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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:51 am 
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SUNRISE, Fla. -- The St. Louis Blues, with four wins in their first four tries for just the second time in franchise history, will take their traveling hockey show to the BB&T Center on Thursday night.

The Blues, who will challenge the host Florida Panthers (1-1-0), have been winning despite a massive amount of early-season injuries.

Forwards Alexander Steen (left hand), Patrik Berglund (shoulder surgery), Robby Fabbri (knee surgery) and Zach Sanford (shoulder surgery) are all out. Fabbri is gone for the season, Sanford needs months of rehab, Berglund could be back by December, and Steen could return by the end of this month.

On defense, the picture is not as bleak. First-pair defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (left ankle) is the only one injured on the blue line, and he could possibly return within one week.

Despite all the injuries, Blues coach Mike Yeo said he will not make excuses -- and neither will his players.

"The guys who are filling in know they have to perform," Yeo told reporters in New York following the Blues' 3-1 win over the Rangers on Tuesday. "And our veterans have really raised their games and delivered in a big way."

St. Louis, which opened this season as 26-1 shots to win the Stanley Cup, is certainly playing better than that prognostication.

Starting goalie Jake Allen owns a 2.50 goals-against average in three games and backup Carter Hutton beat the Rangers on Tuesday while stopping 32 shots, including 16 in a wild third period.

New to the Blues this year is Brayden Schenn, a forward acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers, and he has already made a difference with two goals and three assists.

"It's no secret -- we're missing top guys," Schenn told the media. "But guys are stepping up, and that's what it takes to be a good team. We're 4-0 -- we'll take it."

The Panthers aren't off to quite that type of start, splitting their first two games with the high-flying Tampa Bay Lightning.

New Panthers coach Bob Boughner has quickly established himself with his players, who voiced their approval of his system and his communication skills.

Boughner, a first-time NHL head coach, read a book called "Legacy" shortly after being hired by Florida. The book is about the New Zealand national rugby team, known as the All Blacks, and how they became world champions.

A 46-year-old former NHL defenseman from Windsor, Ontario, Boughner is hoping some of the lessons he learned from Legacy will inspire his players.

"I think every coach tries to put his own touch on a team," said Boughner, who served as an assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks the past two years.

"For me, examining this (Panthers) organization and seeing the ups and downs, I think it's important to create a great environment for them to come to the rink every day. I know as a former player that when you come to the rink and it's a great environment, it makes you want to work harder."

When Boughner speaks of the Panthers' ups and downs, there have been many more downs than ups for the team, which missed the playoffs in 14 of the past 16 years.

Even when the team won its division in 2012 and 2016, the Panthers were unable to sustain that momentum to the next season.
Boughner's presence, however, brings hope that the Panthers' revolving door -- four head coaches in the past four years -- will stop spinning for a long while.

And it's not just Boughner -- it's his entire coaching staff that has the Panthers excited.

"They are clear, concise and confident in everything they do," Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad said. "They are always on the dot, making sure we keep our pace. In between periods, they have great insight on how to counter the other team."

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:47 pm 
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Forwards

Vladimir Sobotka - Paul Stastny - Vladimir Tarasenko
Jaden Schwartz - Brayden Schenn - Ivan Barbashev
Magnus Paajarvi - Oskar Sundqvist - Dmitrij Jaskin
Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Chris Thorburn

Defense

Joel Edmundson - Alex Pietrangelo
Carl Gunnarsson - Colton Parayko
Vince Dunn - Robert Bortuzzo

Goalie

Jake Allen

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:53 pm 
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Can we go 5-0? Even if we lose this one, a 4-1 start is pretty impressive with the injuries we've had to start the season.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:33 pm 
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I'm excited to see how Barbashev does with Schwartz and Schenn.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:33 pm 
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Honestly happy Thompson isn't playing. I'm all for giving the kids a chance but he's just physically not ready. He will be, but not now. Dude needs to bulk about about 30-40 pounds and he'll be a wrecking crew out there.

Panthers 2
Blues 1 (OT) - Barbashev

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:50 pm 
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The Blues did a great job on this penalty Kill until they take a 2nd penalty. They kill off the 4-second 5 on 3, but must have a tired crew of PKers. Allen makes a great save! And a few more! And they kill off the 2nd!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:58 pm 
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Upshall's got to learn to lift the puck!! - along with several other Blues.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:00 pm 
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More great saves from Allen! He's really moving well!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:04 pm 
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Thorburn finally shows his stuff. I'd still rather have him waived and claimed, or sent down to The Wolves or Rampage.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:08 pm 
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Luongo has played very well, too. The Blues need to start skating hard.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:13 pm 
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Blues on the PP! Let's score! Super save by Luongo!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:15 pm 
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No goal, but The Blues worked that PP well, getting several good chances.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:41 pm 
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Nice shot by Stastny, scoring on the PP. But no time to enjoy it, as Panthers score seconds later. Boo!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:43 pm 
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Way to hang onto that lead for a whopping 12 seconds. :facepalm:

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:45 pm 
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And now The Panthers score a shorty on the PP, on a breakaway. A weak last minute.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:47 pm 
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Luongo with a super save, preserving The Panthers' 1-goal lead.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:16 pm 
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The Blues had better score on this 5 on 3.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:22 pm 
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Dunn rushes up and wrists it in! Blues trail by 2. Too bad it came so late.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:26 pm 
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The Blues' tiring road trip and several games played in a few days finally caught up with them. It was going to happen some time. Starting out 4-1 with a whole Top 9 line out and their #2 defenceman also out, isn't too bad. They'll go home and start winning again. Other than this tired game, Yeo has had them playing very well.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:44 am 
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Well you can't go 82-0 but 5-0 would have been nice.

Robb, in terms of semantics Bouwmeester may be the #2, but do you honestly think he's that high in terms of his actual worth to the team? I think Pie, Parayko and Edmundson are infinitely more valuable to the team, and Bouwmeester is absolutely expendable if the opportunity arises to offload him.

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