Saturday, December 30, 2017

Blues Give Up Lead Late, Lose 4-2 in Dallas

St. Louis Blues vs Dallas Stars - Game 40 Recap
Goals: Tarasenko (16) and Thompson (2)
Record 23-15-2
My Thoughts on the game

  • The Blues traveled to Dallas for the first time this season to face division rival and their former coach, Ken Hitchcock.  The Blues had won both previous meetings in St. Louis this season, but the Stars have climbed to the top wild card spot in the West and the Blues have been on a downward trend, losing 4 of their last 5. 
  • The Blues started with some heavy pressure in the early going. 2 1/2 minutes into the game, Dallas goalie Ben Bishop found himself out of the net trying to play a puck when Brayden Schenn gained control behind the net and quickly tried to stuff it around the post before Bishop could recover. However, a Dallas defender dove into the opening and denied Schenn who has only scored 1 goal in his last 8 games. I think he misses his little buddy, Jayden Schwartz. (We all do!)
  • Berglund had an opportunity right in front of the goal, but his shot missed the net. Tage Thompson nearly put one in the upper right corner when his shot hit Bishop in the head. But for all the chances they had, the first period ended with no score.
  • Dallas' Mattias Janmark scored the game's first goal when Jason Spezza threw the puck right across the ice in front of Jake Allen, the pass hit the outstretched stick of Janmark and beat Allen on the weak side.
  • The score wold remain 1-0 for 20 more minutes until Tarasenko stole a puck and skated into the offensive zone and sniped one past Bishop to tie the game. 
  • One minute and five seconds later, Tage Thompson beat Bishop to put the Blues up 2-1. It was Thompson's second career NHL goal and looked like it went between a defender's legs and past Bishop on the stick side. The tide had turned and it felt good to see some offense happen so fast.
  • The lead held for 6 minutes or so when Scottie Upshall got a stick to the face and drew a penalty for a St. Louis power play, giving the Blues a chance to extend their lead. But, as has been the case most of the season, the Blues failed to score with the man advantage and let Dallas hang around, something they would regret before the night was over.
  • The Blues went 0-4 on the power play in this game including a 5 on 3 advantage at one point. They are now 1 for their last 17 (5.9%) in the last 6 games and are 26th in the league at 15.5% on the power play. Worse yet, I think they are 0-6 when having a 5 on 3 advantage.
  • Dallas tied the game a little over 2 minutes after killing off the penalty. Allen ended up out of the net during an offensive barrage by Dallas after making a save, but as he scrambled to get back into the crease he was knocked down by Paul Stastny by some incidental contact and found himself horizontal, stretched out across the goal crease. Jamie Benn scored his 16th goal of the year on a backhand shot over the outstretched Allen.
  • Momentum had swung in Dallas' favor and what seemed like a game the Blues might win a few minutes earlier, now seemed like one that they'd be lucky to win.
  • The feeling of despair got worse when Edmondson was called for roughing with 2:38 left in the game. 17 seconds into the power play, the Stars' Alexander Radulov scored the go-ahead goal from the top of the right circle. It looked like Allen was screened on the shot and as he tried to sneak a look to his right around the defender, Radulov's shot beat him on his left side.
  • Another goal by Radulov into the Blues' empty net accounted for the final score of 4-2.
  • The Blues didn't play smart with the 2-1 lead, and a couple of bad breaks ended up costing them any points in this one. 20 minutes in penalties didn't help, 13 giveaways was out of character and only 3 takeaways showed that we didn't defend well. We did manage to block 27 shots and out shot the Stars 37-31, but the final score was all that mattered as we have failed to earn any points in games where we have been outscored in regulation this season. 
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Friday, December 29, 2017

Predators Hold Off Blues 2-1 in St. Louis

Nashville Predators vs St. Louis Blues - Game 39 Recap
Goal: Sobotka (7)
Record 23-14-2

My Thoughts on the game

  • I went to this game and it's hard for me to manage my thoughts and get them into a blog format from an "in-person" game. It has taken me a while to watch it from the recording on my DVR, so I'm hoping the old phrase "Better late than never" holds true after you've read this post.
  • I'll have to admit, in person I felt like Nashville looked like a much superior team.  Their crisp passing from tape to tape and disciplined style of play was impressive.  Once they had a 2 goal lead they really circled the wagons and were intent on not giving up an easy goal.
  • However, after watching the game played back I'll have to say that it didn't seem like such a vast difference in these two teams in this game. 
  • Yes, Schenn and Tarasenko who we expect to be our biggest offensive threats seemed to be non-factors offensively in this one, but the Blues had their chances. 
  • Just :30 seconds into the game, Steen had a chance with an open net but couldn't connect. Vince Dunn hit the post on a shot that got past Rinne inside the first minute, but then the momentum swung the other direction as Scottie Upshall was called for interference at the 2:30 mark giving Nashville an early power play.
  • Jake Allen made a diving stop on Nashville's first power play, throwing his stick and stretching out to stop the puck with outstretched arms. In fact, he made several good stops during one barrage early in the 2nd period where the Predators put 4 or 5 shots on goal in about 15 seconds. 
  • St. Louis killed off the first penalty, as well as all 4 others in the game improving to 82.8%, good enough for a tie for 9th in the league on the penalty kill for the season and near the top for the month of December.
  • Speaking of penalties, the double minor on Patrik Berglund for high sticking with 12 minutes left in the third period took away a lot of time that St. Louis needed in order to build up some offensive momentum late in the game. I thought it was definitely an important setback in this game. 
  • Nashville struck first when Brayden Schenn, deep in the corner in the offensive zone attempted a centering pass but gave the puck away to a Predator out near the blue line. Nashville mounted an even-man rush on which the Blues defenders (Dunn and Parayko) did a nice job picking up their men, but Schenn who had hustled back to the other end, failed to keep his man tied up in front of the net. Roman Josi took the shot from the top of the circle and Craig Smith, who had slipped away from Schenn, managed to get his stick on the puck and tipped it straight down and past Jake Allen. Smith was just about 6 feet in front of the Blues goaltender who had no time to react. I think that goal was on Brayden from start to finish.
  • As I mentioned earlier, the Blues had their chances. Magnus Paajarvi missed a chance right in front when the puck just wouldn't bounce our way.  He had a couple of pokes at it, but just couldn't get good wood on it and get it past Rinne who stopped 29 of St. Louis' 30 shots. Rinne was the #1 star in the game. 
  • The Blues' best scoring chance came after a 2 on 1 rush by Nashville. Allen closed the door and the Blues counter-attacked. Kyle Brodziak found Joel Edmondson with a pass right in front of the net and Eddy found himself with a wide open net behind Rinne. It was a bang-bang play and he just couldn't get the right touch on the pass as it sailed a little wide instead of into the open net. Edmundson was in disbelief as he sat on the bench shaking his head afterwards, wondering what could have been and how he missed such a wide open net. 
  • Tarasenko also made a nice play to set up Schenn with a great chance for a goal, but again the Nashville goalie managed to keep it out of the net.
  • It looks to me like Tage Thompson is likely in the NHL for good after the way he has played the last few games.  Although he hasn't been on the score sheet in every game, he looks creative with the puck, he can get himself into places where he can shoot and has brought a little bit of life to the line with Steen and Stastny, who needed someone like him to give them a reason to step up their games a notch and help this kid score some goals. 
  • It was a disappointing loss at home after the Christmas break, but was far from being a lopsided loss.  It could have gone the other way very easily. 
  • Next up is the Blues' first trip into Dallas to face the Stars on Friday night. 
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Jake Allen Gets Win #108 - Ties Grant Fuhr

St. Louis Blues vs Vancouver Canucks - Game 38 Recap
Goals: Berglund (5), Brodziak (6) and Steen (4)
Record 23-13-2
My Thoughts on the Game

  • The game started out with Tarasenko taking a one-timer within the first minute of the game. The shot didn't get through, but it was something we hadn't been seeing from our favorite Russian. It gave me the feeling that things were going to be different in this one.
  • This was a fast-paced, back-and-forth game pretty much from start to finish. Neither team really settled in for sustained offensive pressure except for a few times throughout the game.
  • The Blues penalty kill, which had been outstanding lately, killing off 34 of their last 36 was put to the test early in this one when Sundqvist was whistled for interference just 1:40 into the game. The unit did their thing and only allowed one shot on goal, which Allen stopped. They killed off both penalties in this game and improved to a nearly 95% success rate in December and tied for the league lead in that category this month.
  • The Blues created good scoring chances throughout the first period but it was Patrik Berglund who found the net first. The big Swede worked the puck off the boards and circled out front into the high slot on his backhand. He sent the puck towards the net and managed to fool the goaltender for his 5th goal on the season. He must have gotten caught on the ice after the rest of his line changed. He played with Schenn and Tarasenko all night but this goal was assisted by Jaskin and Brodziak.
  • For the second game in a row, the pipes were a friend to Jake Allen. Vancouver hit the post twice in one offensive sequence late in the first, but the puck wouldn't go in the net for them.
  • The Blues hit the post at least a couple of times as well.  Brodziak rang the bell in the first period and Schenn in the third.
  • The 2nd period started in a flurry as Steen got a breakaway early.  He tried to 'dink' the puck in past the goalie after getting him down on the ice, but the 6' 6" Jacob Markstrom sprawled out and was able to cover the post with his right pad to keep it out of the net.
  • Vancouver raced back the other way as Steen crashed into the boards and rookie scoring phenom Brock Boeser scored his 20th goal of the season on a backhander from the left dot. Jake got out of position when he thought the shot was coming from the high slot and came out to cut down the angle. Thomas Vanek dished the puck off to Boeser, which left him a wide open net behind Allen to knot the score at 1-1.
  • Paul Stastny had a good scoring chance with a breakaway but was denied by Markstrom shortly after the Boeser goal. Vancouver also had another good chance when Pietrangelo gave the puck away inside his own zone, but Allen made a big save to keep the game even.
  • Late in the 2nd period, with just 1:30 remaining on the clock, Kyle Brodziak did what the Blues had not been doing enough of in the past few games, put the puck on net. Brodziak was at such an odd angle down near the goal line on the right side but He flicked the puck towards the near post and it somehow managed to find it's way in between Markstrom and the post to put the Blues up 2-1. 
  • The Sundqvist-Sobotka-Paajarvi line worked hard tonight.  They had some good scoring chances and it was good to see the effort they put out in this one. It's a step in the right direction for this line.
  • Vince Dunn continues to impress me for a first-year NHL defenseman, he has a very bright future. He makes some rookie mistakes but he is solid and handles himself very well for his age.
  • Hopefully, Pietrangelo and Dunn are ok. They both left the ice in the third period after blocking shots and/or having skate problems. Petro did finish the game, so he looked to be ok.
  • Joel Edmundson was robbed by a Canuck defender late in the third when the goalie was caught out of the net. Eddy got the puck out in front and had a great chance but couldn't get it around the Canuck who was playing a "make-shift" goalie role.
  • Immediately after the Edmundson opportunity, Boeser went the other way and had a 2 on 1 rush.  The shot was caught and held by Allen. Allen made another big save on Boeser soon thereafter. 
  • Allen stopped 30 of 31 shots on the night and was the game's third star. He picked up win #108 as a Blue, putting him into a tie with Grant Fuhr for 3rd all-time. Allen reached 108 in 58 fewer games played than Fuhr and his stats are slightly better than Fuhr's with a .915 save percentage vs .900 for Fuhr and has allowed 2.40 Goals per game vs 2.68 for Grant. I'm not trying to say Jake is better than Grant Fuhr here, I'm just stating some facts to help shed some proper light on our goalie. He gets a lot of flack from some of the fans when the team isn't winning, but he's playing pretty darn good if you ask me. Curtis Joseph (137) and Mike Liut (151) are all that stand between Jake becoming the all-time winningest Blues goalie. Take a look at this page if you want to see how Allen stacks up to other St. Louis goalies. St. Louis Blues Goalies
  • Magnus Paajarvi had a nice chance to score but was stopped by Markstrom as well.
  • The scoring was finished off with a Steen empty-netter thanks to a very unselfish play by Vladi Tarasenko.
  • I could see significant changes in several aspects of the Blues' game tonight. Defenders in front of the net had their heads on a swivel looking for anyone trying to gain space in front. Players seemed to be helping each other, communicating better, and putting forth more effort for the entire game than it looked like they had in the past few. I felt Vladi put forth a lot more effort tonight and that's good to see. I believe he's been frustrated with the lack of scoring because that's what he's paid to do and is expected to do. But, that frustration seems to have been carrying over into his whole game. Earlier in the year he was digging pucks out of the corners, blocking shots and doing whatever it took to contribute. Tonight I saw more of that from him. I believe it will lead to more goals from him.
  • Christmas break is much needed as this team has played 10 games in the past 17 days and despite losing three in a row prior to tonight, the Blues are once again atop the division and in a three-way tie for first in the Western Conference with 48 points. 
  • The Nashville Predators come to Scottrade for the second time this season on the 27th. It would be a good one for us to win as Nashville has 3 games in hand over the Blues. They are coming off a loss to Dallas on the 23rd in a shootout and are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games.  They beat the Blues 2-0 in St. Louis on Nov 24th in their only other meeting thus far this season.
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Friday, December 22, 2017

Blues Lead Twice But Fail To Close Out Oilers

St. Louis Blues vs Edmonton Oilers - Game 37 Recap
Goals: Thompson (1) and Berglund (4)
Record 22-13-2

My thoughts on tonight's game

  • The Blues came out aggressive and had 4 or 5 scoring chances in the first couple of minutes of the game before things settled down some. The score could have been 2-0 early, but unlike the last time they faced Edmonton and goalie Cam Talbot, who was pulled after allowing 2 goals on the first three shots faced, this time Talbot kept the puck out of the net.
  • Edmonton had some scoring chances but couldn't manage to hit the twine in the period either. Allen made some nice saves, the defense was fairly solid and the pipes behind Allen did their job as the Oilers hit the crossbar once and the post on another shot. The score could have been 2-0 Edmonton just as well.
  • Scottie Upshall was called for a penalty when his high stick caught Darnell Nurse in the chops.  The infraction drew blood and looked to have knocked out part of a tooth resulting in a double minor. It's hard to tell with hockey players if a tooth was knocked out or not, I guess they have photos of the players smiling before each game to compare it to during the game in cases like this. :) 
  • The penalty came with about 5 minutes left in the first period but the Blues managed to kill it off without allowing a goal. In fact, they had a breakaway opportunity by Berglund during the penalty kill that Talbot managed to save as well.
  • After the penalty kill, Tage Thompson hit Paul Stastny who was charging in behind the Oilers' defense and had a tip in chance, but was denied by Talbot.  
  • I feel like Steen and Stastny have stepped up their games a notch or two with the youngster, Thompson on their line the past two games. These two guys are veterans and in tough stretches like the Blues are on now, those kinds of guys need to set an example, dig down deep and find something to pull their team out of a slump. Even though they haven't showed up on the score sheet, it looks like the effort is there to me.
  • Chris Thorburn, still looking for his first goal as a St. Louis Blue played a good game.  He had some shots on goal and really played with a lot of energy. 
  • Where is Vladimir Tarasenko? I noticed him early in the first period when he stole the puck behind the net and centered to Schenn I believe, for a good scoring chance and then I literally don't remember seeing him on the ice until late in the second period. He played 19:10 in the game, but in the first two periods he was nearly invisible. I like Vladi. Who doesn't? But he is definitely struggling to find his game. We desperately need him to find it soon.
  • Period two was evenly played with shots on goal 15-14 in favor of the Blues. The goalpost saved another goal for the Blues. It seemed that with the breaks we were getting it might be our night.
  • After nearly 50 minutes of scoreless hockey by both sides, the last 10 minutes was anything but. Tage Thompson started his NHL scoring with his first goal at the 9:30 mark. He was arguably the best offensive threat on the ice the night before and his first goal was only a matter of time. He drifted into the slot and took a pass from Colton Parayko and put a wicked wrist shot past Talbot to put the Blues up 1-0.
  • However, an old familiar song I call "We scored, now it's your turn" began to play when Edmonton scored :38 seconds later to knot the score at 1-1. 
  • Berglund answered 2 and 1/2 minutes later to put the Blues back on top when his one-timer on a pass from Schenn beat Talbot for a 2-1 lead. 
  • It only took three minutes for the Oilers to answer when Connor McDavid led a 2 on 1 rush with Draisaitl getting Allen out of position and sprawling across the crease as McDavid put the puck over Allen into the net.
  • The only time the Blues trailed in this game was on the Oilers' third goal with just :50 seconds left in the game. The game had gotten very loose with back and forth play in the final minutes. When Edmonton settled into the Blues zone with the puck behind the net, the Blues defense all got caught facing the net and didn't see Edmonton winger, Drake Caggiula sneaking in behind them into the slot. The centering pass was right on his stick, but he failed to make good contact on it causing the puck to jump and flop around like a dying quail.  It caught everyone by surprise and as it fell out of the air, it fell over Allen's shoulder into the net for the game-winner.
  • One more chance for a win before Christmas will be Saturday night in Vancouver. It's a late one with a 9 PM puck drop. Let's go Blues!
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Blues Fall to Flames 2-1

St. Louis Blues vs Calgary Flames - Game 36 Recap
Goal:Schenn (17)
Record 22-12-2
My Thoughts on Tonight's Game

  • There's not a lot to talk about with this game. Much of the same-old same-old with the lack of offense and the struggles on the power play.
  • I felt that not only did we not possess the puck well and have much sustained offensive pressure, but we also are getting very careless with the puck in our own zone and sloppy play gave Calgary some scoring chances. Hutton made some nice saves to keep the score at 1-0 in the first. 
  • Calgary scored at 7:58 in the first on what at first appeared to be an outstanding save by rookie forward, Tage Thompson who cleared the puck from behind Carter Hutton. More on Thompson later. It was kind of a freakish play. After a scrum behind the net, the puck comes out to the slot and finds Mikael Backlund all alone, Hutton stops his shot but the rebound bounces straight up. Hutton doesn't see it but Michael Frolik gets a stick on it kind of behind Hutton's back. Thompson was in the crease and seemed to have swept the puck away just before it could cross the goal line.  It was ruled "no goal" on the ice. Play continued for about 40 seconds and then the horn sounded.  After review it was evident that the puck did cross the line to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
  • For those who may not be aware, the league is always looking at scoring chances on replay.  If they see evidence that could overturn a call on the ice, they will send word and play is stopped in order for the on-ice officials to review the evidence. I think the NHL does a good job with video replay.  The camera in the net is a great tool. The TV broadcast doesn't always have access to that footage and all the replays that were shown during the game still were kind of blurry to me.  However, after seeing a screen shot of the angle from inside the net, it was undoubtedly a goal.
  • It's getting old to be talking about the power play struggles after nearly every game, but tonight there was something more to talk about.  The Blues had 4 power play chances during this game. On 2 or maybe even 3 of them, they looked as if THEY were the team shorthanded. Calgary, while short-handed put more pressure on and looked to be more of a scoring threat than the Blues did.  It truly was frustrating to see us having to scramble and defend our end and to see Hutton having to hold the puck and give up a face-off in our own end just to alleviate the pressure on more than one occasion.
  • We did manage to score one power play goal.  Brayden Schenn scored his 17th of the season at 1:26 of the second period. It wasn't your typical power play goal. He just took the puck into the offensive zone, made a nifty move to get around the defense and flicked a wrist shot right past goalie Mike Smith. New ballgame. 1-1.
  • Dougie Hamilton changed the outcome with a goal at the 7:57 mark of the third, when he took a whack at the puck and managed to knock it off the stick of Blues' Ivan Barbashev and past Carter Hutton, who thought the puck was going to be cleared away. It was a lucky bounce and caught Hutton off guard as he had kind of stood up and relaxed after making the initial save. Barbashev looked to be in control but Hamilton just swung his stick at it and it went straight in.
  • Both Calgary goals were almost flukes, but they were goals none the less. St. Louis had a few chances but not a lot. Steen had a good scoring chance in the third, Edmundson hit the post or the side of the net on a long shot from the point, but the offense really has almost disappeared.
  • We just have to keep clawing and scratching and hang on until we can get everyone healthy again. And then we gotta hope that when everyone is healthy again we can get back to playing the way we did during the first third of the season.
  • The youngster, Tage Thompson was called up after Sammy Blais went on the IR. Thompson had been up for 4 games early in the season but seemed hesitant with his game, which is understandable. But tonight he was anything but hesitant.  He looked like the best offensive threat on the ice most of the game. He's long and lanky at 6' 5" and 185 lbs. He's a right-handed shot, which the Blues are a little short on anyway, and he's got some moves.  He played much more aggressive tonight on the line with Steen and Stastny. Good things are to come from this young man.
  • Blues were outshot in this one 33-22. We did block 20 shots, but we are giving up too much offensive time for the opposing teams. We gave the puck away 8 times and Calgary took it away from us 11 more times. That's just not the way we are going to win games. 
  • Tonight it's on to Edmonton where I hope we can get things going in the right direction. Let's go Blues!
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

St. Louis Blues vs Winnipeg Jets - Game 35 Recap

Jets Blank St. Louis in Winnipeg

Goals: None
Record 22-11-2
My Thoughts on the Game
  • After Carter Hutton set a franchise record, stopping all 48 shots the night before to earn his 9th career NHL shutout, Winnipeg's goalie, Connor Hellebuyck only had to stop half that many to shutout the Blues. St. Louis was outshot in this one 46-24.
  • We've given up 94 shots in 2 games, which begs the question..."Where has the defense gone?"
  • Yes, we miss Jayden Schwartz on offense but tonight everyone but Bouwmeester was back on defense. So, what is going on? Could it be that Schwartzy's style of play with the high-energy forechecking is a big part of the defense as well? I say that it is. One leads to the other.
  • St. Louis had chances early. 
    • Edmundson's pass to Berglund, who seemed to be staring at an open net was broken up by the Jets' defense before the big Swede could get his stick on it and poke it home.
    • Parayko picked a guy's pocket at the Jets' blueline and skated in all alone. The Jets' defenseman, chasing from behind lost his stick and a glove while mauling big #55 and keeping him from getting an uncontested shot.
    • Steen worked his way in behind the defense and got a good chance, he drew a penalty  and got the Blues on a power play but we failed to score. In fact, this penalty at 10:59 of the first period was the Jets' third penalty and the Blues failed to score on all 3 chances in the first.
    • Berglund and Jaskin both had good scoring chances, then late in the period Schenn stole a pass, got the puck to Tarasenko in close, but his shot sailed over the crossbar, all in the first period, yet the score was 0-0 after 20 minutes.
  • The Jets' first goal came 4:32 into the 2nd period when Edmundson and Parayko both ended up behind the net. Winnipeg's Brandon Tanev skated in with the puck and both defensemen followed him and the three collided against the boards. This left the front of the goal exposed and the Jets got the puck to Lowry, who stuffed it home. 
  • The 2nd period was all Winnipeg as they outshot St. Louis 16-6. The third period shots were 18-9, also in favor of the Jets.
  • The Blues looked like they were low on energy, they weren't really a threat to score the rest of the game. I felt like we didn't have an effective forecheck and we made a lot of mistakes. The stat line shows it.  We didn't look like the team leading the West. 
    • Shots on goal 46-24
    • Faceoffs was 56%-44% in favor of the Jets
    • We were 0 for 4 on power play
    • We gave the puck away 15 times
  • The best part about this game is that it's over, but it's just the first of four games on the road in Canada this week.
    • Calgary, Wednesday. They are 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. We beat them early in the season 5-2 at home but lost in Calgary 7-4.
    • Edmonton, Thursday.  They are next to last in the West but are 6-4-0 in their last 10.  We beat them 4-1 and then 8-3 in November.
    • Vancouver, Saturday. They are just 2 points in front of Edmonton and are 4-6-0 in their last 10 games.  We have faced them once so far, beating them 4-3 in Vancouver.
  • The injuries continue to be an obstacle, but it was good to see Pietrangelo and Brodziak back in the lineup.  Definitely good to have Hutton back this week, too. Schwartz's return can't come too soon. I want him healthy, but we need him.  
  • We might need some more help to make a deep run this year too.  It would be interesting to know what kind of moves Armstrong is working on. With St. Louis being near the cap, it will take some creativity to get a quality offensive player who can help. The informed fan won't be surprised if a popular player or two get traded in order to make room for another salary, but the casual fan may be disappointed if someone whose name is on that Blues jersey hanging in their closet gets traded away. Time will tell. The trade deadline is a long way off.
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Winnipeg Jets vs St. Louis Blues - Game 34 Recap

Blues Bounce Back With Hutton's 9th Career Shutout

Goals: Tarasenko (15) and Dunn (3)
Record 22-10-2
My Thoughts on Tonight's Game
  • Carter Hutton was the highlight reel tonight. What a game! Just when the Blues needed someone to step up, Hutton answered the call.  He stopped all 48 Winnipeg shots on goal including 21 in the 2nd period when the Jets really turned up the heat and threw everything they had at him.  He is now 5-2-0 and improves his save percentage to .949 with a 1.63 GAA.
  • The Jets entered the game in 3rd place in the Central Division, just 3 points behind the Blues. This was the first of a home and home back-to-back matchup with them as they face off again in Winnipeg on Sunday night at 5 PM.
  • The Jets are also 4th in the league on the power play with a 25.42 success percentage, while the Blues penalty kill has been hot of late, killing 20 of their last 21 penalties and climbing above 80% for the season. It would be a battle of strength vs strength on this side of special teams.
  • Winnipeg was on the power play 4 times in this game and they did not score. The Blues won this battle tonight and are now 24 for their last 25 killing penalties.
  • The other side of the special teams has not been St. Louis' strong suit, but from the reports it sounds like Coach Yeo spent a lot of time in practice working on the power play. That extra work paid off as Vladimir Tarasenko scored in the first period on the power play and Vince Dunn scored again in the 3rd on another man advantage. They were 2 for 5 tonight for a 40% success rate and it was the difference in the game. 
  • As I've written several times this season, in close games special teams are the difference in winning and losing. Had we not gotten any power play goals tonight, we could have very easily lost in overtime or a shootout.
  • We had several other chances to score but Jets' backup goalie, Steve Mason was also strong in net tonight.  Stastny had a short-handed chance, Sundqvist nearly poked one in, Steen had a wrap around attempt and those are just a few of the chances that Mason was able to keep out of the net.
  • Other than the 2nd period where Winnipeg pretty much controlled things, St. Louis played a very solid game. 
  • Bortuzzo took a helmet to the face and then a stick to the mouth but finished the game and seems to be ok. Samuel Blais left the game in the 1st with a lower body injury.  He came back in the 2nd but left the ice again and didn't return. Just another injury to deal with.
  •  Both teams will have their starters going tomorrow night in Winnipeg. Jake Allen is 17-8-2 on the season with a 2.54 GAA and .911 Save Percentage. Winnipeg's Connor Hellebuyck is 16-4-4 with a .917 Save Percentage and a 2.55 GAA. Pretty evenly matched records and stats.
  • Winnipeg is 1-4-1 in their last 6 games.  St. Louis is 5-2-0 in their last 7. Another win on Sunday for the Blues would be nice to keep the cushion in the standings.
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Anaheim Ducks vs St. Louis Blues - Game 33 Recap

Blues Drop 2nd in a Row at Home

Goals: Berglund (3)
Record 21-10-2
My Thoughts on Tonight's Game
  • 114 minutes.  That's how long the Blues went without scoring. A shutout Tuesday against Tampa Bay and then 2 periods plus 14 more minutes tonight without a goal. 
  • It doesn't look to me like we have been getting enough action in front of the net and we are allowing the opponents to get too many rebounds and second chances. All three of Anaheim's goals were inside of 3 or 4 feet in front of the net. 
  • I felt like we did a good job keeping them to the outside for most of the game and not allowing them to generate a whole lot of offensive pressure. The few times they were able to keep the puck in the offensive zone and get some second chances they made us pay.
  • The Blues continue to struggle on the power play.  They were 0 for 4 tonight and are now 0 for 11 in the last 4 games. Where is the guy who will just get down in front of the net and deflect pucks, stand his ground and stick rebounds back in the net? Somebody's got to do it. Who's it going to be? And when will he step into that role?
  • On the other side of special teams, the penalty kill has killed off 20 of 21 in the past 8 games.
  • The Blues were not totally without scoring chances. Paajarvi hit the crossbar early in the first period. Berglund missed a one-touch deflection into a fairly open net. Joel Edmundson had a nice breakaway after a good pass from Upshall, but couldn't manage to beat goalie, John Gibson. Tarasenko also hit the crossbar on a shot near the end of the second period during a power play.
  • Berglund had the only goal on a nice no-look shot through the legs of Gibson.  It was his 300th career NHL point and he becomes only the 21st Blues player in history to achieve that mark.
  • Some positives in my opinion were Brodziak's hustle.  He brought a lot of energy in the third period when the Blues needed a lift.
  • Vince Dunn continues to show that he belongs in the NHL.  He wins battles, even after it looks like he is beat sometimes and his passing up ice to start the offense is very accurate.
  • Dimitri Jaskin is best when the puck is on his backhand.  He is so strong, it looks like he is most in control when he's got the stick in one hand, the puck on the back side of his stick and holding off a defenseman with his other arm.  If someone could just follow him to the net when he skates in from the right side and could be there for a centering pass, maybe we could score a goal once in a while.
  • I think the biggest issue the Blues are dealing with now is just chemistry and timing.  With the return of Berglund and Bouwmeester we knew it would take some time, and now with the injuries to Schwartz, Pietrangelo and Bouwmeester again it continues to be an issue.  Lots of times we are getting shots and then nobody is there for a rebound.  A pass into the slot in front of the net often slides right through without anyone there to receive it. The only thing that's going to fix it is just time. 
  • The Blues remain in first place in the West and will face Winnipeg in back-to-back games this weekend as they wrap up the homestand on Saturday night and then travel to Winnipeg for a Sunday night game before heading on to Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver next week.
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tampa Bay Lightning vs St. Louis Blues - Game 32 Recap

Lightning Defeat Blues in Battle of East vs West

Goals: None
Record 21-9-2
My Thoughts on Tampa Bay Game

  • The Blues entered this game with more injuries, which is nothing new to this team this season. In the past few days they have lost Jayden Schwartz for 6 weeks minimum, Alex Pietrangelo for a week, Carter Hutton for a week and now Jay Bouwmeester is 'day to day'.
  • The all too familiar "Next Man Up" mentality was again put into practice as Jordan Schmaltz was called up to fill the void on defense, while Ivan Barbashev got the call for the offense.
  • Blues fans everywhere were fretting with phrases like "here we go again" and "why us?" while others calmly scooted up to the edge of their seats to see how this team would pull together and overcome the latest rash of injuries.
  • For my money, the Blues were the best team in this game.  Granted, the scoreboard didn't show it, but if you were to look at the stats and didn't know who won the game you might think the Blues shutout Tampa Bay instead of it being the other way around. The Blues outshot Tampa 32-25.  They won the face-offs nearly 2-1.  The Blues killed all 3 penalties. They outhit Tampa 24-19, blocked 24 shots to Tampa's 9 and had 12 takeaways to Tampa's 6.
  • The Blues held possession of the puck most of the game, and the times when Tampa was in the offensive zone, the Blues were all over them.  The Blues just had one obstacle.  His name was Andrei Vasilevskiy. 
  • Vasilevskiy is now 20-4-1 with a 2.15 GAA and a .933 save percentage. He stopped all 32 shots on goal including some spectacular saves on several Blues, including saves on breakaways, saves against 2 on 1 rushes several times and even a weird bounce off the glass that he had to dive back into the net and make a kick save on. The Blues' last scoring chance was with 6 attackers on the ice. Vasilevskiy made another good save on a Tarasenko shot to preserve the shutout.
  • Tampa scored with just 44 seconds left in the first period as it seemed like they really ratcheted up the pressure in the final minute and a half of the period. The Lightning's Brayden Point took a pass in the slot from behind the net.  His first shot hit the post and he followed up with a rebound shot into the net.
  • The second period was scoreless but with 8 minutes left in the game and the score still just 1-0, Tarasenko found Sobotka across the ice. The goaltender seemed to be cheating heavily to Tarasenko's side and Sobotka found himself with a wide open net.  Sobotka one-timed the pass and the shot went parallel to the goal line between the goalie and the net, missing everything.  It was definitely the Blues best scoring chance. I'll bet the lesser-known Vladi didn't sleep well thinking about this one.
  • 2 minutes later Nikita Kucherov sniped a goal on an even rush. Allen was screened slightly by Schenn who was defending the league's leading goal scorer. Kucherov now has 21 goals on the season and is tied with Ovechkin. 
  • An empty netter by Tyler Johnson accounted for the final score of 3-0.
  • Again, I think the Blues played a better game than the Lightning.  They just didn't win. I thought the young guys filled in nicely and weren't the reason we lost this game. It's pretty impressive that the 3rd defensive pair was rookie Vince Dunn and Schmaltz who was playing his first NHL game of the season. Neither of them were on the ice for any of the three Tampa Bay goals.
  • The Blues will not see Tampa again this year. At least not in the regular season.  The only way these two teams would play again would be in a Stanley Cup final. And I think the way the two regular season matchups played out, the Blues still have something to prove to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Time will tell, but it would be nice to have the final say-so against this team.
  • Next up are the Anaheim Ducks.  They beat us 3-2 at Scottrade on Nov 29th.  They are 2-4 since that game with wins over Ottowa and Carolina, losses to Minnesota, Vegas, Nashville and Columbus.
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Buffalo Sabres vs St. Louis Blues - Game 31 Recap

Tarasenko's Goal Lifts Blues Over Sabres in Overtime

Goals: Schenn (16), Stastny (7) and Tarasenko (14)
Record 21-8-2
Before I share my thoughts on tonight's game, I'd just like to say thank you to all who have been reading. My blog has gone from a couple dozen people reading at the start of the season to now several hundred. It feels good to be sharing something that people are getting something out of.  

I am just a fan, like most of you. I don't have access to the players or coaches to do interviews, so I keep writing from a fan perspective without any inside information. I don't read other blogs or news stories until I have shared my own thoughts here, so I try to be original.  Sometimes the things that are said during the broadcast stick with me and undoubtedly affect what I share.  I appreciate those guys' insights as they are around the game every day and are much more knowledgeable than me.  

I can't help but wonder who all is reading. Feel free to leave a comment on here or on the Blues Lounge Facebook post that I share after each game. I'd love to see who all is out there reading. Thanks again!

My thoughts on the game

  • With Schwartz out for 6 weeks after taking a puck off the ankle in Detroit, and Pietrangelo out and listed as "day to day", the question was, "will the Blues be able to keep scoring without 20% of their offensive production in the lineup?" 
  • The Blues answered that question 40 seconds into the game on Brayden Schenn's 16th goal of the season. The goal came as Edmundson took a shot from the left side, the puck went off a Buffalo defender's skate and popped right out in front of Schenn who was skating in from the other side. He poked it home from the bottom of the right circle.
  • Because of the injuries, Jaskin was moved up to the first line with Schenn and Steen. Sundqvist was in the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the past 4 games. Ivan Barbashev was called up and played tonight as well.  Healthy scratches tonight were Sammy Blais, Pietrangelo and Chris Thorburn.
  • Coach Yeo opted for Jake Allen in net, even though it was a back-to-back game. I'd guess there were at least 3 reasons for this decision.
    • With Carter Hutton on Injured Reserve and backup goalie being rookie Ville Husso who has never played a game in the NHL, Allen was the better choice.
    • Yesterday's game in Detroit was an early game, which gave Jake a little more time to recover and rest.
    • Lastly, Jake seems to be really coming into form as of late and it's always smart to stick with a hot goalie.
  • Jake had a good game.  He only faced 24 shots and allowed 2 goals for a .916 save percentage, but I can't fault him for either goal.  The first was on a Buffalo power play and the second was late in the game when Buffalo had pulled their goalie and were playing 6 on 5. He may have been a little too aggressive on the shot just prior to the game-tying goal, coming out higher to cut down the angle.  But that shot didn't even get to him and rebounded off someone in front to a player deep in the circle on the left who had a wide open goal to put the puck into.
  • Allen is now 8-2-1 in his career when playing in the 2nd of a back-to-back game.
  • Paul Stastny scored the Blues' 2nd goal. He was the benefactor of a pair of Tarasenko shots that weren't contained by the Buffalo goalie, 6'4" 245lb Robin Lehner. Tarasenko's first shot was on net, his rebound attempt went just wide but bounced off the boards behind the net. Stastny was close by and was able to sneak the puck past the monstrous Lehner to give the Blues a 2-0 lead with a little less than 4 minutes remaining in the second period.
  • If you're a frequent reader of my blog, you know that I don't complain much about things, but tonight's officials seemed to miss some calls that looked fairly obvious. I realize that with the benefit of instant replays and slow-motion, it's easy to sit at home and second guess the refs. To name a few, Oskar Sundqvist was called for tripping in the 2nd period when a Sabre player tripped over his own skates. Schenn was called for a 4 minute penalty for instigating, and although he dropped his gloves first and pushed the other guy, he never threw a punch. He took a couple, though.  One after he was down on the ice. Lastly, Tarasenko had a clear breakaway and drew a hooking penalty but there was no penalty shot given.  I'm not sure what has to happen before a penalty shot can be called.  That was not the first time it seemed warranted this season in my opinion, but yet has not been called.
  • I liked the fact that Schenn was twice sticking up for his linemates when he felt like they were the recipients of cheap shots.
  • Tarasenko had a tough time getting the puck to the net early, but finished the game strong with several quality chances and shots on net. I was thrilled that he broke out and scored the game winner in overtime.
  • Goalie Lehner's strength was definitely not handling the puck as he actually pulled Vladi's game winning goal into the net with his own stick as he tried to stop the shot.
  • Although Buffalo had the worst record in the NHL, they still gave the Blues a game.  We outshot them 45-24, yet it still took overtime to beat them. 
  • Coming into this game the Blues penalty kill had shut the door on 16 straight chances and ran that streak to 20 before Buffalo scored their first goal at 1:42 of the third period.
  • The power play, on the other hand was 0 for 3 again tonight and continues to struggle. Thank goodness we have done so well in 5 on 5.
  • Next up is Tampa Bay who leads the Eastern Conference with a 21-6-2 record. They've won 4 in a row and defeated the Blues by a score of 2-1 in Tampa Oct 14th. They are led by Steven Stamkos who has 12 goals and 30 assists for 42 pts, and linemate Nikita Kucherov with 20 goals and 21 assists for 41 pts. Many of their points come on the power play and their +/- scores, which are based mostly on even-strength scoring, are much lower than the league-leaders in St. Louis of Schenn and Schwartz. 
  • Tampa's key to the game will be to score on the power play.  St. Louis will need to stay out of the penalty box and right the ship on their own power play.
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

30 Games into the 2017-18 Season

Blues Highlights Through 30 Games

With wins over Montreal, Dallas and Detroit this past week, the Blues seem to be back on track. They find themselves back atop the Central Division and trailing only the LA Kings in the Western Conference. 

Here are some statistics through the first 30 games of the season.
For more advanced statistics visit Hockey or

Western Conference Standings

  1. LA Kings 31 GP  Record 20-8-3  Pts 43
  2. St. Louis  30 GP   Record 20-8-2  Pts 42
  3. Nashville Predators 29 GP  Record 18-7-4  Pts 40
  4. Winnipeg Jets 30 GP  Record 17-8-5  Pts 39
  5. Vegas Golden Knights 29 GP  Record 19-9-1  Pts 39
Record vs Conferences and Division
  • Blues record vs East 9-4-0
  • Blues record vs West 11-4-2
  • Blues record vs Division 5-1-1
Every team in the Central Division of the West has a winning record. Colorado sits at the bottom of the table with a 13-13-2 record. In other words, the Central is still the toughest division in the NHL.

Team Statistics vs League
  • Goals Scored
    • 6th in the league with 99
  • Goals Allowed (fewest)
    • 6th in the league with 76
  • Power Play Percentage
    • 17.27% (23rd in league)
    • 79.34% (21st in league)
  • Shots per games played 
    • 33.79 (8th in league)
  • Shots against per games played (fewest)
    • 29.63 (3rd best in the league)
  • Faceoff Win Percentage
    • 49.11% (23rd in league)
Statistical Leaders
  • Game Winning Goals
    • Schenn is tied for league lead with 6
  • Plus/Minus Rating
    • Schenn leads the league at +24
    • Schwartz is 2nd with +23
    • Tarasenko is 4th with +17
    • Pietrangelo is 7th with +14
    • Gunnarsson is tied 18th with +11
  • Goals Scored
    • Schenn is 7th with 15
    • Schwartz is tied for 12th with 14
  • Assists
    • Schwartz and Schenn tied for 12th with 21 each
  • Total Points
    • Schenn is 7th with 36
    • Schwartz is 9th with 35
  • Even Strength Goals
    • Schenn- 6th with 12
    • Tarasenko- Tied 9th with 11
    • Schwartz- Tied 16th with 10
  • Shots
    • Tarasenko is tied for 3rd with 125 
  • Shooting percentage
    • Schwartz is 10th in the league with 22.2
  • Points per game
    • Schenn is 9th at 1.20
  • Wins by a goalie
    • Jake is tied for 3rd with 16
  • Goals Against Average (minimum of 15 games)
    • Jake is 10th in the league at 2.56
  • Goalie Save Percentage (minimum of 15 games)
    • Jake is tied 17th at .912
  • Goals by Defenseman
    • Pietrangelo is 2nd with 7
  • Assists by Defenseman
    • Pietrangelo is 8th with 16
  • Points by Defenseman
    • Pietrangelo is 5th with 23
Team Leaders
  • Face Off Win % (minimum of 10)
    • Stastny 55.1%
    • Sobotka 52.7%
  • Shots on Goal
    • Tarasenko 125
    • Pietrangelo 88
    • Parayko 83
    • Schenn 82
  • Average Time on ice (defenseman)
    • Pietrangelo 25:46
    • Parayko 21:49
    • Edmundson 19:47
  • Average Time on ice (forwards)
    • Tarasenko 19:43
    • Schenn 19:30
    • Schwartz 19:12
  • Blocked Shots (at even strength)
    • Edmundson 70
    • Pietrangelo 49
    • Parayko 38
    • Gunnarsson 38
    • Bortuzzo 34
  • Hits
    • Jaskin 75
    • Bortuzzo 63
    • Upshall 62
    • Schenn 54
    • Edmundson 51

Saturday, December 9, 2017

St. Louis Blues vs Detroit Red Wings - Game 30 Recap

Goals! Goals! Blues Win 6-1 in Detroit's Little Caesar's Arena (Pizza! Pizza!)

Goals: Schwartz (14), Sobotka (6), Upshall (5), Bouwmeester (1), Jaskin (4)
and Schenn (15)
Record 20-8-2

My Thoughts on today's games
  • Blues had good puck possession and quick passing to start the game, controlling things early.
  • The forecheck was also very aggressive and limited Detroit's possessions and scoring chances in the first 9 minutes or so.
  • Detroit was the first team to get the man advantage a little over 9 minutes in, on a high-sticking call on Sammy Blais. The Red Wings looked like they had the puck on a string as they kept possession in the Blues' zone for all but 10 seconds of the 2 minute minor, but failed to score.
  • Immediately after the penalty was killed, the Blues came on the rush.  Steen passed to Jayden Schwartz who was flying in from the top of the circles.  He shot and then continued towards the goal at breakneck speed and skated right into the rebound and stuffed it home before anyone else could get to it.
  • Jake made some good saves in the first period as the Red Wings ended up outshooting the Blues 11-4.  He also caught a break when the Red Wings hit the crossbar on their second power play opportunity.
  • Detroit took a penalty late in the period to give St. Louis a power play for the last 47 seconds of the 1st and then the first 1:13 to start the 2nd. It's hard to get momentum on the power play when it's broken up by an intermission.
  • The biggest concern in the first period was some sort of injury to Jayden Schwartz who after blocking a shot, had to be helped off the ice and did not return to the game.
  • St. Louis didn't score on the power play in the beginning of the 2nd but Sobotka got his 6th goal of the season a couple of minutes later. He sniped one in over the left shoulder of Detroit goalie, Jimmy Howard from the top of the left circle.
  • 2 minutes and 10 seconds after Sobotka's goal, Upshall stole the puck at the blue line and skated in on Howard. Upshall faked right, then left, then right and then went left and poked it home between Howard's legs for his 5th goal of the season, this one unassisted.
  • The Blues only managed 9 shots on goal through the first two periods but Jay Bouwmeester scored to put them up 4-0 on the team's 8th shot on goal in the game at the 16:26 mark of the second period. It was his first of the season. It looked like Blais or Berglund may have tipped it before it got to the net, but they credited #19 after taking a closer look.
  • It was no surprise that Detroit pulled Howard at the end of the second after he let in 4 goals on just the 9 shots.
  • Detroit finally scored at the 7:18 mark of the third when Frans Nielsen cleaned up a puck in front of the net after Allen made 2 or 3 saves on the play and just couldn't corral the puck. Everyone seemed to be trapped on one side of the net and Allen didn't have any help clearing the puck.
  • St. Louis got back to a 4 goal lead less than 2 minutes later when Pietrangelo made a nice pass up the ice to a streaking Jaskin who skated in and got backup goalie Petr Mrazek to go down into the butterfly and then tucked the puck in behind him. It was Jaskin's 4th goal of the season and fruit for all of his excellent efforts, especially of late.
  • Schenn topped off the scoring in the final minute of the game to make it 6-1.
  • It's a shame, Jake should have had another shutout today but it was not to be. He stopped 28 of 29 shots for a .966 save percentage. 
  • With the back-to-back game tomorrow in St. Louis against Buffalo will we see rookie backup Ville Husso?
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Friday, December 8, 2017

Dalls Stars vs St. Louis Blues - Game 29 Recap

Allen Posts Shutout, Blues Win 3-0

Goals: Schenn (14), Parayko (3) and Tarasenko (13)
Record 19-8-2

My Thoughts on the game

  • This game was a battle of two like-minded teams with Dallas managing 29 shots on goal and the Blues only 27, with the good guys coming out on top in the scoring column. Defense and good goal tending was the theme in this one. Both teams made it hard for the other to find space on the ice.
  • Dallas took 7 penalties, while St. Louis only took 2.  The Blues killed both of theirs off and were successful on the power play for 2 goals in their 7 tries. One Blues penalty came very late in the game as Upshall was whistled for slashing with only 23 seconds left on the clock. 
  • Schenn got the first power play goal at 16:39 of the first period for his 6th game winner of the season. Steen's shot from high in the slot rebounded in front where Jaskin put a stick on it and then Schenn slammed it inside the far post on the 3rd try. At that point, Schenn had scored 4 goals in his last 4 periods played, having scored the hat trick in the previous game at Montreal.
  • Dimitri Jaskin was rewarded for his efforts lately by being moved to the 3rd line tonight with Beglund and Paajarvi, as well as being given a spot on the power play unit.
  • Sammy Blais had been sent back down prior to the game and Oscar Sundqvist was a healthy scratch for this game. Other personnel moves included recalling goalie Ville Husso due to an issue with Carter Hutton who was also a healthy scratch. Bortuzzo watched from the press box tonight also, as Vince Dunn was back in the lineup.
  • The Husso callup was late and he wasn't able to make it in time for pregame warmups, so the Blues called season ticket holder, Tyler Stewart who suited up and skated with the Blues for warmups.  It must have been a dream come true. 
  • Although the Blues were 2 for 7 on the power play tonight, there were still some glaring issues. They had a 5 on 3 for a minute and 14 seconds late in the first and failed to score. On the season they are 0 for 5 with a two man advantage. Early in the second period they went without a shot on goal on another power play. The two goals were an improvement, but as Coach Yeo says, there is still room to get better.
  • Allen's shutout was his 16th of his career with the Blues. That's good enough for a tie in 3rd place with Glen Hall in Blues history. He also climbed ahead of Brian Elliot in wins as a Blue with 105.  To put Allen's record in a broader perspective, he won his 105th in just 8 more games started than Elliot.  He is now 3 wins behind Grant Fuhr and has played in 65 fewer games than Fuhr. Ahead of Fuhr are Curtis Joseph with 137 wins and Mike Liut with 151. 
  • Jake made some excellent saves throughout the game. The shutout was no gift. However, the Stars put on a lot of offensive pressure down the final stretch and had shots go off the post and the crossbar, as well as a shot that got through Allen's legs but rolled through the crease without a Dallas player there to poke it home behind him. That puck seemed to have eyes as it rolled out of the goal instead of into it.
  • Another close call came at the end of the 2nd period.  Under some heavy offensive pressure, Allen made a couple of nice saves and then found himself stretched out on his back across the goal crease. Dallas kept fighting to get the puck past Allen and finally did but it was a half second or so after the horn had sounded. Phew!
  • Paajarvi was more visible tonight for me. It looked to me like he was getting involved more and was hustling throughout the game.  His speed really showed up tonight. He had a steal early in the third period and had a good scoring chance as a result. He missed a few games recently and the depth we now have with Berglund and Bouwmeester back is creating some competition for spots.  When these guys get back on the ice, they want to secure that spot and not give the coaching staff any reason to change things. It's good for the Blues in the long run.
  • The Blues second goal came on a power play 5 minutes into the third period. Colton Parayko's slap shot from the point beat Dallas goalie, Kari Lehtonen low on the stick side. There was great traffic in front of the net that included a perfectly timed "skate by" from Paul Stastny. Lehtonen never saw the puck because on the replay he was reaching for it with his glove while it was in the net on the other side of him.
  • Parayko's goal was the first by a Blues defenseman in 9 games. 
  • One observation I wanted to share: When the puck goes back to center ice and a team tries to regroup before attacking again, if they "dilly-dally" around with the puck when the Blues are on their game, they are all over the other team like flies on a rib roast. They come at you with the forecheck and get after the puck and all of a sudden, instead of starting up ice with your offense, you're scrambling around just trying to keep possession and not let them have it. I love the way this team doesn't give the other guys space to operate or time to think what they're going to do next.
  • Tarasenko finished off the scoring with an empty-netter. Maybe it will help him get back on track. Everybody wants to see him score and he expects to score too. It's ok, Vladi. We are happy with wins and we'll be even happier when you are scoring too.
  • Next game is a Noon puck drop in Detroit on Saturday.
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

St. Louis Blues vs Montreal Canadiens - Game 28 Recap

Brayden Schennsational's Hat Trick Leads Blues Past Canadiens 4-3
Goals: Schenn (11,12,13) and Upshall (4)
Record 18-8-2

My Thoughts on Tonight's Game
  • If Carey Price is the best player in the NHL (As I heard someone say on the radio during pregame), then tonight Brayden Schenn was the best player in the world. Just because Price had led Montreal to 5 straight wins since coming back from an injury, and just because he had only allowed 6 goals in those 5 games, doesn't make him Superman. Either that, or Schenn had a pocket full of Kryptonite as he logged his 3rd career hat trick tonight.
  • I like Schenn! He hasn't been in the scoring column for a while, but he made up for it tonight.
  • Tarasenko has been struggling to score lately too, but he will get back on track soon.  Look for him to put some pucks in the net in bunches soon.  
  • Schwartz looked good. He set Schenn up twice for his 20th and 21st assists on the season. He is a bulldog chasing the puck and possessing it when he has it. He also had a breakaway on Price on which he failed to score.
  • Parayko and Pietrangelo added assists tonight to continue the trend of the defense being involved in the Blues' offense.
  • There were a couple of weird things that happened in this game. In the first period, I think it was, a puck shot over the goal hit the glass and bounced back over the goal into the crease. Jake was alert and trapped the puck but it could have easily rolled into the net had he not been aware.
  • Allen also lost a blade on one of his skates when his skate clipped the post. Carter Hutton relieved him until he could get a new blade.
  • The other weird thing that happened came on Shea Weber's slapshot that looked to be going wide of the net. Allen looked convinced that it was going wide and kind of played it casually. But the puck curved, much like a lot of soccer shots and snuck inside the post on Allen's left.
  • St. Louis scored early tonight at exactly 5 minutes into the game. It was a much better start, reversing the trend that had been developing. Montreal tied the game 10 minutes later and the first period ended 1-1.
  • Montreal's other two goals came on blistering slap shots from Jordie Benn and former Nashville Predator, Shea Weber immediately off two faceoff wins. Weber's slap shot is reminiscent of Al MacInnis and he beat Allen as he shot low through traffic and between the legs of Allen.
  • The other goal by the Blues came when Dimitri Jaskin skated in on the right side and drew the goalie to the post. As he got to the goal line with the puck on his backhand, all the while fighting off the defender, he found Scottie Upshall in front of the net who poked it home into the wide open net.
  • I think the stat of the night that tells me St. Louis was on their game, playing gritty hockey is the 'giveaway' statistic.  Montreal gave the puck away 28 times. 
  • The Blues face the Dallas Stars Thursday back at Scottrade, travel to Detroit on Saturday and then spend the week at home for four straight against Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Anaheim and Winnipeg.
#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...