders but when players sense hypocrisy from their head coach it's always a recipe for disaster. Vancouver just can't score goals and it's something that they'll need to address quickly with one of the best teams in the league coming to town. The St. Louis Blues are looking to use these final 20+ games to get their game to the level they'll need to make a serious run at a Stanley Cup in April. St. Louis is in the position that the Canucks are familiar with, being a team that has had several very good regular seasons but always flamed out in the post season. The Blues could use an upgrade in goal with Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliot unlikely to get the job done when it matters most, but it appears they're looking to upgrade by adding a player like Ryan Callahan from the New York Rangers. The Blues are tied with the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division and they've posted a 17-7-3 record on the road this season. Come the playoffs the Blues will most likely have to go through Chicago if they want to get to the finals and they're going to need to find a way to keep scoring while still being a very good defensive team. An upgrade in goal could be what puts this team over the top in the post season but it remains to be season if they're willing to make that move. These two teams are heading in opposite directions at this point of the season and if the Canucks want to start salvaging their playoff hopes they need to get off to a good start here over the final month.