|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ETNaN:� BRT, January 2, 2018
Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri Attendance: 18,324
Blues hope for spark vs. Devils
New Jersey Devils at St. Louis Blues
- The Devils ended 2017 by losing their last two games (0-1-1) and surrendering power-play goals in back-to-back contests for the first time since mid-October. Their 5-2 loss at Washington on Saturday dropped New Jersey a point behind the Capitals atop the Metropolitan Division, although the Devils do have two games in hand.
- Although the Blues edged Carolina on Saturday, 3-2, they've still lost seven of their past 10 games, which translates to the second-lowest point percentage (.300) in the league since December 12. St. Louis is currently third in the Central Division.
- The Blues' 3-1 victory at New Jersey in November extended their winning streak in the series to eight games. In addition, the Devils haven't won at Scottrade Center since edging St. Louis, 4-3, on December 30, 2008.
- While Taylor Hall ranks second in the NHL with 44 takeaways in 2017-18 (Mikael Backlund, 44), teammate Blake Coleman has recorded at least one takeaway in each of his last 12 games, the longest active streak in the league. Another Devil, Travis Zajac, sports the NHL's second-longest active streak (seven games).
- Vladimir Tarasenko has tallied three points in each of his last three games against the Devils. The last Blues player with a streak that long against any opponent was Keith Tkachuk versus the Rangers between 2003 and 2005 (three games). The last NHL player with a four-game streak against any opponent was Sidney Crosby versus the Thrashers/Jets between 2010 and 2012.
- Jake Allen has never lost to the Devils, going 6-0-0 with a 1.17 GAA and a .952 save percentage over six career starts. The winning percentage (1.000) is the highest while the GAA is the lowest among all active goaltenders who have faced New Jersey at least five times.
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ST. LOUIS -- Desperate times called for desperate measures.
Searching for anything to give spark to an offense rendered listless since Jaden Schwartz's ankle injury on Dec. 9, St. Louis Blues coach Mike Yeo went with an 11/7 (11 forwards/seven defensemen) formation against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.
The move made sense, giving the Blues insurance in case defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who was returning from injured reserve, wasn't 100 percent.
It also paid off, thrusting fourth-liners Kyle Brodziak and Scottie Upshall into more prominent offensive roles. Brodziak and Upshall scored in the Blues' 3-2 victory over the Hurricanes.
Prior to the Saturday win, St. Louis lost five of its previous six games.
"It was a tough month for us for sure," Brodziak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Having trouble scoring goals. ... We know we're a better team than we've shown in the last month, and it's something we've just got to build back up again."
Though the 11/7 formation is not considered a long-term fix, Yeo wouldn't rule it out for the Blues' Tuesday night home game against the New Jersey Devils.
"For one, 'Bouw' hasn't been in for a while, to give him a chance to protect (himself)," Yeo said after the Carolina win. "The guys have been playing well. I thought it freed up some opportunities to get a little extra ice time to some guys up front. There was a couple things that came into it."
The Blues hope it is the start to better things in 2018.
"The game of hockey is never perfect, it's never X's and O's," Upshall told NHL.com. "You have (23) guys you can use on every different night, and tonight was an opportunity for guys like Brodziak, 'Maggie' (Magnus Paajarvi) stepped in and did a great job, and 'Barby' (Ivan Barbashev) was doing everything he's asked and more. Just an opportunity for everyone to take bigger steps to move this group in the right direction without 'Schwartzy' (Jaden Schwartz), not to mention what 'Bouw' was able to do back there was huge. He was a big force and didn't look like he missed a step."
The Blues have won eight straight games against the Devils dating back to Jan. 21, 2014, and have won 11 of the last 12. New Jersey hasn't won at St. Louis since Dec. 30, 2008.
New Jersey enters the game trying to snap a two-game losing streak. The game will be the second stop on a four-game road trip.
With a 5-2 loss at Washington on Saturday, the Devils fell out of the top spot in the Metropolitan Division. The setback came one night after a 4-3 overtime loss to the visiting Buffalo Sabres.
"Kind of looked a little tired," Devils forward Kyle Palmieri said. "We weren't ready for puck drop, and that's a good team that was sitting here waiting for us. I think it's one of those things, we knew we had to be ready. It's their building, it's a loud building, it's a fun atmosphere to play in. We just weren't quite ready for it."
Updated January 2, 2018