Before the game, Joel Edmundson will receive his Stanley Cup Championship ring which is incredibly cool. And St. Louis did it a step classier flying his parents in for the event.
But at 8pm Eastern time, the Carolina Hurricanes and St. Louis Blues will take to the ice to battle for important points to earn the chance to compete for the Stanley Cup in the 2020 NHL playoffs.
The Hurricanes are coming off one of their better wins of late in beating a good Vancouver Canucks team 4-3 in a shootout to gain a weekend split at home after a disappointing effort and loss on Friday. The game features one of the last returns to the Western Conference which has been friendly so far in 2019-20. The last road trip on the other side of the Mississsippi River saw the Canes return with a 4-0-1 mark. Here is hoping the Canes are again successful in this four-game stint.
On the St. Louis side, the Blues are in good position sitting atop the Central Division and tracking toward a low stress March and early April as they prepare to defend their title. The Blues do come in with two straight losses and a 1-3 mark since their break, so they should be a bit feisty trying to get back on track. The game also features the first match up against long-time Cane Justin Faulk.
My watch points follow.
‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the St. Louis Blues
1) Sebastian Aho
He has had two strong games at least on the offensive side of the puck since the break and seems to have the short bursts of acceleration that coincide with his best stretches of offensive hockey. There are signs that he is on track, and I continue to watch to see if Aho can find a higher gear and carry the team offensively for a bit.
2) The blue line on the road
Tuesday’s game is the first road game since Dougie Hamilton’s injury. Though thinner in terms of top-end defenseman, Brind’Amour has decent ability to manage match ups at home. On the road with the opposing coach having a greater ability to dictate match ups, the name of the game is being sound across all three defense pairings especially the top two. On Tuesday, I will be watching to see how the blue line holds up with the opposing team able to try to dictate and exploit favorable match ups.
My best guess is that Brind’Amour will go back to James Reimer on Tuesday. I wrote about this in a bit of detail as part of Monday’s Daily Cup of Joe. Reimer was victorious on Sunday and has also been used more and played better on the road. That said, Brind’Amour seems to have a preference for keeping Petr Mrazek elevated to at least a 1A status, so it will be interesting to see if Reimer starts on Tuesday and how the rest of the road trip plays out. Regardless of who is in net, goaltending will continue to be important.
The puck drops at 8pm on Fox Sports Carolinas!