Martin Brodeur is suffering from a sprained ankle, Matt D'Agostini is being tested for concussions, and Evgeny Grachev returns from Peoria tonight in a game that could promise to be one of the lower scoring affairs of the night.
After a pretty solid 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators Tuesday night, the Blues get to spend some more time away from home in a vacation destination that is at the top of everyone's list: Newark. With the minimum of play between these two teams, the Blues haven't visited New Jersey since March 2010, when they beat the Devils 1-0. Last season's match-up was in St. Louis, and the Blues took that one as well by the score of 3-2. The reason the score was so "high" in that game is that St. Louis native Mike McKenna was in net for the Devils and not their traditional acrobatic and aging netminder, future hall of famer Martin Brodeur.
The Blues won't face Brodeur tonight, either. He injured his ankle in the Devils' last game against the New York Rangers, and was key in their 1-0 shutout of the top team in the East. With Brodeur down for now, Johan Hedberg should be getting the start. Moose is a more than capable back-up goaltender sporting pretty solid stats (13-7-1, .909 SV%, 2.52 GAA) for a team that had to rely on him immensely at the start of the season. You can't automatically count New Jersey out when you see their back-up goaltender in net, nor should you. Of course, chances are good that he'll be squaring off at the opposite end of the rink from Jaroslav Halak. Halak is 4th in the league in save percentage (1.97; Brian Elliott leads the league at 1.66) and is 13th in the league with a .922 SV%. You probably won't see too many pucks go past him.
Tonight is Jamie Langenbrunner's first game back at The Rock since he was traded to the Dallas Stars last season. Langenbrunner captained the New Jersey Devils from 2007 through his trade in January of last year. Former Devils stalwart Jason Arnott is still out tonight and will miss the game with a bruised shoulder, so he won't get this chance to play against his former team. Former Blue Cam Janssen is looking forward to his chance to see his old teammates, though. According to NJ.com, he's also looking forward to beating them as well as scrapping with former roommate B.J. Crombeen:
"I actually like it even more," he said. "People ask me that all the time: 'How do you fight somebody you know and are friends with?' I get more pumped up when I fight somebody I'm close to. It's competitiveness, that's what it is.
"It's not like I hate the guy or want to hurt him. 'I want to beat you up because we're competitive and I want my team to get more charged up. I want to win this fight because it's part of the game and I want to be better than you.' That's why I work so hard. This is what we do."
Hopefully for Janssen's sake he'll be facing off against Crombeen and not Ryan Reaves.
Matt D'Agostini's being held out of tonight's match as a precautionary measure thanks to a hit from Ottawa's Jared Cowen Tuesday night that sent him to the locker room and ended his evening. The Blues have recalled forward Evgeny Grachev from the Peoria Rivermen to take D'Agostini's place until he recovers. D'Agostini is the fourth (in theory) top nine forward that the Blues are without; Alexander Steen and Andy McDonald are also missing time with concussions and Arnott, as mentioned, will also be out.
Puck drop tonight is, of course, and early one at 6:00. What better excuse to scoot out of work early to miss rush hour than a hockey game?