The New York Rangers bull rushed their way through the Eastern Conference before running into the red hot, opportunistic Los Angeles Kings, who took last year’s Stanley Cup. As the 2014-15 season begins tonight for the St. Louis Blues, they host the Rangers, a team they swept in the season series a year ago. In fact, the Blues have won seven of eight against the Rangers.
For the second season in a row, the Blues were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs, getting dumped by Chicago in six games. Gone is goalie Ryan Miller, who left for Vancouver via free agency, and back home is center Paul Stastny. The Blues needed an upgrade at that position and they signed the St. Louis native away from Colorado with a four-year deal.
Back to the lead the Blues offensively are Vladimir Tarasenko (21 goals, 43 points in 64 games) and Alex Steen, who led St. Louis with career-highs of 33 goals and 62 points last season.
Longtime backup Brian Elliott will get a chance to prove himself as a starter, but he’ll also be challenged by frequent call-up Jake Allen, who was outstanding last year in the minors. The Blues front office said it was time for Allen to prove his worth in St. Louis. By not signing Miller, it allowed the club to spend and upgrade other areas.
Look for Elliott and Allen to share starts early in the season as Ken Hitchcock finds which goalie is ready to take the lion’s share of the schedule.