There's something to be said for a little national exposure, and that's exactly what the Blues are getting tonight as their tilt against the Los Angeles Kings will be the game of the night on Versus. Granted, yes, that does mean sitting through Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury, and that does mean having to listen to them talk about Sidney Crosby's excellent return last night ("Two goals! Two assists! - and we will mention that 50 times!"), but it's still national tv. In the past with the Versus team, T.J. Oshie seemed to be the only player that they could identify past the numbers on the back of their jersey, so thankfully for everyone in the broadcast crew, Oshie's back in tonight.
Oh, wait - Jaroslav Halak is back in net tonight too, so assumedly the broadcast team'll know who he is. He's been absolutely dominant against the Kings since he's arrived in St. Louis, going 5-1-0 last year with a 1.76 GAA and a .933 SV%. He's also snagged a shut out. It's a lot more comfortable now to quote Halak's individual team stats considering how outstanding he's been playing since Ken Hitchcock took over. Since the new coach started, he's had a shutout and no regulation losses. His save percentage is up to a .895 and his GAA is a tolerable 2.52. If the past week or two has been any indication of what's in the future for Halak under Hitchcock, then good things are ahead.
The Blues are currently 9th in the Western Conference, with the Kings sitting just one point above them with two more games played. These teams are evenly matched. With scoring the only Kings' goal in Saturday's 4-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, Mike Richards has netted six goals in the last seven games, so he should be someone that the Blues will be keeping an eye on (as well as Pierre. We all know his propensity for being excited about LEADERSHIP!). Regardless of Richards, the Kings don't exactly have the best record against the Blues, going 4-12-1 in their last seventeen games. They don't tend to have the best luck against the Blues in general, though the last time these two teams faced off the Blues were steamrolled 5-0. This isn't the same Blues team, and this isn't the same Jaroslav Halak as on October 18th. Hopefully the Kings aren't ready for that.