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 Florida Panthers (1-1-0), have been winning despite a massive number 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 player injured on the blue line, and he could 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…