Thursday, November 30, 2017

Anaheim Ducks vs St. Louis Blues - Game 25 Recap

Ducks Bounce Back, Beat Blues 3-2
Goals: Brodziak (5,6)
Record 17-7-1

My Thoughts on Tonight's Game:
  • It took the Blues 6 minutes to manage their first shot on goal. Their second one didn't come until 9 minutes into the period on their first power play of the game.  They would go on to have 4 power plays in the game, yet they failed to produce a goal in any of them.
  • Here's my solution for a faster start. Put a line out there of Upshall, Brodziak and Thorburn to start the game and let them just go after the puck as hard and fast as they can.  Maybe that would get the other guys a little more fired up. It seems like Schwartz always has the energy.  Maybe make everyone else eat what he eats?!
  • The Power play and penalty kill are definitely "head-scratchers". According to John Kelly and Darren Pang, the spots on the power play are now up for grabs.  You have to earn your way onto the power play.  I'm sure the coaching staff and players will get it figured out eventually.
  • I've been saying for quite a while, it seems that when it comes down to a tight game, special teams is going to win or lose games for you.  Since our PP and PK have ranked in the bottom of the league all season so far, it's proving to be correct. We've lost some close games when we have failed to score on the power play and failed to kill off penalties.
  • Tarasenko and Schwartz had a 2 on 1 rush later in the first period where Vladi's shot beat the goalie but went off the crossbar.  Had that goal gone in and tied the game, maybe the result would have been different.
  • The Ducks scored very quickly in the second while the Blues were still a man short, and then went up 3-0 a couple of minutes later.
  • I think Coach Yeo used the word "desperate" in his post game. The Ducks did play as if they were more desperate to win the game. They had lost 4 in a row prior to this game and you know how mean ducks are when you get them backed into a corner. (Actually, this analogy would have been better suited for a game with Arizona, Boston, Florida or Nashville but I thought maybe a little humor was needed)
  • The Blues did a good job killing off a 4 minute penalty in the second period. Brodziak had another good short-handed scoring chance due to some good forechecking.
  • Schwartz had a couple of good chances in the 2nd also.  We just couldn't put the puck in the net. We did outshoot them 39-30.
  • Anaheim blocked 21 shots to our 12.
  • Brodziak scored twice late in the 3rd but it was too little, too late.
  • Something I've noticed and I heard former Blue, Jamie Rivers say about Parayko, but I've noticed it with Dunn now as well.  He said, "Instead of thinking that his shot from the point has to go through the back of the net, he needs to move his feet and just make sure his shot gets on net." A lot of those big slap shots are getting blocked and not getting to the net.  Getting them to the net is going to create more rebounds and scoring chances.
  • One more thought on the power play. Since we are so good at 5 on 5, why don't we play the power play as if the other team isn't a man down.  Why change anything? Just keep playing our game. Just a thought.
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB #SpreadArisLight

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Minnesota Wild vs St. Louis Blues - Game 24 Recap

Blues Bounce Back With 6-3 Victory Over Minnesota Wild
Goals: Stastny (6), Jaskin (3), Schwartz (12,13), Brodziak (3) and Blais (1)
Record 17-6-1
My Thoughts on Tonight's Game

  • I was at the game, so I like to rewatch it on the DVR in order to put my thoughts on paper.  It's hard to do when you're at the game, cheering and talking to your friends, etc.
  • This was a good "bounce back" game after the tough loss at home the night before against another division rival, the Nashville Predators. The Blues lost that one 2-0.
  • I felt like St. Louis was in control of the game pretty much from start to finish.  They had a couple of lapses, but thanks to some outstanding saves by Jake Allen in the first period they held a 3-0 lead after the first and were never in a position to lose that lead.
  • Minnesota played a very undisciplined game, taking 21 minutes in penalties. The Blues, despite struggling on the power play all season, took advantage and scored 3 times on the power play in the game.  A noticeable change to the power play included recent call-up Sammy Blais. Whatever other changes were made seemed to work as the Blues were 3 for 8 for a 37.5% success rate, nearly double their overall season percentage, which now stands at 18.1%, 20th in the league.
  • All four of the offensive lines scored goals and points again tonight.  This was the second game during the home stand that this has happened. The Edmonton game being the other.
    • Stastny-Steen-Sobotka line: 1 goal, 3 assists
    • Schenn-Schwartz-Tarasenko line: 2 goals, 2 assists
    • Upshall-Brodziak-Thorburn line: 1 goal, 1 assist
    • Jaskin-Sundqvist-Blais line: 2 goals
  • Parayko continued his good offensive play with 2 assists.
  • To show how up and down things can be, Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk had 3 consecutive shutouts a week ago, but has given up 18 goals in the past 4 games.
  • After Minnesota scored the only goal in the 2nd period, Kyle Brodziak opened the scoring in the third with an unassisted, short-handed goal when he poke checked and stole a puck on his own blue line, then skated in on Dubnyk, wristing it home high on the glove side.
  • Both teams had a short-handed goal in this game. I'm sure someone has that stat somewhere, but I'll bet that doesn't happen very often.
  • Blais scored his first NHL goal.
  • Schwartz had two more goals and now leads the team in goals (13) and points (32).
  • Thorburn had one of the longest fights I can remember seeing.  He battled it out with former Blue Chris Stewart.  Although it looked like Stewart may have landed more punches, he actually had to go to the locker room afterwards to get his nose put back in place. 
  • As good as this team has been, they lead the league in points although they have played one more game than Tampa Bay, there are still things that can be improved upon. 
    • Faceoff percentage - Blues are at 48.5% (24th in the league)
    • Penalty Kill - 76.7% (25th in the league) 
    • Power Play - 18.1% (20th in the league)
  • "Experts" say that between Power Play and Penalty Kill %, you want to be at or over 100%. The Blues are improving but at 94.8 still show room for improvement in that part of the game.
  • The Blues will wrap up their longest home stand of the season with Anaheim next Wednesday and the LA Kings on Friday.
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB #SpreadArisLight

Friday, November 24, 2017

Nashville Predators vs St. Louis Blues - Game 23 Recap

Predators Pitch Shutout Against Blues
Record 16-6-1

My Thoughts on Tonight's Game

  • Blues came out flat in first period giving up a goal just 2:32 into the game and managing just 6 shots on goal.  
  • They turned it around in the 2nd and 3rd periods, outshooting Nashville 28-16 but couldn't manage to score.
  • Nashville played a tough game keeping the Blues on the outside all night. St. Louis could never really get much into the middle and Nashville goalie Rinne didn't give up many rebounds.
  • The puck seemed to take a lot of funny bounces tonight.  It seemed like they just couldn't keep it on their sticks. 
  • Power Play was 0 for 3. I've said it before. In these tight games, if you can't take advantage of the power play you won't win these kinds of games.  A hot team who has now won 9 of their last 10, playing in front of a great goalie just got the best of the Blues tonight.
  • St. Louis even struggled to gain the offensive zone.  Nashville's defense seemed to puzzle the Blues. 
  • Bouwmeester is fitting in nicely.
  • Why does Bortuzzo get so many shots? 
  • My gut feeling is that when Berglund comes back, Paajarvi may be the odd man out.
  • Hutton's save midway through the 3rd period was the play of the game, for sure. And then to see Thorburn and Edmundson diving to clear the puck out from in front of the net was great too.  Thorburn actually got to it first.
  • Not much else to talk about. Nashville got an empty net goal for the final score of 2-0. 
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB #SpreadArisLight

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Edmonton Oilers vs St. Louis Blues - Game 22 Recap

Oilers No Match for Red-Hot Blues
Goals: Tarasenko (11,12), Jaskin (2), Schwartz (11), Schenn (9,10), Upshall (3) and Stastny (5)
Record 16-5-1

My thoughts on Tonight's Game
  • Wow! Is this team fun to watch when they play their game?! 
  • Which would you have been more surprised at the start of the season? St. Louis with all the injuries to be where they are, leading the Western Conference 22 games in, or Edmonton to be as bad as they are, given the way they looked last year with Connor McDavid in the playoffs.
  • The NBC announcers said the Oilers looked like a Jr Hockey team against an NHL team in the Blues tonight.  They were definitely giving the Blues a LOT of love. No complaining tonight from Blues fans that nobody gives us any respect. We made it hard for them to ignore us tonight.  Way to go, boys!
  • Tarasenko nearly had a hat trick, but settled for the Gordie Howe hat trick instead. For those who don't know, a Gordie Howe hat trick is a goal, an assist and a fight all in one game. (Gordie Howe was known for his brawn as well as his skill and ability to score.)
  • 12 points for the line of Schenn, Schwartz and Tarasenko tonight. 
  • All four offensive lines scored tonight. 
  • Parayko got 2 assists, and fellow defensemen Bortuzzo and Pietrangelo added assists as well.
  • I predicted after last game that #91 and #17 had been silent too long and would get things going soon.  They each added 4 points a piece tonight.
  • I saw some criticism of Tarasenko on social media that he wasn't giving 100% at times. I wondered if he maybe was nursing some soreness. (Remember, he left practice early a week or so ago and could have some lingering issue) You never know what's going on unless you're in the locker room and at the practices.  We shouldn't be so quick to be so critical. 
  • Vladi showed tonight that he is a teammate and he will do whatever he has to do to help his team. He dropped the gloves and went at it with Matt Benning after Benning put a hard check on Schenn. I've seen 91 do more forechecking, blocking shots and he proved to me tonight he's a team player. And for Pierre McGuire to say that Benning is a lot smaller than Vladi I give you this: Tarasenko 6' 225 lbs, Benning 6'1" 204 lbs. How is this a mismatch, Pierre?
  • This team just doesn't give the opponents much space to operate. It must be frustrating trying to find space and control the puck when you play against the St. Louis Blues.
  • Jaskin's goal was due to hard work, not giving up and just a great shot that beat Cam Talbot in the upper right corner and nearly hit Talbot in the head as he squatted trying to react to the shot.
  • Edmonton pulled Talbot after the Blues scored 2 goals on just 3 shots.
  • Other goals were total team efforts with some great passing and teamwork. It was a fun night to be a Blues fan.
  • Blues outshot the Oilers 40-29, but Edmonton only had 7 shots on goal in each of the first 2 periods. 
  • Blues had 18 takeaways combined with only 2 giveaways. Great defense and excellent puck possession.
  • Great start to the 5 game homestand. Blues are the only NHL team off Wednesday night but have back to back games Friday and Saturday against Nashville and Minnesota.
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB #SpreadArisLight

Saturday, November 18, 2017

St. Louis Blues vs Vancouver Canucks - Game 21 Recap

Blues Overcome 2 Goal Deficit, Beat Canucks in Overtime
Goals: Parayko (2), Sobotka (5),Edmondson (6) and Schenn (8)
Record 15-5-1

My Thoughts on Tonight's Game

  • The Blues came out with a lot of energy.  The forecheck was aggressive and I felt like St. Louis controlled the first half of the period, although they didn't seem to be able to sustain any offensive pressure.
  • Vancouver turned up the heat and controlled most of the second half of the first period.  They scored first when rookie Brock Boeser scored from the left circle with a wicked wrist shot.  Several bodies in front of Jake Allen kept him from having a legit chance at stopping it.
  • It took the Blues nearly 7 minutes before they could get even and they did so on Parayko's second goal of the season. His slapshot beat goaltender Anders Nilsson high on the stick side. Steen was in perfect position, taking away the eyes of Nilsson, and before he could react the puck was behind him. The goal was Parayko's first even-strengthed goal in over 100 games.
  • Parayko's goal ignited the offense as they continued with pressure in the Canucks' end of the ice for the last couple of minutes. 
  • Period two was renamed the "Penalty Period" as 14 minutes of them were called. It was a wild period overall with several weird and unusual things happening. 
  • Tarasenko nearly scored as his shot hits the goalie in the side and then his elbow knocked it towards the net.  It was going in when Nilsson dropped his stick and lunged for the puck with his blocker hand and stopped it just as it was nearing the line.
  • After that, the Canucks kind of took over.  They scored a short-handed goal at the 5:23 mark and a power play goal 5 1/2 minutes later.
  • The Blues bounced back when Sobotka scored from the slot at the 13:10 mark.  The possession was held in the Canucks' zone thanks to brilliant hustle and second effort by Dimitri Jaskin as he fought for and won the puck down in the corner behind the net and then again took the puck away out near the blue line as it looked like Vancouver might be heading the other way.  The puck ended up behind the net on the stick of Stastny, who set up Sobotka perfectly for the goal.
  • The period ended with a 4 on 4 and the third period started the same way, but neither team could score.
  • The Blues tied the game just 4:46 seconds into the period when Joel Edmundson scored his 6th goal of the year on a pass from Stastny. The Blues defenseman has doubled his career high in goals in the first 21 games of this season. The D-Men had 2 goals and 3 assists tonight.
  • If you couldn't watch the game, here were a few things that are hard to explain but were truly a sight to see. 1. Rogers Arena looked like a space ship. 2. Pietrangelo's save of the wrap around attempt early in the game. 3. Tarasenko's sick move between his legs to beat the defender and walk in on the goalie. Exciting stuff!
  • Schenn scored the game-winner in OT to keep his point streak alive at 7 games.  He has 5 goals and 10 assists in that stretch. Regardless of what picks Philly ends up with, this Schenn guy is the real deal and has made a HUGE difference in this team. Blues win in the trade that brought him here. Don't forget, we also got Klim Kostin in this deal. 
  • Stastny had 3 assists in the game and Dunn had 2 helpers.
  • Schwartz and Tarasenko combined for only 1 point tonight. I look for both of those guys to get going again in this next 5 game homestand coming up.
  • Blues finish the western Canada trip 2-1 and continue to lead the way in the west. 

#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB #SpreadArisLight

Thursday, November 16, 2017

St. Louis Blues vs Edmonton Oilers - Game 20 Recap

Schenn Leads Blues Past the Oilers
Goals: Sobotka (4), Steen (3) and Schenn (6,7)
Record 14-5-1

My Thoughts on Tonight's Game
  • Edmonton came out on the first shift and tested the Blues. It looked at first like we might be in for another long night. 
  • This game was physical.  Not just in the "hits" stat column but in every way. Guys getting hit with pucks, tempers flaring and extra curricular activities after the whistle were all very much a part of this game. Thorburn squared off and fought Kassian for a 5 minute fighting penalty early in the game but that was only a fraction of the bumps and bruises. It seemed like there was a lot of tension between these two teams that I wasn't really aware of.  I'm not sure what the history is there, but 42 minutes in total penalties kind of tells the story.
  • This game looked a lot more like the Blues that started the season. Good defense, smart decisions with the puck and good offensive pressure throughout the game.
  • First goal was due to a poor play by the Edmonton goalie behind his net.  Sobotka skated in to put some pressure on him and he mishandled the puck.  It squirted out in front of the empty net and Sobotka was there to knock it in. The best part was that the goal came while the Blues were shorthanded.  It was the first "shortie" of the season for them. As a reward for his goal, Sobotka was promptly hit in the side of the head by a puck off the stick of Edmondson who was trying to punch it into the offensive zone. Sobotka remained in the game.
  • Schwartz was getting attention on the bench a couple of times in the third. I hope he's ok.  We gotta have him! He's a bulldog.
  • The trend of "we scored one, now it's your turn" that started in the Calgary game continued as we allowed a tying goal exactly 29 seconds after the Sobotka goal.  It came while Edmonton was still on the power play, but would prove to be their only goal of the game. The Blues finally decided they didn't like playing the "we score, you score" game.
  • The only goal in the second period was a power play goal by the Blues, an area where they have struggled mightily this season. (16.9%, 22nd in the league) Steen poked home a rebound on an Alex Pietrangelo shot.
  • The Blues outshot the Oilers in every period but the 2nd period seemed to be where they took over the game outshooting the home team 19-12. 
  • Allen looked to be back in form as he saved 29 of 30 shots while facing last year's Hart Memorial Trophy winner, Connor McDavid and crew.
  • Upshall continued his aggressive play around the net. He went in hard in the Calgary game and continued tonight. 
  • In the third period Schenn scored twice to notch his 6th and 7th goals of the season. He scored on a 2 on 1 break with a quick wrist shot over the right shoulder of goalie Cam Talbot. The second was a beautiful play. It started with Parayko outside the right circle who passed to Schwartz in front of the goal. Schwartz one-timed a little pass to Schenn down near the goal line and he pounded it home. Schenn had several good chances in this game and could have easily had 3 or 4 goals.  I predict he will have a hat trick soon this season. 
  • I like this lineup as well as any we've had this season.  Adding Berglund and Bouwmeester in the coming weeks will be interesting. Whoever Coach Yeo decides to move out when those guys return has had a lot of ice time during a stretch of good hockey by the Blues. The depth they will bring will be important as this season trudges along. It's a long season. Injuries and fatigue will come and having had experience during all this success will be important for our backups. It's not something I've heard talked about but I feel is a very valid point.
  • It's hard to get these game recaps up on nights of late games, so please check back later the next day for my posts. Thanks for reading.  
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB #SpreadArisLight

Monday, November 13, 2017

St. Louis Blues vs Calgary Flames - Game 19 Recap

Blues Drop Second Game in a Row With 7-4 Loss in Calgary
Goals: Tarasenko (9, 10), Schwartz (10) and Steen (2)
Record 13-5-1

My Thoughts on Tonight's Game 
  • We knew that we couldn't keep up the pace we were on for an entire season, so don't panic, we still lead the West.
  • If you like to see goals then this was your game to watch. However, if you're a Blues fan then you surely weren't happy with the number of goals the other team scored, especially in the third period (5!). 
  • Yeo shook up the lines a bit by adding Beau Bennett to the Schenn and Schwartz line. Bennett had been a healthy scratch for the past four games and to be honest, I thought he looked a bit rusty out there. Tarasenko moved to the line with Steen and Stastny. Sobotka moved down to the third line with Sundqvist and Jaskin.
  • St. Louis struck first when Tarasenko scored 3:32 into the first period. Parayko made a nice drop pass and #91 flicked a wrister past the Calgary goalie, who was screened by one of his own men on the play.
  • The theme of the game of "you score, now we score" would begin to play out when Calgary answered just 1:32 later on a goal by Mark Jankowski who scored on a one-timer from between the circles right in front of Jake Allen to beat him high on the glove side. Jankowski came on the ice after the puck had entered the zone and the Blues just didn't see him and he was all alone.
  • Two-thirds of the way through the period it looked like Allen was settling in.  He made several big saves, but got beat again when Grandpa Jaromir Jagr made a nice pass to Jankowski in front of the net at the 13:45 mark to give Calgary the lead.
  • The Blues put on some nice offensive pressure right away with the Schenn, Schwartz and Bennett line and drew a penalty, to give the Blues a power play at the 15 minute mark in the first. Schwartz tied it again about a minute later after Steen broke his stick on his slap shot attempt and kind of missed the puck.  As it slid on across the ice it came right to Schwartz who buried it for his 10th goal of the season. 
  • No goals were scored in the second and Calgary turned up the defense. St. Louis could only manage 4 shots in the period. They also were whistled for a "too many men on the ice" penalty, which seems to be our favorite penalty. By the end of the period Yeo had Tarasenko back on the line with Schenn and Schwartz. Bennett dropped back and played with Sundqvist and Jaskin.
  • Starting goalie for Calgary, Mike Smith looked like he took a puck off the side of the head at the end of the first period and didn't return after the first intermission.  Backup goalie, Eddie Lack played the last two periods. St. Louis had beaten him earlier in the year at home, putting 5 in the goal against him.  I thought they would turn up the pressure and put a lot of shots on goal but Calgary protected him well.
  • Calgary scored first in the last period for a 3-2 lead but the score would more than double from there before the night was over.  
  • Steen scored 6 minutes later to knot the score again, but Calgary soon earned a power play after a scrum around the Calgary net. Jaskin had skated hard at the net and with a defender draped on him, he skated into the post.  Calgary took exception to his hard charge and tempers flared.  Sundqvist was called for roughing against two different players and ended up on the short end with 2 guys in the box while only one Flame was penalized. Coach Yeo was not happy.
  • Calgary scored on the power play, but once again the Blues answered just 12 seconds later on Vladi's second goal of the night. 
  • Just when you thought we were gaining some momentum and things felt like we would maybe win this one, the Flames scored again just 1:46 later. This time, there was no answer from St. Louis.  Calgary added two more goals, including one "empty-netter" for the final score of 7- 4. 
  • Although it seemed like we were in the game up until the last few minutes, the stat sheet shows that Calgary outplayed the Blues in some important categories. 
    • Shots on Goal: C 37 StL 24
    • Face offs: C 59% StL 41%
    • Takeaways: C 20 StL 12
  • I thought we looked a little rusty at times. Maybe the line changes knocked off some of the timing.  I try to keep things positive and not be too critical, but I would rather have seen Bennett added to the third line from the beginning. I think a week after the line of Schenn, Schwartz and Tarasenko is named one of the top three in the league it doesn't make sense to shake that up with a guy who hadn't played for 4 straight games but I'm not getting paid to coach. I understand that sometimes you gotta shake things up and that's what our coaching staff did. I stand behind them. 
  • Need to get things back on track. The Edmonton Oilers are up next on Thursday night.
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB #SpreadArisLight

Saturday, November 11, 2017

New York Islanders vs St. Louis Blues - Game 18 Recap

Islanders Avenge Early Season Loss Defeating St. Louis 5-2 at Scottrade Center
Goals: Schenn (5) and Upshall (2)
Record 13-4-1

My thoughts on the game
  • Sad day for those who knew and loved the little girl who captured Blues' fans hearts with her fighting spirit and infectious smile, as she passed away earlier today.  A moment of silence for her before the game was fitting. 
  • Go rest high on that mountain, Ari!
  • Blues surely had to play with some heavy hearts tonight.  
  • The Blues went down 3-0 in the first period and then fell into a 4-0 hole early in the second for their worst start all season. Jake Allen was pulled after the 4th goal in favor of backup Carter Hutton, but to be fair to Jake we didn't protect him very well and gave up some easy goals.
  • The Islanders came out aggressive on the forecheck and had the Blues back on their heels for nearly the whole first period. There were several possessions early where the good guys had a hard time even clearing the puck out of their own end. The way New York played was reminiscent of the way the Blues have played most of the season.
  • The Blues had their chances to score with a couple of strong possessions in the 2nd period but couldn't seem to get the puck in the net. Schwarz hit the post once and several others had good scoring chances. 
  • German goalie, Thomas Greiss was solid all night stopping 35 of 37 Blues shots, and was the #1 star of the game.
  • The St. Louis Gateway Honda dealers are getting off cheap as the power play continues to struggle.  We were 0 for 3 tonight and now 1 for 22 in the past several games. The dealers committed to $500 for every power play goal for a worthy cause this season.
  • Coach Mike Yeo said in the postgame that his squad has gotten off to a slow start for 3 games in a row now and has gotten away with it the past 2 games, but not so tonight.  He indicated that it could be due to some confidence based on past results or, as some might say "resting on one's laurels." That attitude has to disappear as it takes hard work and discipline every night in the NHL to continue to win.
  • The Blues surely have a target on their chests due to their red-hot start to the season and their overall lead in the western conference as the top team. Now, coming around for the 2nd time playing some of these teams the opponents know what they're up against when they take the ice against the Blues.  We've got to bring it even harder.
  • We outshot the Islanders 37-29 but that stat is misleading. Shots were nearly even through the first two periods and the Islanders were playing with a 4-1 lead with no need to finish with a rush of offense, yet the Blues did. Thus the shot differential.
  • Needing a fast start in the second period, the Blues went the first 6 minutes of that frame without a shot on goal. It just wasn't their night.
  • Some obvious penalties were missed, especially the stick to the mouth of Paul Stastny who had to leave in the 2nd for stitches to the mouth and reportedly had some damage to more of his teeth.  He did return for the 3rd period. The game was not determined by missed penalty calls. It was just another thing that didn't go the Blues' way tonight.
  • It WAS Veteran's night, though. St. Louis did it up right with all of the military activities. Several season ticket holders gave up their seats for members of the military. Warm up jerseys with a military theme and Jake Allen's military themed mask will all be auctioned off for military charity. Fans brought items to be donated to the military. Some guys repelled into the arena from the rafters, another handled the ceremonial puck drop and sang the national anthem.  In the 2nd intermission a group of young men took the oath on the ice, being sworn into their duties in military service. Kudos to the Blues for everything they did. Nobody did it any better from what I saw.
  • To finish on a positive note, Schenn's goal showed how lethal he can be with the wrist shot.
  • Upshall's 2nd goal of the season came after a shot on goal by Bortuzzo bounced off the goalie and laid in the goal crease, three Islanders along with the goalie were scrambling to clear the puck.  Upshall rushed the goal and poked the puck in the net. It was typical of the hard-nosed type of play Upshall always brings to the ice.
  • Three games next week in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver as the Blues head north of the border for the first time this season. Maybe a week-long road trip will help the crew get their heads together and get some things back on track. 
  • Early on, with the record-setting start, some were saying that the return of Bergulnd, Bouwmeester and possibly Sanford was not needed.  But the deeper we get into the season it's starting to become evident that we are not a perfect hockey team and some more depth may be necessary to keep things going.
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB #AriStrong #ShareArisLight

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Arizona Coyotes vs St. Louis Blues - Game 17 Recap

Blues Defense Provides All the Offense Needed to Hold Off Coyotes
Goals: Edmundson (5) and Pietrangelo (7)

My thoughts on tonight's game

  • It might not have been pretty, but it's a win and worth two points.
  • Anybody who thought the Coyotes would crawl into Scottrade, give up, roll over and let the Blues scratch their bellies were sadly mistaken.  They might have the worst record in the NHL, but it just goes to show you that it is the NHL and any team can win on any night and you've gotta bring it every game.
  • I felt like we just weren't sharp tonight, or as Coach Yeo likes to say "It was hard for us to get to our game."
  • We gave up the puck a lot more than we have in any game all year.
  • We also didn't look like the same in our forechecking game throughout the night.  At times, we did, but just not for a full three periods.
  • Hutton was outstanding! He hadn't played a game since Oct 27th, 2 weeks without playing at game speed.  He is now 4-0-0 and stopped 27 of 29 shots on goal tonight. His dad was there to cheer him on tonight, too. 
  • Both goalies, Hutton and Raanta for Arizona made some spectacular saves in overtime on breakaways.  In the end, it was Hutton who stopped both shootout attempts to seal the win for the Blues.
  • Both goals tonight came by the red-hot defense with Edmundson scoring his 5th goal of the season and Blues Captain Pietrangelo scoring the goal that tied it up in the third. Edmundson only has 9 goals in his career in 153 games played. Yet, he has 5 now in just the 17th game of the year. 
  • No offense from the Offense, but the Blues still find a way to win.
  • Power play was 0 for 3 tonight and Penalty Kill wasn't perfect, giving up a goal in three chances.
  • Shootout goals from Schenn and Steen. Tarasenko missed the net on his shot. As noted earlier, Hutton stopped both Arizona shots.
  • Schenn seems to get thrown out of the face off circle a LOT.  What's going on with that? I feel sorry for Schwartz who has to come in after Schenn gets thrown out and risks a penalty if he gets whistled.  
  • It looks to me like Sundqvist is fast. I wonder if there is somewhere you can see how fast they skate a certain distance like the 40 meter times for football players. Just a thought. I'd love to know if my perception from watching on TV is accurate.
  • For the people who say Thorburn doesn't contribute, he picked up his first point tonight with a helper on the Eddy goal.
  • Islanders will be looking for revenge on Saturday night, then the Blues head to Canada for a week-long road trip against Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

St. Louis Blues vs New Jersey Devils - Game 16 Recap

Blues Continue Winning Ways Against Hot Devils Team
Goals: Tarasenko (8), Schwartz (9) and Schenn (4)
Record 12-3-1

My thoughts on tonight’s game

  • This Blues team is FOR REAL! They are a T-E-A-M. Vladi said a few games ago that they all play for each other and it’s evident. 
  • The top line produced all of the goals tonight, accounting for 3 goals and 4 assists, but every single player contributed. 
  • The forechecking and defense and puck possession are all strong and just good old fashioned Blues hockey. 
  • Allen was spectacular. He’s not getting enough credit for the improvement he has shown after Yeo took over last year. 
  • Third period was pedal to the floor. John Kelly said “the Blues owned the puck in the third period!” And they did. Blues outshot the Devils in the period 19-4!
  • The Devils were gassed in the third. Credit to Darren Pang who said to watch for that to happen in the pregame show after NJ was coming off a 3 game road trip.
  • It was good to see #91 score again. 
  • It was good to see #17 score again. 
  • It was good to see #10 score again, even if it was an empty netter.  He has been so unselfish and has provided so many assists and opportunities for the other guys on that line. He has 7 points in the last 2 games.
  • I like Schenn!
  • What has to happen before these refs will call a penalty shot? If they call tripping on a breakaway, how is that not a penalty shot? 
  • After first period and seeing Jersey clog the middle I feared another game like the Philly game but we made good adjustments. 
  • The youngsters for the Devils are fast. We did a good job keeping them outside after the first period. 
  • PP actually scored a goal!
  • PK was perfect. 

#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Blues Prospects Update

Checking in on some of the Blues' top prospects after about a month into the season, I thought I would share some stats.

  • Starting with the 2014 class, drafted in the 6th round with the 176th overall pick, Samuel Blais has now played 5 games back with the San Antonio Rampage after having made his NHL debut with the Blues earlier this season.  In 5 games back with the Rampage, Blais has 4 goals and 2 assists.
  • Also in the draft class of 2014, goalie Ville Husso spent some time with the Blues in early November as the backup while Carter Hutton's wife was having a baby.  He didn't see any action but with San Antonio he has played in 4 games with a 2.52 GAA and a .918 save percentage.
  • From the 2015 class, Glenn Gawdin is playing in the WHL with the Swift Current Broncos and in 15 games has 11 goals and 22 assists for 33 points.  
  • Tage Thompson was selected in the first round of the 2016 draft with the #26 pick overall.  He started the season with the Blues but was sent back down to the Rampage.  He has now played 7 games and has 2 goals with 1 assist.
  • Jordan Kyrou is lighting it up for the Sarnia Sting in the OHL.  He was a 2nd round pick at #35 in 2016.  In 15 games he has scored 14 goals and has 21 assists for 35 points.  Those stats have to be getting someone's attention.
  • Goalie Evan Fitzpatrick is also from the 2016 draft.  Selected 59th overall in the 2nd round he has played 12 games for the Sherbrooke Phoenix in the QMJHL and has a 3.84 GAA and .871 save percentage.
  • The 2017 draft class produced Robert Thomas in the 20th slot for St. Louis in the 1st round.  He is playing for the London Knights in the OHL and in 14 games has 12 goals, 10 assists and 22 points.
  • Also drafted in the first round of 2017 in the 31st slot was Klim Kostin.  He is playing in San Antonio and has 1 goal and 5 assists in 10 games played.
  • Lastly, Alexey Toropchenko who was selected 113th overall in the 4th round and is playing in the OHL for the Guelph Storm has played 17 games where he has 4 goals and 9 assists.
Lots more information is available online at the Elite Hockey Prospects website.  

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Toronto Maple Leafs vs St. Louis Blues - Game 15 Recap

Blues Explode for 6 Goals to Hand Leafs 5th Loss in Past 6 Games
Goals: Tarasenko (7), Edmundson (4), Pietrangelo (5,6), Paajarvi (2) and Sobotka (3)
Record 11-3-1

My Thoughts on Tonight's Game

  • Toronto is a young, fast team that is headlined by 2nd year pro, Auston Matthews.  Matthews is big at 6'3" and 216 lb. and he's very creative with the puck.  He scored 40 goals and 29 assists in his rookie season last year after being selected 1st overall by Toronto.  Prior to the season, I felt like this would be a team that could make a nice run into the playoffs.  They started off really well, winning 7 or their first 9 games, but they find themselves struggling of late having lost 6 of their last 8.
  • The Blues were coming off a 2-0 shutout loss Thursday night at home courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers.  I felt like the way they played in this game showed they are capable of bouncing back and not letting one loss get them down.  The last thing you want to see is for your team to start losing successive games.  The Blues have managed to avoid back-to-back losses since their road trip in mid October where they lost to the Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
  • I felt like the first period tonight was pretty evenly played with Toronto notching the only tally on just 6 shots on goal. The goal was set up when Toronto stole the puck in the St. Louis zone out near the blue line.  A quick pass the other way set up a 2 on 2 where both Toronto players drifted down the left side of the ice, drawing the Blues defenders with them, which left the entire right side open for defenseman Borgman to step up into the play and he beat Jake Allen high on the blocker side to take the early lead.
  • St. Louis came out strong in the 2nd period and wasted very little time as Tarasenko scored just 2:33 in.  The goal was set up by two great plays by Blues rookie d-man Vince Dunn.  He first saved what looked to be a breakaway with a slick backcheck stealing the puck and sending it back the other way.  As the Blues applied offensive pressure, Dunn again did a nice job holding the puck in the zone in the middle of the ice.  Brayden Schenn quickly fed the puck to Schwartz in the slot who then took a wicked shot on goal.  The rebound came off to the left of the goal where Tarasenko had circled around to and he stuck it home past the diving Toronto goaltender, Frederik Andersen.  
  • Less than 5 minutes later, Brayden Schenn's shot was gloved by Andersen but he couldn't hang on and the puck fell right on the waiting stick of Joel Edmundson and he buried it in the back of the net for his 4th goal of the season making it 2-1 Blues.
  • 3 Minutes and 18 seconds later Alex Pietrangelo scored a goal that should be in the week's top highlights. He skated up the right side and down in towards the net, just as he got to the faceoff dot to the left of the goaltender he lifted his skate is if he would launch a wrist shot towards the goal. The fake pulled the goalie out of the net a little to cut down the angle, Pietrangelo held onto the puck and skated deeper, another slight fake and the goalie went down but left himself a foot or so from the near post.  Pietrangelo turned his body around and backed across the goal line just left of the goal and reached out with his backhand and snuck the puck into the net nearly from all the way behind the goal.  It was beautiful! Blues led 3-1 after 2 periods.
  • Early in the third, in fact just 1:22 into the period after a shot on goal by Jaskin the rebound came out front near a Toronto defender, but Paajarvi's quick stick was on the puck and sent in past the goalie before the Toronto player could get a stick on it.  The goal was listed as unassisted but I felt Jaskin should have had an assist on the goal. Blues led 4-1.
  • Toronto scored again when some heavy action around the Blues goal got Jake Allen turned around.  The goal actually went into the net with Jake totally turned around and his back to the shoooter. Score was now 4-2
  • The SSS line was up next and all three players worked the triangle to perfection as Stastny fed Steen who then hit Sobotka for a goal that gave St. Louis a 3 goal lead again at 5-2. 
  • After a series of penalties led to a 4 on 3 for the Blues they ended their power play drought when Pietrangelo scored after the goaltender couldn't contain the puck from Tarasenko's shot. Schenn did a good job tying up the defense, giving Petro time to get to the puck and poke it home. Blues now up 6-2.
  • Shortly thereafter, Toronto's Hyman and Brown worked their way behind the defense and scored with Blues draped all over them.  Now it's 6-3
  • Toronto added another goal when St. Louis gave up and odd-man rush for the final score of 6-4.
  • This was an exciting game to see in person.  Lots of goals and lots of action.  I felt like we did a better job getting traffic in front of the net tonight and a better job of keeping them out from in front of our net.
  • We've been pretty disciplined, not taking a lot of penalties.  Tonight we had a holding call in the first and a holding and hooking calls in the third.  We were 1 for 4 on the power play and perfect on the penalty kill as Toronto went 0 for 2 when they had the advantage.
  • Although Jake was only at .871 save percentage, this is a high-flying team that scores a lot of goals.  The main thing is that the Blues scored more and we won. End of story. 
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB  

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Philadelphia Flyers vs St. Louis Blues - Game 14 Recap

Flyers Hand Blues First Home Loss of Season
Goals: None
Record 10-3-1

My Thoughts on Tonight's Game

  • First period was a lot of back and forth. The Flyers were playing the second of a back-to-back game on the road while the Blues are in the middle of a 4 game home stand but the Blues just looked a step slow to me early on.
  • I felt good about the game after the first period.  The Blues had 14 Shots on Goal and held Philly to just 8.  I thought the Flyers would wear down and we'd get to their backup goalie later on. Turns out I was wrong. 
  • Second period didn't start well.  Flyer's Brandon Manning threw a puck towards the net which hit Pietrangelo in the elbow and went into the net.  Pietrangelo was wrangling for position in front of Jake Allen, trying to clear the field of vision but ended up deflecting the puck in.  Jake never saw the puck. The goal was disallowed and ruled "goalie interference" on the ice but was later overturned, giving the Flyers the lead 1-0 just 38 seconds into the 2nd.
  • The Power Play continues to be the "Lack of Power Play".  The Blues have been able to overcome the special teams weaknesses with good overall play in all the other areas of the game, but in a tight game where the goaltending is good, the inability to put the puck in the net on the power play will cost you games, as it did tonight.
  • On the other side of Special Teams, the penalty kill was solid.  The Flyers were held to no shots on either of their two chances when they had the man advantage.
  • St. Louis had a hard time getting pucks to the net but did have some good chances to score.  Scottie Upshall had a couple of near misses, Schenn had a breakaway and couldn't put it away, and Tarasenko missed a pretty good opportunity on the first power play, putting the puck off the side of the net.
  • The game got physical near the end of the 2nd period and I thought it might turn even worse in the third, but cooler heads prevailed.  In such a tight game, Philly didn't want to give the Blues a chance by taking a penalty and St. Louis couldn't afford to go short handed.
  • The goaltending was good on both sides.  It seemed that when Flyer goalie, Neuvirth allowed a rebound nobody was ever in the right place to put the puck back in the net.
  • Blues next face Toronto at home on Saturday night to wrap up the four game home stand.
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Patrik, Berglund, Bergie! Hat-Trick Leads Blues to 4-1 Win in Chicago

St. Louis Blues vs Chicago Blackhawks - Game 81 Recap Goals: Berglund (15,16,17) and Schwartz (23) Record 44-31-6 My thoughts on this g...