Goals: Sobotka (9), Tarasenko (21) and Schenn (20)
My thoughts on the game
- After the disappointing performance in the last game at home against Arizona, St. Louis came out and quickly got to their game in this one.
- Yeo's lineup included 11 forwards and 7 defensemen, a move that the Blues had success with a couple of weeks ago and it worked again tonight. It allows some more flexibility to get the hotter offensive players on the ice as the game wears on. It keeps everyone involved more as they don't know who they'll be skating with on the next shift or when. Playing seven defensemen keeps them fresher too. I think it's a good move and wouldn't mind seeing it the rest of the year. As you try to evaluate the best 18 players it seems to me that it's hard to leave any of our D-men off the ice.
- The Blues outshot Ottawa in every period beginning with the first where the shots were 14-8 in favor of the home team. The total was 41-25 for the game.
- Vladi Sobotka got the first goal. After a pass up ice from Schenn, the 5'10", 184 lb Sobotka skated into the offensive zone. Although he was defended pretty well, he still managed to get a shot off from the high slot. Goaltender, Craig Anderson may have been screened a little by the defenseman and the puck stayed low on the ice. Somehow, it got under the pads of Anderson for Vladi's 9th goal of the season.
- Sobotka looked like he was playing with a little more confidence in this one. The goal ties his career high for a season in the NHL.
- Another highlight from the first period was the youngster, Tage Thompson. In one offensive series he positioned himself atop the circle on the left side and he managed to get off three massive one-time slap shots within a period of about 10 seconds. The puck kept cycling back around to him and he just kept firing. It was almost like he has decided, "If you guys aren't going to shoot it, I will!"
- The Blues killed off all 4 of their penalties in this game, including a 4 minute double minor to Bortuzzo in the 2nd period for high sticking.
- St. Louis' second goal came from the other Vladi 6:10 into the third period. After Parayko's long slap shot from the point, the rebound came out nearly to the top of the circle on the left side. Tarasenko, who must have been lingering out near the blue line or even possibly at center ice, snuck into the open ice and 'one-timed' the rebound into the net. It amazes me how far he is from the net when he scores a lot of his goals.
- The big Vladi is known for his wrist shot, which is probably as quick as anyone on the planet, but it was good to see him take this slapper. It looked like it was about a 3/4 shot, but it was on goal and it went in.
- I saw something we haven't seen much of, which I've commented on in previous posts. I saw guys trying to get in front of the net. Particularly, I saw Kyle Brodziak working his way in there a few times and I saw Alexander Steen doing the same. That's what we've needed.
- The other thing we've needed is guys shooting the puck quicker, getting it on net and then scrapping for a rebound. They did more of that tonight. There were a lot more shots getting to the net.
- On the other end, Carter Hutton continued his great play and notched his 2nd shutout of the season and the 10th of his career. I'm glad he's on our team. I'd hate to think where we'd be without him.
- Kyle Brodziak played a great game. He had an assist on Tarasenko's goal but he was tenacious tonight.
- Brayden Schenn finished off the scoring with an empty net goal with 2:26 remaining in the game. It was his 20th of the season and his 3rd in the last 5 games. He's on pace for a career high in goals and points and we can't say enough about how glad we are that he's wearing the Note! He's on track for 80+ pts. His career high prior to arriving in St. Louis was 59. I think he's in the right seat on the bus.
- Jaden Schwartz has been cleared to play. We may see him Thursday night against Colorado. We probably will need him as they've been on a hot streak. They had won 10 straight before dropping a game to Montreal earlier this week.
- February's schedule looks pretty tough to me. More games against Central Division opponents, including games in Winnipeg, Dallas, Minnesota and two in Nashville where every single night valuable points will be up for grabs. We need to be finding our best game in order to stay in this race and keep pace with everyone else.