A few days ago, I chatted with Laura (@hildymac) site manager of St. Louis Game Time to find out how the Blues are doing leading up to the playoffs.
JEN: The Blues made a major move just before the trade deadline to bring in Ryan Miller. How has he done so far?
LAURA: I think he's done very well. After catching a couple of Halak's games with the Capitals and comparing his performance to Millers, I would say it's an upgrade. This isn't necessarily because of the numbers, because St. Louis and the Caps are two totally different teams (and one of them's good right now!) but as far as body language, awareness, and other intangibles, I've noted a difference. There's some confidence there that didn't seem to be there under Halak, and I like it.
Miller's had a couple clunkers in net, like the 4-0 loss to the 'Hawks. I certainly don't think he's perfect, and he needs an adjustment time after coming from a team who allowed high shot totals every game (even when they were playing well). But all in all I'm happy with him. Now Steve Ott, on the other hand...
JEN: Most Blackhawks fans are pretty familiar with the big names on the Blues roster, but part of the team's strength this season has been in secondary scoring. Which players have been making the difference?
LAURA: Recently, just Jaden Schwartz, since the secondary scoring has dropped off big time since Vladimir Tarasenko hurt his hand against the Preds. Schwartz has been just excellent this season. His 23 goals aren't a total surprise, but let's just say there might be a few more goals in there than some people'd expect. I really think that after this season, he'll be one of the guys that opposition teams focus on and try to limit as much as possible.
JEN: What, if anything, do the Blues need to change or improve upon to make a run of it in the playoffs and possibly to the Stanley Cup Final?
LAURA: Someone other than the top line and Schwartz scoring'd be cool. At the trade deadline, I was hoping for the team to figure out some way to boost their offense, and they got Steve Ott. After the last two seasons against LA, where the Blues' defense has been solid and Elliott has played very well, I'm paranoid about the team's lack of scoring ability. That's why Los Angeles has been able to knock them out two seasons in a row - defense might win championships, but when you don't score at all, it doesn't really matter.
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