Saturday, April 7, 2018

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 game

  • I'm thinking now that maybe we were a little too hard on Patrik Berglund early on this season. Maybe the shoulder injury that caused him to miss 24 games to start the season affected him more than we realized. Whether that's true or not, he certainly has turned his game up a few notches since he was called out and benched a few weeks ago.
  • If you didn't see the game or read anything about it yet, (by the way...where have you been?!) Berglund had a hat trick in this one. He has now scored 8 goals and has 9 points in his last 10 games. He's playing like a new man. 
  • Carter Hutton got the start in this one, and in a rare move the Blues called up Ville Husso as the backup so that Jake Allen could have a complete night off and be totally rested for the must-win game tomorrow night in Denver against the Avalanche. 
  • The Blues need to just secure one point to earn their 7th straight playoff appearance. This marks the first time in the history of the team that it has come down to the last game in order to secure their spot.
  • The only other thing I thought the Blues could have done was to have sent Jake on out to Colorado a couple of days early in order to give him a little more time to adjust to the altitude. It sounds like they thought of everything else, why not?
  • The Blues had several chances early on in this game but missed out on those opportunities until Berglund tipped a Joel Edmundson shot that found it's way into the net with just 1:43 left in the first period.
  • Chicago tied it on a shot by Erik Gustafsson who caught Hutton not hugging the near post. I'm sure many of our minds raced back to just two nights earlier when we saw the Blues collapse in the final period against these same Blackhawks.
  • We weren't allowed to daydream for long, though. Bergulicious scored his 2nd goal just 16 seconds later. In fact, the PA announcer hadn't even announced the Gustafsson goal yet before the Big Swede poked home a rebound after Robert Bortuzzo's shot hit Kyle Brodziak in the back. Bergie knocked it out of the air into the net. It may have bounced before he hit it but it sounds better if you say he hit it out of mid-air.
  • Poor Chicago fans didn't even get to cheer about their goal as the St. Louis goal put them back in front. It would turn out to be the game-winner.
  • They added to the lead when one of my two favorite players, Brayden Schenn got in on the forecheck and just absolutely stole the puck from someone. It was just a flat hustle play. Mr. Hustle, we should call him. I love athletes who hustle! It makes up for so much. I always tried to hustle, no matter what and I just can't get enough of seeing it. They called Pete Rose "Charlie Hustle" and I think Schenn deserves a similar moniker. 
  • Anyway, I digress. Schenn 'pinched in', as they say, and got the puck. He took it straight to the back of the net and looked for his little buddy, Jaden Schwartz, (my other favorite player). He found him right where he knew he'd be, in the slot in front of the goal. Jaden wasted no time in putting the puck past the Chicago goalie. 
  • Side note, I even contemplated having "SchwartzSchenn" put on the back of my jersey. Then, I thought "HirSchwartz" or "HirSchenn". My last name is Hirsch, so I thought it would be clever, but decided against it as I felt most would be confused and would have led to questions I'd rather not answer.
  • Bergie got an empty-net goal for his 2nd career hat trick. I was listening to the game on the radio and was in a Target store at the time. I didn't have a hat on, but I was in the men's clothing section. The clerk paged security when I started throwing hats, but the situation was diffused when I offered to pick them all up and explained that I was a Blues fan.
  • Randomness: Chicago is FAST at getting it up ice when they get the puck. Did anyone else notice that? I mean when they got possession, they were moving in the other direction immediately on the attack. Impressive.
  • More randomness: Kyle Brodziak is another guy who could be one of my favorite players if Schenn and Schwartz weren't already there. So could a lot of other Blues players. I don't dislike any of them. I just have my favorites. Anyway, Brodziak is a player that I'm not sure we realize where we'd be without him. He is a lifetime 49.7% faceoff guy. However, in the last 5 games he has won 59.5%, many in key situations. In the game Wednesday against Chicago he won 10 of 13 for 76.9%. 
  • I've got a Kyle Brodziak autographed "Military" themed puck, and that's the way I think of him. I think of him as a soldier. He gives his heart and soul for the good of the team every night and we are lucky to have him. I hope he's back again next year.
  • On to Colorado. All we have to do is get it to overtime, but I hope we put it to them early and often.  Let's not sit back and 'hope' we get to overtime. Let's get it done early, boys!
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Blackhawks Deliver Heartbreaker in Final Seconds

Chicago Blackhawks vs St. Louis Blues - Game 80 Recap
Goals: Bortuzzo (4), Schenn (27) and Tarasenko (33)
Record 43-31-6 
My thoughts on this game

  • I went to this game. I was sick to my stomach when I left. What a disappointing loss! I almost didn't write a recap, I was so upset. But, being the analytical that I am, after writing 79 game recaps I couldn't let a game go "uncovered" here on my blog. It would be the equivalent of leaving a button unbuttoned in the middle of your shirt, or painting a house and leaving a small section untouched. You get the idea.
  • So, what I decided to do was to watch the recorded version of the game on my trusty DVR and break down some things by watching in slow motion some of the goals and what led to them, and offer some opinions on what I saw.
  • As good as technology is, it's unbelievable how the breaks have gone for the Blues on replays and challenges this season. It seems that the camera is never at the right angle or something is in the way, blah blah blah. This time it was Jaden Schwartz who looked to have scored a goal early in the first period. They buzzed the horn about 2 minutes later so Toronto evidently saw something. But when it came down to the refs looking at it, there wasn't enough clear evidence to overturn the 'no-goal' call.
  • Oh well! It may have ignited a bit of a fire because just a couple of minutes later Robert Bortuzzo added to his career-high scoring year by netting his 4th goal of the season. His shot was aided by the screen from Alexander Steen in front who has been consistently working that dirty area lately. It's something we've all said had been missing most of the season, but it seems to me like he decided he was going to fill that void about the same time his good friend, Paul Stastny was traded at the trade deadline. The goal was created by some good forechecking.
  • On Chicago's first goal that tied the game 4 1/2 minutes later, I discovered by watching and rewinding and playing back in slow motion that the Blues had the puck not once, but twice in their defensive zone and turned it over, allowing Chicago the opportunity that they shouldn't have had. To turn it over and then get it back only to turn it over again was just poor play on the part of the Blues.
  • The Blues had a power play, I don't remember now if it was the one late in the first or the one in the 2nd period, but I made some notes on it. They made 6 passes, finally took a shot and missed the net. Then they got it back and made 8 passes and got a shot on goal. Towards the end, Colton Parayko got off a shot and there was a rebound out front. Ivan Barbashev and Vladi Sobotka were both there but neither could get a stick on it.
  • I was sitting there thinking, based on how poor the power play has been this season and all the times I've watched us pass it around and then not get a shot on goal, that it was another poor power play executed by the Blues. But the NBC announcers said "perfect example of how a power play should work. Why are they 30th in the league?" I guess they see things differently than I do. 
  • Personally, I think our power play looked the best all season when Vladi was hurt and missed a couple of games. Just saying.
  • After the Blues went up 3-1 on goals by Schenn and Tarasenko early in the 2nd period, Chicago got a short-handed goal by Blake Hillman. It was his first NHL goal. I'm like, "How did that happen?!"
  • Watching the replay, the Hawks entered the offensive zone with 2 on 2 and a trailer. The guy with the puck spun and waited for the trailer, Hillman. Vladi Sobotka was in front of Hillman and gave him some space, enough space that he wound up and slapped it past Jake Allen to cut the lead to 2-1. I don't' know why Sobotka gave him so much space. Maybe he didn't expect him to shoot it. I thought it was a poor decision.
  • The tying goal was unassisted, but it was caused by another bad decision by the Blues, this time in their offensive zone when Tage Thompson turned the puck over out near the blue line. Rookie Alex DeBrincat skated up ice with the puck and maneuvered into some open space and fired a slap shot from the top of the circle that went under Jake's arm on the stick side. Jake was visibly upset that he allowed it to go in. Poor puck possession on our part. It just seemed to be a theme of the evening for us.
  • The game-winner came on a power-play goal with just 8.5 seconds left in the game. A penalty was called on defenseman Chris Butler for holding when Chicago got the puck on a breakaway and was behind the defense. I don't know how the defenseman's shifts had played out leading up to it, but I wondered why our veteran defensemen weren't on the ice with just 2 minutes remaining. When it seemed like we were about to at least make it to overtime and secure at least 1 point, veteran Blackhawk defenseman Duncan Keith got a cross-ice pass and one-timed it into the net. You could feel the air leave the building. 
  • Looking back at the play in slo-mo, the cross-ice pass was open because our guy on the weak side was sucked down towards the goal by another Blackhawk down near the goal line. That opened up the lane and gave Keith the space he needed to get the shot off. 
  • If I'm not mistaken, three of their goals were scored at or near the top of the circles. To me, that's just too many goals from that far out. Blame some of them on Jake if you want. Rightly so. But this was just an overall poor performance by the entire Blues team to allow this team, without Jonathan Toews to come back from a 3-1 deficit and beat you in regulation in your own building with this much on the line. 
  • OK. I've stated my opinion. Now, let's put it behind us and move forward. Unbelievably enough, we still control our own destiny and can make the playoffs. 
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Blues Drop 3rd Straight Yet Playoff Hopes Still Alive

Washington Capitals vs St. Louis Blues - Game 79 Recap
Goals: Tarasenko (32) and Berglund (14)
Record 43-30-6
My Thoughts on the Game

  • We started off great! Jake Allen made a great save on Alex Ovechkin and then Tarasenko scored 3 minutes and 38 seconds after they dropped the puck. What happened? 
  • I tweeted "Our Russian scored before your Russian!" but boy, did things change quickly in the 2nd period!
  • We kept Ovechkin off the scoresheet until he got an empty-netter at the end of the game, but we just stood by and watched as Nicklas Backstrom scored 51 seconds into the 2nd period. Then about 2 minutes later we watched Alex Chiasson score on a long stretch pass that went past 4 Blues players as he skated in all alone on Jake.
  • Their 3rd goal was sick, nasty, and dirty! Andre Burakovsky skated into the offensive zone and took the puck behind his back and then between his own legs as he totally faked out Vince Dunn. He skated around him like he was one of the statues out in front of Scottrade. All Vince could do was poke at him as he went around and put the puck in the net over Jake's shoulder.
  • The line of Alexander Steen, Kyle Brodziak and Patrik Berglund worked hard and after two tip shots by Berglund didn't find the net, the Big Swede got the puck back and shot it in off a Washington defenders leg. The puck snuck inside the post on the short side to draw the Blues back to a one-goal deficit at 3-2. But, we couldn't get anything else in the net and tie it up.
  • We needed points desperately but have only managed 1 in the last 3 games. 
  • As I said a little bit earlier, I think we have had a tendency to do a little too much watching and standing around when the other team has the puck in our end. We get caught not finding men and putting a body on them and that's when we get burned. 
  • I rewind the DVR and watch a lot of the goals in slow motion and there are lots of times when our guys are just standing and watching and their reaction is too late when they find someone.
  • When we are on our game, I think our defense and our forecheck is menacing and hard to play against. But, there have been too many times this season where we've had lapses and those lapses have not only led to goals but losses and stretches of hockey where we find ourselves asking "What happened to our team? Where did the team that was tearing it up at certain times this season go?"
  • One guy I'd like to point out that I saw working really hard was Dimitri Jaskin. He may not have been perfect, I don't pretend to know. But I did see him hustling and giving it everything he had several times in this game.
  • Good news is this - IF we could win 2 of our last 3 and one of those 2 wins would be over Colorado in the last regular season game in regulation, there's no way Colorado can beat us out of that last spot.
  • The Blackhawks are talking smack and saying how nice it would be to see the Blues miss the playoffs and how they want to help make that happen. They shouldn't need it with their playoff lives at stake, but if the Blues didn't have any material for the locker room bulletin board, they do now. 
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Coyotes Post 6 Goals, Shutout Blues

St. Louis Blues vs Arizona Coyotes - Game 78 Recap
Goals: none
Record 43-29-6
My Thoughts on this game

  • What is there to say? Arizona scored 6 goals. The Blues scored 0.
  • Other than hitting the post a couple of times early in the first period, goalie Antii Raanta stopped everything the Blues could put on the net.
  • Six different Coyotes scored goals. Eleven players recorded points. Quite the balanced attack if you ask me.
  • Jake Allen pulled after allowing a second goal on just 14 shots, 3 minutes and 51 seconds into the 2nd period. Post-game press conference remarks by Mike Yeo indicated that it was not because of Jake's play but because of the upcoming week of games. 
  • I would guess it had something to do with Carter Hutton being back and not having played in quite some time and needing to get him some game time before he might be needed in a "do-or-die" situation either in this upcoming week or, if and when the Blues make the playoffs. 
  • Jake didn't seem happy when Yeo spoke with him in the tunnel after pulling him. I kind of see it both ways but I think that if Jake was going to be on that short of a leash, he should have just started Hutton.
  • Carter faced 19 shots on goal and allowed 4 goals. It was no surprise, given his lack of playing time the last few weeks.
  • Thank you, Jake Allen for getting us back into a playoff spot!
  • The good news is that the Blues are still in a playoff spot, albeit by the skin of their teeth. As I write this, nearly 20 hours after the game ended, the team above the Blues (Anaheim) is preparing to face the team beneath the Blues (Colorado). It is in the best interest of the Blues if Anaheim wins in regulation. 
  • A Ducks win would catapult them in front of the LA Kings, who are idle tonight, and would keep the Avs one point behind the Blues with the Blues having a game in hand on both Colorado and LA. 
  • It would be nice to end up in the 1st wildcard spot as it would place the Blues in the Pacific Division playoffs, but any spot in the playoffs is all that really matters at this point.
  • This week's schedule includes home games with Washington on Monday and Chicago on Wednesday, then back-to-back road games in Chicago and Colorado to close out the season.
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Golden Knights Prevail Over Blues in Overtime 4-3

St. Louis Blues vs Vegas Golden Knights - Game 77 Recap
Goals: Berglund (13), Schenn (26) and Thorburn (1)
Record 43-28-6
My thoughts on the game

  • Sounded and looked like there were lots of Blues fans there. It almost sounded like a home game for the boys.
  • Patrik Berglund scored early in this one. It was his 4th goal in the last 6 games. He looks to be skating with a new pep in his step and with a lot more confidence lately. He's finding some chemistry with Alexander Steen and Kyle Brodziak.
  • Vegas gave the Blues a chance to add to the lead by taking a tripping penalty moments after the Berglund goal, and then a delay of game penalty right after that. But, instead of adding to the lead they gave up a short-handed goal which tied it up at 1-1.
  • It wasn't just a breakaway, it was like Williamson Karlsson was in the rink all by himself, one-on-one with Jake Allen. The closest player to him when he got to the net was Schenn who was barely across the blue line. It was Karlsson's 41st goal of the year in 78 games. He had scored 18 goals in his previous 183 games. These Knights all seem to be playing like they have something to prove, all of them like the kid who finally gets in the game and gets his chance to show what he can do.
  • There was some lady wearing a bright pink shirt or jacket behind the goal on one end, and I kept thinking it was the goal lamp. I couldn't tell when a shot went in or not sometimes and I kept seeing that pink shirt! Who wears pink to a hockey game unless it's a "Pink for Cancer Awareness" night or something?
  • Vegas' scored 2 more goals in the game. They both were on very sharp, crisp "tic-tac-toe" passing plays around the net. Both were scored on the unlikeliest of angles. On the first one, Jonathan Marchessault's skates were both below the goal line when he scored. To me, it looked like Robert Bortuzzo was a little slow in finding him.
  • On the other goal, James Neal wasn't quite as deep as the first one, but he was at a very sharp angle as well and beat Jake top shelf before he could adjust to the crisp passing. Neal was all alone on the weak side and caught the Blues off-guard.
  • After Vegas had taken a 2-1 lead, Brayden Schenn found the net. He found the smallest of spaces just over the glove of the goaltender, Malcolm Subban and inside the post. Jaden Schwartz and Vladi Tarasenko assisted on the goal.
  • The Blues turned up the offensive pressure at the end of the first period and ended up outshooting Vegas 9-5.
  • The last Blue who hadn't yet scored a goal this year, finally got one when we needed it most. Chris Thorburn got a goal through the five-hole on Subban after his linemates battled hard and won the puck behind the Vegas net. Scottie Upshall and Oskar Sundqvist both got assists on the goal. It's good to see him get a goal. He works hard every night.
  • Overtime didn't last long. Vegas got a screen on Jake Allen and Marchessault's wrister from the high slot went in just 22 seconds into the extra time. I love Brayden Schenn, but in watching the replay, I felt like he let his man stand in front of Jake without challenging him for the space. I'm sure guys get tired and lose concentration at times. It's understandable. I'm just saying I thought that led to the goal. 
  • I thought the play looked very close to being offsides and I thought the linesman was a bit out of position to clearly see it, but the commentators said it looked onside to them. No crying over spilled milk. Here's a screenshot of the play where he crosses the blue line.
  • The Blues still got a point and are still in a playoff spot. They stop in Arizona tonight to face the Coyotes before coming home for their final two home games of the season.
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Blues Win Sixth Straight With 3-2 Overtime Win

San Jose Sharks vs St. Louis Blues - Game 76 Recap
Goals: Sundqvist (1), Tarasenko (30,31)
Record 43-28-5
My Thoughts on the game

  • I was at this game and I usually watch it back on the DVR to write my recap. I just haven't had time to do that on this one. I live 1 1/2 hours from Scottrade, so by the time I get home it's usually 11:30 and then up for work the next day.  It's just hard to get a recap posted in a timely fashion when I go to the game.
  • With that being said, I had a lot of fun at this game. The crowd at Scottrade has been a little rowdier lately, but last night I felt like it was electric.
  • Whether you like people yelling "Woooo" or not, at least they're doing something besides sitting there like they're at a tennis match.
  • It was good to see Sundqvist get his first goal as a Blue. He's been a healthy scratch more often than not this season, but they say he has a great attitude and works hard all of the time. I'm happy for him to get the goal. 
  • This Blues squad is working hard and it's truly fun to watch. San Jose had won 8 straight coming into this one, but that ended, didn't it?
  • We are in the 1st wild card spot right now with a game in hand on one of the teams under us. We have to keep winning, though.
  • Tarasenko seems to have benefited from sitting out a couple of games last week. He scored twice. If we are going to pull this off, we need him putting pucks in the net. For sure!
  • Jake Allen continued to be the backstop we need. I thought the Evander Kane goal was definitely stoppable. Jake thought he had it in his glove and it trickled out the top so it must have been knuckling or he just misjudged it. Either way, it wasn't enough to beat us and that's all that matters.
  • I'll have a more complete set of recaps for the Vegas and Arizona games this weekend. 
  • Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment and share with your Blues friends.
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Five in a Row! Blues Over Columbus 2-1

St. Louis Blues vs Columbus Blue Jackets - Game 75 Recap
Goals: Steen (15) and Tarasenko (29)
Record 42-28-5
My thoughts on the game

  • Someone suggested that they liked my recaps when they were more opinion based (like a columnist), instead of game recaps (written like a reporter).  I honestly didn't realize I had changed so much until I went back and read some of the earlier ones. As I tried to be more thorough, things did change. If you have a preference and would like to offer feedback, please comment on here or on the social media posts. I'd love to hear from you.
  • This game was a clash of two teams that showed a lot of animosity for one another back in October when the Blues won by a score of 4-1. Coming into this one, Columbus had won 10 straight games. The Blues had won 4 straight and were battling for their playoff lives.
  • Alexander Steen scored early. With linemates Kyle Brodziak and Patrik Berglund this group is working hard and contributing. It's really good to see.
  • Columbus had a goal waived off shortly after due to the fact that it was a soccer goal. The guy kicked it in.
  • I understand the fans who were disappointed with Jake Allen, who for the second year in a row went through a funk earlier this season. But, boy! Is he playing well now!? The save he made in the first period with guys in front of him and a wide open net where he reached across and snagged the puck out of the air. WOW! Or should I say "WOOOOO!"? (Ala Ric Flair) I mean, I think I saw a couple of Blue Jackets raise their arms to celebrate, they were so certain that it was a goal.
  • Truth is, this is the way Jake was playing early in the season when we were being talked about as one of the best teams in the NHL. Then Carter Hutton stepped in and played lights out when we needed him most. Thank God for him, too. And now thank goodness Jake is playing the way he is. He made a LOT of nice saves on a VERY good team tonight.
  • Nationwide Arena looked dark on TV! Seriously, compared to Scottrade it was like night and day.
  • Why do idiots bang on the glass when the play gets close to them? What are they trying to accomplish? Do they think it bothers the players? Do they think it helps their team? Have they just had too much to drink or are they just stupid? I saw lots of people doing this in Nashville too, so I hope it's not something that catches on in St. Louis.
  • Has anyone noticed how much more physical Tage Thompson has gotten in the past few weeks? I can't wait to see this guy in a year or two when he's filled out a little more and has that much more game experience. With a little more meat on his bones and the skill he has, he's going to be a beast!
  • I thought Vladimir Tarasenko's goal was very creative. Something you don't see much from him. He slid to his left and created a lane and then used Alex Pietrangelo as a screen. It was nice to see and turned out to be the game-winner. 
  • He also nearly gave up a goal when he turned the puck over in the offensive zone out near the blue line. He hustled to get back but couldn't catch the guy. Lucky for us that Jake Allen made the stop and did so quite smoothly. It didn't look like the guy really ever even got close to finding an opening. Thanks for having Vladi's back, Jake.
  • Columbus managed to score one goal. Cam Atkinson sniped one past Jake. The shot was unexpected and a good one. 
  • The commentators said Jake "stood on his head" in the third period to stop everything Columbus threw at us. I never saw him do that, but the camera angles don't always allow you to see everything. I'll bet it's hard to do, though, with all that equipment on.
  • The Blues are now 10-2-2 in the 2nd night of back-to-back games this season. It's a good thing they have such a good record in such games because they have two more of them yet this season. Including the last game of the regular season in Colorado which could very well be for all the marbles. Well, not ALL the marbles but at least a playoff spot and a chance to eventually play for "All the Marbles".
  • Hope you enjoyed me getting back to my roots. Thanks to Barry Anglin for pointing me back to them. Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed it, please like and share on social media. Comments always welcome. Let's go Blues!
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Berglund Scores Twice, Blues Win Fourth Straight

Vancouver Canucks vs St. Louis Blues - Game 74 Recap
Goals: Berglund (11,12), Tarasenko (28) and Jaskin (6)
Record 41-28-5
My thoughts on this game

  • As the season winds down the Blues have cranked things up. They have won three straight games by coming from behind and winning in overtime. Every night it's a different player leading the way. Tonight there would be no come from behind and no overtime, but the third factor held true as we got goals from Berglund and Jaskin in this one. 
  • It didn't take long for the Blues to get on the board. :40 seconds into the first period a Blues rush into the offensive zone with Pietrangelo filling on the right wing and Berglund up the middle led to a goal. It started with Steen along the boards at center ice, he found Petro streaking up the right side. Petro shuffled the puck over to Berglund in some traffic. The big Swede took the puck on his backhand and hoisted it over the blocker side into the upper corner past Vancouver goaltender, Anders Nilsson.
  • In the middle of the first, the Canucks turned up their offensive pressure. In one attack they had 4 shots on goal in the same possession. During the onslaught, Jake made one save with the handle of his stick and the Blues were able to keep the score 1-0 to end the first.
  • The Blues didn't escape the first period without casualties, though. Carl Gunnarsson left the game, barely able to get off the ice. It was announced after the game that he had torn an ACL and would require surgery. He will miss 6 months. Speedy recovery wishes to Carl!
  • The Blues had 2 power plays in the first period. Neither produced any goals. They couldn't even manage a shot on goal during the first one. The second Vancouver penalty came with just a minute left in the first period, so it carried over into the opening minute of the second period.
  • After the Canucks killed off the penalty to start the 2nd, Tage Thompson was called for interference and gave Vancouver a chance with the man advantage at the 2:55 mark.
  • With 10 seconds left in the penalty, Kyle Brodziak poked a puck away from a Canuck into center ice, he was gassed but managed to skate it into the offensive zone and find Berglund, who had slipped into the middle of the ice without anyone around him. He took a stride or two with the puck before his wrist shot again beat Nilsson to give the Blues a 2-0 lead on a short-handed goal. Berglund had his first multi-goal game since March 2017.
  • At the 12:40 mark of the middle period Vince Dunn was called for hooking. The Blues nearly got another short-handed goal when Oskar Sundqvist made a slick toe-drag move to get around the Vancouver defense, but Nilsson managed to stop the puck. 
  • St. Louis killed off the penalty, but 7 seconds after it was over the Sedin twins teamed up and assisted on a Sam Gagner goal. The passing was crisp and clean and they found Gagner open on the back side. Colton Parayko looked to be a little bit late turning and finding Gagner. His goal made it 2-1 and that's score held through the end of the 2nd period.
  • Vladimir Taransenko was back tonight after missing two games with an upper-body injury. He added his 28th goal of the season in an unlikely fashion just 14 seconds into the third period. The Blues won the faceoff to start the period and sent the puck in behind the Vancouver net. Last game's hero, Jaden Schwartz went in on the forecheck and pilfered the puck. He found Vladi in front of the net. Vladi actually turned his back to the goal and pushed a little backhand knuckler towards the goal. It was like it was in slow motion. Nilsson was probably expecting a typical Tarasenko shot and seemed baffled by how slow the puck was coming at him. He went down into the butterfly and the puck slid through his legs to give the Blues a 3-1 lead.
  • After outshooting the Blues 12-4 in the opening period, Vancouver didn't manage much offense after that. St. Louis held them to 5 shots on goal in the middle period and just 3 in the third. Opponents have not gotten a lot of opportunities against them in this recent stretch.
  • Another power-play for St. Louis midway through the third yielded no shots on goal again. It was looking better, I thought when Vladi was out. More pucks got on net. Maybe they are thinking about getting him the puck too much on the power play and they just need to shoot it. Logic tells you if you don't get shots you aren't going to score. 
  • With 2 and a half minutes left in the game, Dimitri Jaskin was rewarded for his recent hard work. He's really been grinding and tonight it paid off. Colton Parayko had the puck out near the blue line. He slid to his left to create a lane to the goal. This time, instead of winding up for that huge slap shot of his, he slid a little soft one towards the goal. It was amazing as three different players touched it on the way in. First, it was Tage Thompson who redirected it, then Sobotka and finally Jaskin who put it in the net. 
  • Hopefully, that will be part of the film study they see as an example of how to score more goals. I've been frustrated with guys always thinking they have to wind up and blast the puck every single time. 
  • Nonetheless, it was a good win and the Blues inched closer to the wild card spot. They find themselves still on the outside looking in and the next 3 opponents are no easy targets. They play in Columbus where the Blue Jackets have won like 10 in a row or something like that. Then they host San Jose on Tuesday before flying back out west for another back-to-back weekend with Vegas and then Arizona.
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Friday, March 23, 2018

Blues Ride Schwartz & Allen to Third Straight Overtime Victory

Boston Bruins vs St. Louis Blues - Game 73 Recap
Goals: Schwartz (21, 22)
Record 40-28-5
My thoughts on the game

  • The Bruins came into St. Louis on what NBC calls "rivalry night". Not many of today's younger fans realize why this matchup could be called a rivalry. But those who've been around since the beginning know quite well, and remember losing to Bobby Orr and the Bruins in the Stanley Cup final in 1970. 
  • I was up close and personal at this game. I used the seat upgrade feature on the St. Louis Blues app right before game time and found a seat right behind the goal in the first row. Being so close really gives you an appreciation for how fast this game is and how little space there is on the ice.
  • The Bruins came into the game missing several key players like David Backes, Zdeno Chara, Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy and Rick Nash, all of whom are out with injuries. NBC's Mike "Doc" Emrick said, "The Bruins come into this one with lots of injuries. The Blues, however, are pretty healthy."  I guess he forgot about Vladi Tarasenko, Jay Bouwmeester, Scottie Upshall, Zach Sanford, Robbie Fabbri, Carter Hutton, etc.
  • Tarasenko was out for the 2nd game in a row after leaving the Rangers game at the end of the first period. The only status the Blues have given is 'upper body injury'. 
  • This one started out fast and physical. The Bruins came with lots of energy early and the Blues seemed to be on their heels, especially in the first half of the opening period.
  • Although there wasn't much offense from either team all game long, there was plenty of physicality. The shots on goal in the first were only 9-5 in favor of Boston, but the hits were something like 16-5 in favor of the Blues. 
  • Boston did manage a goal in the first period. Half way through at the 10:12 mark the Blues were working in their own zone to kill off a cross-checking penalty on Robert Bortuzzo. The puck was below the goal line just right of the net when Alex Pietrangelo attempted to clear it up the middle of the ice. Trouble is, the referee was in his line of fire and the puck went off him and fell onto the tape of rookie Ryan Donato. Donato impressed in his first game in the NHL two nights earlier with a goal and 2 assists against Columbus, and he buried this one for his 4th point in only 2 NHL games. 
  • It was a fluke play and a bad bounce that nobody could really do anything about. The Bruins led 1-0.
  • The Blues got to their game a little bit more in the 2nd period and outshot the Bruins 9-8 but neither team found a way to get the puck in the net. 
  • The hits kept piling up as the Blues were heavy on the forecheck. They outhit the Bruins 46-24 in the game.
  • Trailing after 2 periods seems to be familiar territory for the Blues lately. Once again, they somehow found a way to tie the game. This time it was Jaden Schwartz at the 9:36 mark of the period. The play started with Schenn's cross-ice pass to Alexander Steen. Steen, entering the offensive zone made a nice drop pass to Schwartz who put a wrist shot over the blocker side of the goaltender to tie it up 1-1. 
  • The Blues nearly ended it in regulation when literally, in the last couple of seconds of the game their offensive pressure created a scoring chance, but goalie Anton Khudobin knocked down a puck while on his back in the crease to preserve the tie and send the game into overtime.
  • Overtime only last 30 seconds. Jaden Schwartz made sure of that when his wrist shot through the legs of a defender once again beat Khudobin on the blocker side. 
  • Jake Allen continued his solid play in net. Going back to the San Jose game 2 weeks ago, he is 5-2 with a 2.28 GAA and .916 save percentage.
  • Somehow, this team has found ways to win just when they've needed it most. Three straight games where they've come from behind and won in overtime is something we haven't seen from this team this year. 
  • With 9 games remaining the Blues are still not in a playoff spot. There is more work to do. 
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Monday, March 19, 2018

Blues Win Overtime Thriller in Chicago 5-4

St. Louis Blues vs Chicago Blackhawks - Game 72 Recap
Goals: Steen (14), Dunn (5), Sobotka (11), Pietrangelo (15), and Berglund (10)
Record 39-28-5
My thoughts on this game

  • The Blues came out flat in this one and didn't match the energy that Chicago brought to the ice. The Hawks outshot the Blues 13-8 in the first period and got 2 goals from Alex DeBrincat at the 13:07 and 19:08 marks.
  • The Blues got to work quickly in the 2nd with a tip-in goal from Alexander Steen off a Vince Dunn shot from the point just 2:02 into the period and then tied it up at the 5:14 mark on another shot from Dunn.  This time he didn't need a tip-in. His slap shot never touched anything but twine and was his 5th of his rookie season.
  • With a little under 2 minutes to play in the period it looked like St. Louis had tied it up. A rush at the goal by Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz ended with the red light on and the referee signaling "goal". As the play was being whistled dead, the puck was back out of the net and Schenn had an open net. 
  • That last statement will make more sense when I explain that after a review the "first" goal, which was called on the ice went to replay it was determined that it never totally crossed the line. Thus, nullifying the goal and any second chances that might have occurred afterwards.
  • Moments later, with less than 2 seconds left in the period, Vinnie Hinostroza hustled into the corner and beat everyone to a loose puck in the Hawks' offensive zone. He got the puck in front of the net where David Kampf poked it at Jake Allen's pad and skate up against the post. Before the puck was across the line, it looked as if Kampf kicked or stomped at it with his skate and then the puck was in. There were no challenges or reviews and with just 1.4 seconds left in the period, the Blackhawks were leading 3-2.
  • This game was far from over. Vladimir Sobotka scored to tie it up at the 15:24 mark. DeBrincat got the hat trick at 16:47 to give the Hawks the lead once again. It was his 3rd hat trick of his rookie season, quite an accomplishment for the kid.
  • As time wound down, the Blues pulled Allen in favor of an extra attacker. At the 18:38 mark the Captain came through with his 15th goal of the season. There was lots of traffic in front with Kyle Brodziak in the high slot and Alexander Steen, once again, down in front of the goaltender. Steen has taken on that role of getting in front and screening the goaltender. We've needed it all year and finally some guys have started getting there.
  • For the 2nd night in a row, the Blues would need overtime to get the 2 points. For Chicago, Jonathan Toews narrowly missed when a shot hit the crossbar and went up. But, as the Blues headed the other direction it was Patrik Berglund with the game-winner. His 10th goal of the season put the Blues in the win column for the 2nd night in a row.
  • The Blues are now just 1 point out of a wild-card spot. Ahead of them are Dallas, LA and Colorado. We play Colorado in the final game of the season. Let's hope it doesn't come down to that game for the playoff spot.
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Schenn Sends Rangers Packing With Overtime Goal

New York Rangers vs St. Louis Blues - Game 71 Recap
Goals: Pietrangelo (13,14) Soshnikov (1), and Schenn (25)
Record 38-28-5
My Thoughts on the game

  • The Blues came out from the opening faceoff with a workman-like mentality, determined to achieve a different result than the previous game, which was a 4-1 loss to Colorado at Scottrade Center this past Thursday night.
  • Right off the hop the Blues got the puck into the offensive zone and kept up the pressure long enough that it required a shift change, it lasted so long.
  • At about the 1 minute mark, Vladimir Tarasenko went to the boards in the corner with someone and apparently caught an elbow to the jaw. He finished the period, but never returned from the locker room after the first intermission. Early word was that he was traveling to Chicago but yet unclear as to his status for the game.
  • 2 minutes into the period Chris Thorburn livened things up when he dropped his gloves and went toe-to-toe with Cody McLeod. Both players were assessed fighting penalties.
  • The Rangers were sellers at the trade deadline as they were not in a good position to make a run at the playoffs. As they begin to regroup and analyze the pieces in the cupboard, they've been taking an extended look at their rookie goaltender from Bulgaria, Alexander Georgiev.  Coming into the game he was 2-0 in his last 2 starts with wins over Carolina and Pittsburgh. 
  • The Blues would test the young netminder with 31 shots in the first period and 16 of those on net. Much of the first period was spent in the Blues offensive zone and the Rangers young defensive crew were having a hard time clearing the puck from their defensive zone.
  • With all of those shots on net, a young defensive corps and a rookie goalie, you had to believe that something good was about to happen. It took 15:49, but it did finally happen.
  • Tage Thompson was working very hard on his shift to position himself in front of the net. Despite being shoved and battling for position, he held on long enough for Vladimir Sobotka to get a shot from the point. The shot hit Thompson, and fell to the ice in the slot. Alex Pietrangelo was close enough that he stepped in and cleaned up the rebound with a wrist shot that found the back of the net. The Blues led 1-0 at the end of 1.
  • It didn't take long in the 2nd period for the Rangers to tie things up, but it was on a fluke goal. A shot from the right boards hit Mika Zibanejad, who was crossing in front of the net. The puck deflected in over the glove of Jake Allen just inside the upper right corner. At :42 seconds of the 2nd period it was tied 1-1.
  • Just a minute and a half later, Nikita Soshnikov put the Blues back in front with his 1st goal as a St. Louis Blue. His wrist shot looked lethal to me as he scored on a nice drop pass from Chris Thorburn before the goalie had time to react.
  • The Rangers bounced back and scored twice before the 2nd period was over. Mats Zuccarello scored on another weird play when his pass attempt hit Alexander Steen and then almost as if in slow motion it slid towards Allen, yet he couldn't get to it due to traffic in front of him. He finally did get to it with his glove but couldn't control it as it came out of his glove, bounced off his leg pad and into the net.
  • A couple of minutes later the Rangers got their first lead with a power play goal by Zibenajad. 
  • The Rangers controlled the 2nd period and led with 11 shots on goal to St. Louis' 6.
  • The Blues came out in the third needing at least a goal to tie things up if they were to get any points out of this one. They got their chance when Tage Thompson drew a hooking penalty. He has noticably taken his play up a notch lately.
  • The Blues hadn't managed so much as a shot on goal during the first two power plays in this game and just when it looked like New York would kill off their third penalty of the game with just 23 seconds remaining, Alex Pietrangelo's shot from the point found the net thanks to a nice screen from Steen. It was Petro's 3rd multi-goal game this season. 
  • Both teams had chances down the stretch, but both goalies kept their teams in it.
  • The game went to overtime and Coach Mike Yeo started Kyle Brodziak, Colton Parayko and Vladi Sobotka against Zibeanejad, Brady Skjei and Chris Kreider. Schenn and Shwartz were winded after having played several minutes at the end of regulation. Yeo's hopes were that his line would kill off the NY line and buy some time to get Schenn and Schwartz back in.
  • It turned out to be the right move. New York got the first big chance in OT. A crossing pass in front of Allen caught him out of position a bit. But, he recovered just in time to make an outstanding blocker save.
  • The puck went the other direction and the Blues made their change. Brayden Schenn got the puck in the offensive zone with just one defender back. As he dug it out from the right boards, he spun towards the middle of the ice and created some space. A little dusting of the puck and BAM! He wristed it past Georgiev for the game winner. It was his first goal in a month and his 25th goal and 58th point of the season. 1 more of each will match career highs for the former Philadelphia Flyer. 
  • The OT win moved the Blues a little closer to a playoff spot, but's it definitely down to crunch time with just 11 games left.
  • Next up, the Chicago Blackhawks tomorrow night.
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Friday, March 16, 2018

Despite All Efforts, Blues Fall 4-1 To Avalanche

Colorado Avalanche vs St. Louis Blues - Game 70 Recap
Goal: Joel Edmundson (7)
Record 37-28-5

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images                                                                            

My Thoughts on the Game
  • The story of this game was the Colorado goaltender, Semyon Varlamov. He stopped 44 of the Blues'  45 shots on goal and made save after save on just about everything the Blues threw at him. 
  • Despite an excellent effort in all facets of the game, the Blues just couldn't find a way to get the puck past Varlamov. 
  • St. Louis outshot the Avalanche 45-23 in the game, including 22 shots on goal in the final period.
  • In the first 3 to 3 1/2 minute of the opening period, the Blues top line was getting a lot of pressure in the offensive zone, but Varlamov stopped shots from Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz, and Vladimir Tarasenko. 
  • One attempt by Schenn was reviewed as it looked like the glove of the goalie could have been in the net when he stopped the shot, but upon review, it was clearly not a goal.
  • It looked like it luck might have been on St. Louis' side when Colorado had an excellent scoring chance where the puck got behind Jake Allen in the goal crease, but rookie defenseman Vince Dunn swept the puck away to keep the game scoreless.
  • The luck would change soon thereafter when Nathan MacKinnon scored at the 10:11 mark and then added another at the 13:03 mark to put the Avs up 2-0. 
  • St. Louis responded about midway through the 2nd period with a goal from Joel Edmundson in his first game back since suffering a broken arm exactly 5 weeks ago against this same Colorado team. It was Edmundson's 7th of the season but it would be the only Blues goal in the game.
  • Mikko Rantanen pushed the lead back to 2 goals when he scored later in the 2nd period.
  • St. Louis pulled out all of the stops in the 3rd and had lots of chances including a wide open net that Vladimir Tarasenko missed that would have gotten it back to just a one-goal game.
  • The Blues pulled Allen late in the game in favor of an extra attacker, but couldn't find the net.
  • Rantanen added an empty-net goal for the 4-1 final. 
  • The win for Colorado pushed them into the top wild-card spot and 5 points in front of the Blues. 
  • There is still a possibility of a playoff spot with Dallas, Anaheim, and Calgary all in front of the Blues, but St. Louis also has a game in hand. 
  • It's gonna be tough. Can they pull it off? Time will tell. If you're interested in the playoff race and didn't see my story about the teams competing for the final spots in the Western Conference, check it out HERE
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Blues Wrap Up Road Trip With Solid 4-2 Win in Anaheim

St. Louis Blues vs Anaheim Ducks - Game 69 Recap
Goals: Bortuzzo (3), Barbashev (7), Sobotka (10) and Berglund (9)
Record 37-27-5
My thoughts on the game

  • Coming off their big win in LA, the Blues were looking to keep things moving in the same direction against the Ducks of Anaheim in this last game of a 4 game road trip. A win would give them 5 of a possible 8 points on the trip and would pull them within 1 point of the last wild-card spot.
  • They would face a goaltender, who with his backup are on pace to set franchise records in goals against average and save percentages for the Ducks. Both tonight's starter, John Gibson and backup Ryan Miller came into the game with identical stats in both categories, 2.49 GAA and .926 save percentages.
  • Coach Yeo would have been a fool to change anything from last game with the way they played against LA. So, the lineup was exactly the same. Why change anything that's not only not broken, but something that seemed to be working better than ever after scoring 7 goals against a strong Los Angeles Kings team.
  • The game started with both goalies being tested on excellent scoring chances. Getzlaf had a breakaway that Jake Allen stopped and Brayden Schenn had a great chance that was blocked by Gibson. In the early going, St. Louis led in scoring chances 6-2.
  • LA looked like they had a 2 on 1 breakaway after a Vince Dunn shot was blocked and caromed out to center ice, but the hustle and determination of Dunn to get back slowed the rush and the opportunity was snuffed out.
  • Moments later Pietrangelo made a nice drop pass to Robert Bortuzzo who had lots of space in the high slot. The defenseman repeated his magic from the game before with the opening goal. It was his first back-to-back games with a goal in his career and he notched a new career high in goals, this being his 3rd of the season.
  • The Blues forechecking in the last two games reminds me of the way they looked in the early part of the season. Their pressure has been creating chances for everyone.
  • Their also getting the puck up the ice quick and attacking before the defense has a chance to set up, which is giving them lots more chances to score. 
  • St. Louis added another goal 3 minutes into the 2nd period. It started on the forecheck again. Thorburn dug the puck out of the corner and kicked it out to Petro on the point. His shot deflected off Nikita Soshnikov and fell to Ivan Barbashev who knocked it in the net. It was Soshnikov's first point as a Blue. We like the way this guy plays hockey.
  • LA closed the gap to 2-1 on a nice pass from Getzlaf to Perry in front of the goal. Jake didn't have a chance as Perry was in alone on the back side.
  • Anaheim got a power play opportunity soon thereafter and seemed to be gaining some momentum. The Blues seemed to retreat and weren't advancing the puck as sharply and quickly for a few minutes. 
  • The momentum was regained when Vladi Tarasenko skated hard at the net with the puck. He got off a backhand shot that was saved by Gibson, but #91 was tripped and fell into the goalie. The Blues got a power play opportunity and had a couple of shots on goal, the best chance coming from Sobotka who nearly snuck one past Gibson's left pad.
  • 2 minutes after the penalty kill by the Ducks, Sobotka found the net. Ivan Barbashev, who has shown another level to his game recently, did a spin-o-rama with the puck along the right half-boards. He passed to Schmaltz who then found Sobotka down low near the goal. The Blues have done a much better job of getting pucks on net and increasing their presence in front. It's made a big difference.
  • LA closed the score to 3-2 at the 6:15 mark of the 3rd on a goal by Grant. Jake was screened on the play and got beat on the short side. An overtime loss wouldn't help nearly as much as a win in regulation, but it looked like it could be a possibility.
  • However, with 8:32 remaining the always gritty, always hustling Kyle Brodziak stole the puck on the forecheck. He found Patrik Berglund in front of the net and Bergie beat Gibson low on the glove side. It was only the Blues' 2nd shot on goal in the period. But it counted!
  • 4-2 was the final. Looking at the stat sheet, it indicated an uneventful game. The SOG were just 23-22 in favor of St. Louis. Faceoffs were 51.2%-48.8%, also in favor of St. Louis. There were only 2 penalties called, one on each team. Hits were nearly even, with Anaheim holding a slight edge. The two biggest stats that made a difference were blocks. St. Louis blocked 20 shots to the Ducks' 11. Lastly, the Ducks had 16 giveaways to the Blues' 9. 
  • The forechecking and defense have been outstanding. Jake has been stellar. He stopped 20 of 22 shots. In the last 3 games he has a 1.67 GAA and a .948 save %. 
  • Colorado comes to town Thursday and then it's the Rangers on St Patrick's Day. 
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

Monday, March 12, 2018

Who Will Make the Playoffs in the West?

It's a tight race for the playoff spots in the Western Conference. With just over a month to go, we've taken a look at the teams contending for a spot. Although we can't predict the future, we can take a look at some factors that will surely play a part in determining the 8 teams.

We've assumed Nashville, Winnipeg and Minnesota will hold on to the top 3 spots in the Central Division, and that Vegas will wrap up the Pacific without question. The rest of the spots are still very much in play. Although, with San Jose and Anaheim currently in 2nd and 3rd respectively in that division, it's their spots to lose.

The remaining 2 wild card spots are up for grabs and there are 5 teams fighting for them. I've included the Sharks and Ducks in this analysis because they could very conceivably lose those spots as only 3 points separate Calgary and San Jose with Anaheim and LA sandwiched in between.

In the facts presented below, it is current info as of Monday, March 12th. Four of the teams below play tonight. St. Louis is at Anaheim, the Kings host Vancouver and the Sharks play host to Detroit.

Also, the goaltender stats are just based on their most recent performances. As we all know, if a goalie gets hot this time of the season it can make a big difference, thus the last 5 games or so are all that we analyzed.

Pacific Division

San Jose Sharks
  • Currently 2nd in Pacific Division with 81 points. 
  • They have 14 games remaining, 7 at home and 7 on the road. 
  • They have 2 back-to-backs still on the schedule. 
  • 10 of their 14 games are against opponents who are competing for a playoff spot. 
  • They are 3-2 in their last 5 games with a +6 goal differential.
  • Their goaltender, Martin Jones is 3-2 in his last 5 games with a 1.72 GAA and .930 Save %.
  • Thier veteran leader, Joe Thornton is on the IR as is Joel Ward.
  • Chances of making playoffs seem to be nearly a shoe-in.
Anaheim Ducks
  • Currently 3rd in the Pacific Division with 80 points.
  • They have 13 games remaining, 8 at home and 5 on the road.
  • They have 1 set of back-to-back games remaining.
  • 8 of their 13 games are against opponents who are in the playoff race.
  • They are 3-2 in their last 5 games with a +6 goal differential.
  • Their goaltender, John Gibson is 3-1 in his last 4 starts with a 2.25 GAA and .936 Save %.
  • Their chances of making the playoffs are very good.  
Los Angeles Kings
  • Currently in 4th place in the division and 3rd in the wild card spot with 79 points.
  • They have 14 games remaining, 8 at home and 6 on the road.
  • They have 3 back-to-back sets of games remaining.
  • 9 of their last 14 games will be against opponents in the playoff race.
  • They are 3-2 in their last 5 games with a +1 goal differential.
  • Their goaltender, Jonathan Quick is 3-2 with a 2.79 GAA and .913 Save %
  • They will need to play well and hope for San Jose, Anaheim, Dallas or Colorado to falter in order to earn a spot.
Calgary Flames
  • They are currently in 5th place in the division and 4th in the wild-card race with 78 points.
  • They have 12 games remaining, 7 at home and 5 on the road.
  • They have 1 back-to-back set of games left.
  • 8 of their remaining 12 games are against playoff contenders.
  • They are 2-2-1 in their last 5 games with a -1 goal differential.
  • Their goaltender, Mike Smith just returned from the IR with a lower-body injury. He lost in his first game back yesterday to the Islanders where he gave up 5 goals.
  • His backup, Rittich had a 3.0 GAA and .898 Save % while Smith was out.
  • Their chances of making the playoffs at this stage will depend on other teams fading, and unless Smith finds his game quickly and gets red hot, I don't see them in the post-season.

Central Division

Dallas Stars
  • They currently are 4th in the division and hold the first playoff spot with 82 points.
  • They have 13 games remaining, 4 at home and 9 on the road.
  • They have 2 sets of back-to-back games on the schedule.
  • 10 of their remaining games are versus playoff contenders.
  • They are 2-1-2 in their last 5 games with a -2 goal differential.
  • Their goaltender, Ben Bishop has not played in a while. He is close to returning from a knee injury. Backup, Lehtonen is 1-2 in his last 3 games but has a 1.67 GAA and .936 save % in those games.
  • They have the toughest schedule remaining and will need good goaltending to hang on to this spot. 
Colorado Avalanche
  • They hold down 5th in the central and the 2nd wild card spot with 80 points.
  • They have 14 games remaining, 7 at home and 7 on the road.
  • 11 of their remaining games will be against playoff contenders.
  • They are 2-0-3 in their last 5 games with a +6 goal differential.
  • Their goaltender, Bernier missed 10 games with a concussion. He returned yesterday but left the game after taking a shot off his mask. If relying on the backup, Varlanov, he is 2-0-3 in his last 5 games with a 2.4 GAA and .913 save %.
  • They have the 2nd toughest schedule of the teams listed here and will need to continue outscoring their opponents to hang on to the last playoff spot.
St. Louis Blues
  • They currently sit 6th in the central and in 5th place in the wild-card spot with 77 points.
  • They have 14 games remaining, 7 at home and 7 on the road.
  • 8 of their remaining games are against playoff contenders.
  • They are 2-2-1 in their last 5 games with a -2 goal differential.
  • Their goaltender would look to be Jake Allen at this point. He is 1-1 in his last 2 starts and has a 1.5 GAA and .960 save % in those games. It's a smaller body of work than some of the other teams' goalies listed here, but he's getting hot at the right time for a playoff run.
  • The key for St. Louis is going to be their offense. If they can continue to put the puck in the net, the schedule is a little more favorable for them than a couple of other teams ahead of them and they might just surprise some people and get to the playoffs.
#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...