David Perron's back after an absence stretching over a year. The power play has needed the creative forward's scoring touch, and what better time to get it back than against the Blackhawks at home?
Today has been a day that Blues fans have been anxiously awaiting since November 4th, 2010: the return of David Perron. Each month that drug by with no word on his condition, or no word on his return, was agony for fans of a team who've seen their power play dwindle without him (and Andy McDonald). No fun and flashy dangling play, no Kid Line, no playmaking like he could do. Tonight, against the Chicago Blackhawks, it's Perronamus. Perronakuah. Perronza. Whatever you want to call it, David Perron is back, and Christmas came early for the Blues this year.
Perron couldn't've picked a better team to come back against. Not only will tonight be a battle for the top of the Central Division, but it's a battle against one of the Blues' traditional rivals. It's at home, it's on a Saturday night, and coach Ken Hitchcock gets a chance to have the last change in lines to protect Perron if need be. He won't be eased in - Perron'll be on the second line with Patrik Berglund and Matt D'Agostini in hopes to get those two going again - but matching him up with favorable competition's necessary. You'd rather not have him out there against someone who is known for rougher play, and you certainly would like him out there against some of Chicago's slower forwards and defensemen.
Perron's always had success against the Blackhawks, and tonight he'll be backstopped by the most successful goaltender in the NHL right now. Brian Elliott, who has a 1-0-1 record against the Blackhawks also owns a 1.44 GAA against them. That's slightly higher than his league-leading 1.31 GAA. His .951 save percentage puts his nearest competition in the dust (that'd be Josh Harding with a .938). The Blues defense is tighter than a clam, allowing more than two regulation goals once in Hitchcock's 11-1-3 span. Unfortunately, the Blues' inability to score more than two goals bit them Friday night against the Colorado Avalanche, as they blew a one-goal lead in the third period and went on to lose in the shootout.
Scoring problems is what Perron's comeback will fix. When Andy McDonald returns, the situation will only get better. The plus side of the Blues' this season's been their depth; they've been this successful without Perron and McDonald. Imagine what will happen with them in the line up.