Tuesday night was a gutsy win. Can the Blues perform with even more adversity?
This season started off with so much promise for the Blues. As the days ticked on, injuries built up, and players wound up on the Covid-19 protocol list. Everyone expected injuries. Everyone expected a breakthrough infection or two. No one expected to be able to create nearly an entire roster out of the players who are out.
Justin Faulk, Jordan Binnington, and Tyler Bozak remain on the Coviid-19 protocol list. Binnington is eligible to return on Sunday, but it’s sounding like it might take a few more days after that to get him back into playing shape, so he may miss the home and home against Dallas.
David Perron, James Neal, Klim Kostin, Robert Thomas, Jake Walman, and Ville Husso are also out of the lineup. That’s nine players, including both of the Blues’ goaltenders, who can’t play.
The team recalled Nathan Walker yesterday as an emergency, and with only one goaltender on the roster right now (that would be Charlie Lindgren, fourth on the depth chart), they signed Jon Gilles to a one year, two way deal. With two goaltenders out right now and five games over the next week or so, chances are good Gilles may start a game if Binnington isn’t ready before the end of next week.
Somehow, despite all odds, the Blues beat the NHL’s top team Tuesday night in extra time. The Red Wings are not the Panthers, and they managed just 16 shots on net against Nashville Tuesday evening, but they’ve been playing very well this season and could contend for a playoff spot for the first time since their first round exit in 2016. Tuesday’s loss was Detroit’s first in five games.
Tonight, the Blues will be short a player again, and God willing, they’ll make it through this game with all players in one piece so they can get a little closer to an intact roster on Saturday night against the Canadiens. If Tyler Bozak is up to returning Saturday night, and Justin Faulk can return on Sunday against the Ducks, fans will breathe easier. If not, or if something else goes awry tonight, the Blues could find themselves dealing with this mess through next week.