The Blues offense have received a spark in their offensive production writes the St. Louis Dispatch’s Tom Timmermann. It’s been the shifting of lines that has opened up the scoring for the Blues, who were struggling to put the puck in the net. Timmermann reports that Hitchcock began tinkering with his lines after the second period began during their 4-2 vicotry over Boston, and success was born. Timmermann adds that Hitchcock is a big fan of Jaden Schwartz and Paul Stastny on a line and they’ve seen a bump in their production with the pairing. Timmermann also writes about Jake Allen’s dominance in net, stopping all 64 shots he’s faced in third periods dating back to November 3. In his last four games, Allen has allowed two goals or less, and has posted a .953 save percentage.
In other Central Division news:
- Mark Lazerus writes that the Blackhawks’ stars are struggling on their long Circus Trip that takes them away from Chicago for seven consecutive games. Lazerus reports that while the bigger name players filed out of the locker room after a 5-0 loss to Edmonton, it was Corey Crawford who stayed to answer the tough questions for the teammates who have been bailed out several times by his performances this season. Lazerus goes on:
Jonathan Toews hasn’t scored a goal in seven games, and hasn’t had a point in all four games on the trip. Patrick Kane hasn’t scored on the trip, and has one goal in his last seven games. After his blistering start, Artem Anisimov has no goals and one assist in his last six games. Artemi Panarin — who is emerging as one of the Hawks’ most important players, given his line’s consistently great possession numbers, and given the way he has rejuvenated Marian Hossa the same way he elevated Kane’s play last season — has just one goal in his last six games. Even Richard Panik, who actually led the NHL in goals through six games, hasn’t scored in 14 games, and is pointless in his last 10.
About the only one who Lazerus feels is pulling his weight on the trip is Hossa, who has helped the Hawks through a tough road trip where they’ve managed to come back several times from large deficits and poor performances.
- The Nashville Predators stunned the hockey world when they acquired P.K. Subban and according to the defenseman’s parents, the change has not been as simple as people thought it would be. Adam Vingan writes that the transition to Nashville has been made simpler because Montreal wasn’t always the best fit for him. But it doesn’t completely cushion the shock that Subban felt when he was dealt. His parents are both confident that he will acclimate to his new surroundings because P.K. is one who “never halfheartedly tackles life’s problems.”
- In other Preds news, Matt Carle and Cody Bass were waived tweets Chris Johnston. Carle was signed to a one-year deal for $700K back in July. Cody signed a two-year deal back in June.