Boston Bruins at St. Louis Blues
Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Blues have answered a disastrous 1-7-2 stretch with wins in four of their last five contests, including consecutive overtime triumphs that moved them within three points of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Blues aim to continue their recent surge on Wednesday when they host the Boston Bruins, who have dropped three of five in their bid to push Tampa Bay for the top spot in the East.
Captain Alex Pietrangelo has led by example with seven points (three goals, four assists) in the last two outings, resulting in St. Louis’ 4-3 overtime win over the New York Rangers on Saturday and a 5-4 triumph versus Chicago the following night. “Obviously you want to win every game in regulation, but right now we just need points, especially two. … These last two games, (if) you want to get in, you gotta win games like that,” said Pietrangelo, who was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week. The Bruins fell on the wrong side of overtime on Monday, spoiling the impressive NHL debut of U.S. Olympian Ryan Donato. The 21-year-old Boston native and son of former Bruin and current Harvard ice hockey coach, Ted Donato, scored a goal and set up two others in a 5-4 setback to Columbus, one day after signing his entry-level contract.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TVAS
ABOUT THE BRUINS (45-17-9): Brad Marchand, who leads the team in goals (31), assists (44) and points (75), increased his point total to 20 (nine goals, 11 assists) in his past 12 games with a goal and an assist against the Blue Jackets. David Krejci also tallied on Monday for his sixth goal this month, and joined fellow forwards Patrice Bergeron and former Blues captain David Backes in each scoring in a 3-1 win over St. Louis on Feb. 1. Backes (leg) and Bergeron (fractured right foot) have been ruled out for Wednesday’s contest, with the former expected to miss multiple contests while the latter could return to game action at some point during the team’s four-game road trip, general manager Don Sweeney said.
ABOUT THE BLUES (39-28-5): Vladimir Tarasenko’s availability against Boston is murky at best after he missed Sunday’s tilt versus the Blackhawks after sustaining an upper-body injury in Saturday’s tilt. “We were hopeful that he was going to be able to come to the rink and practice today, and once we determined that wasn’t going to happen, then I would say that he’s doubtful for tomorrow,” coach Mike Yeo said on Tuesday. Alex Steen is expected to replace Tarasenko (team-leading 27 goals) on the top line with Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn (club-best 35 assists, 60 points).
1. St. Louis rookie D Vince Dunn has seven points (one goal, six assists) in his past seven games while former Boston LW Vladimir Sobotka has five (two goals, three assists) in the past five.
2. Bruins G Tuukka Rask improved to 5-2-3 in his career versus the Blues after turning aside 32 shots in the first encounter.
3. St. Louis owns a 19-9-1 mark against Eastern Conference representatives while Boston is 5-4-1 versus Central foes.