Playing at home may help St. Louis Blues break into the win column for the first time this season. Playing a team it’s dominated for much of the last decade can’t hurt either.
St. Louis again will try to give new owner Dave Checketts his first win Thursday when it meets the Boston Bruins at Scottrade Center.
The Blues (0-2-1) stayed winless this season after a 2-0 loss Sunday to Anaheim. The defeat was the St. Louis’ eighth in a row overall dating back to last season and extended its franchise-record road skid to 12 games.
Against Boston, though, St. Louis has 10 wins and two ties in its last 13 matchups since December 1996. The Blues also have won five in a row from the Bruins (1-2-0) since a loss in January 2001.
Blues forward Keith Tkachuk, a Melrose, Mass. native, said he’s ready to hit the home ice for the first time this season.
I can’t wait to get home,” he said after the loss to the Ducks. “There’s nothing better than playing at home—especially coming off a difficult road trip like this. Our power play didn’t do much, so that’s very disappointing.”
St. Louis converted just one of 16 power-play opportunities in its first three games this season. The Blues’ five goals thus far are third-fewest in the Western Conference behind Edmonton and Calgary.
“Obviously, we didn’t get the results we wanted. But it’s a long season and hopefully it’ll turn around soon,” Tkachuk added.
The Blues finished last overall in the league in 2005-06, ending a run of 25 consecutive playoff appearances. After sale of the team was approved in June by the league, Checketts—the former head of Madison Square Garden and the NBA’s New York Knicks—said he and new president John Davidson “will do what we need to do to bring a championship” to St. Louis.
The Blues have dropped six of their last eight home openers, including five one-goal losses.
Boston, meanwhile, has lost two of three to start the season, including a 4-1 loss Wednesday to Atlanta. The Bruins’ P.J. Axelsson tied the score at 1 early in the second period, but goaltender Hannu Toivonen gave up goals to Scott Mellanby and Glen Metropolit 68 seconds apart late in the period.
Toivonen, who is splitting time in net with Tim Thomas, recorded Boston’s only win this season after making 29 saves in a 3-2 win Saturday over Tampa Bay. Boston’s 14 goals allowed are the most of any Northeast Division team.
“We are not a team yet,” Bruins coach Dave Lewis said. “We have to grow together. We have to identify what’s important to be successful.”
Defenseman Zdeno Chara notched his fifth assist in three games in the loss.