Can The Bruins Make St. Louis Sing The Blues Tonight?

Blog of the enemy: St. Louis Game Time. Visit them. They're hilarious.

Shawn Thornton is a game time decision.

Now for some backstory, let's get to know the Blues a little:

The St. Louis Blues are the final Central Division team that the Bruins play this year, already having faced the Red Wings, Predators, Blue Jackets, and Blackhawks. They have a misleading 4-0-1 record against this division this year; in truth, the Bruins have allowed the Central five points in five games, winning three of those five games via the shootout. Only in one game against Columbus did they win in regulation, and that was only after barely beating the Blue Jackets in the shootout a few weeks prior.

The Central Division is the toughest in the West, with all but Columbus practically guaranteed playoff spots. What do the Bruins need to watch out for from this final Central matchup tonight?

For all that Bruins fans complain and fear how the team will do going forward, Blues fans don't have it easy, either. While we knew coming into the week that Matt D'Agostini (former Canadien) and Alex Steen (former Leaf!) would not be playing tonight, the team announced yesterday that veteran forward Jamie Langenbrunner won't play either, as he's out for four weeks with a broken foot. While Langenbrunner doesn't provide a huge amount of scoring, his presence on a line with Jason Arnott and Vladimir Sobotka or Matt D'Agostini has been valuable in a third line capacity - when all three players are healthy.

With the injuries to these three players, and a lack of scoring from power forward Chris Stewart, Ken Hitchcock has crafted some interesting lines for tonight. David Backes, who fought Andrew Ference in last year's Blues-Bruins game, will center T.J. Oshie and former Bruins cult favorite Vladimir Sobotka, who previously scored in his first game as a Blue against the Bruins at TD Garden last year. This line will probably take first-line minutes. On the second line will be David Perron, Patrik Berglund, and the recently-returned Andy McDonald; McDonald is a supreme skater, with ridiculous speed and control, and Perron and Berglund both have incredible hands.

Behind these two top lines, though, there's a mishmash of mediocre talent. Chris Porter, Chris Stewart and Jason Arnott make up the third line, and Scott Nichol, Ryan Reaves, and BJ Crombeen make up the fourth line. In a lot of ways, St. Louis' fourth line is much like Boston's; there's a scrappy guy at center who is great on the PK and isn't afraid of confrontation (Nichol/Campbell), a fighter who still has some semblance of hockey skills (Reaves/Thornton), and a bottom-six forward who can fill in at other roles when needed (Paille/Crombeen).

On the Black and Gold side, it's looking as if Josh Hennessy and Shawn Thornton have been swapped for each other on the fourth line, which very well could mean we'll see Carter Camper centering Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Caron in his first NHL game. What a story there, Camper - going undrafted as an undersized forward with hands and skill making it to the NHL within a year of signing an ATO with Providence. Good on him.

Here is tonight's projected lineup for the Bruins:

Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Milan Lucic-Chris Kelly-David Krejci
Jordan Caron-Carter Camper-Benoit Pouliot
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton/Josh Hennessy
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk

Dennis Seidenberg-Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask

And for the Blues:

Vladimir Sobotka-David Backes-T.J. Oshie
Andy McDonald-Patrik Berglund-David Perron
Chris Porter-Jason Arnott-Chris Stewart
B.J. Crombeen-Scott Nichol-Ryan Reaves

Carlo Colaiacovo-Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman-Kevin Shattenkirk
Kris Russel-Roman Polak

Brian Elliott
Jaroslav Halak

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