What a difference a few months can make? The Blues look like an entirely different team, crashing the net, selling out to make plays clearing the zone, blocking shots, etc. The excitement around the Blues is growing a lot. The team continues to play well against good teams, beating the Lightning on Thursday and the Predators yesterday afternoon. Let’s do a quick recap of the games.
The Blues played an outstanding road game in Tampa, peppering Andrei Vasilevskiy with 38 shots without success before scoring on the 39th shot to win the game in overtime. Brayden Schenn had the best chance to score in the 1st period but instead of hitting the open net that he had (85% or so), he shot the puck into Vasilevskiy’s arm. Luckily he would redeem himself with the game winning goal in overtime on a shot that Vasilevskiy played very poorly.
Before the goal, the Lightning broke out of the zone on an odd man break as Vladimir Tarasenko got caught behind the Lightning net. Vasilevskiy attempted to interfere with Tarasenko, trying to get in his way and even putting his arm out to impede him. Tarasenko fought through and ending up sending Vasilevskiy to the ice. I was a bit surprised that they both didn’t go off for coincidental minors but the referees said play on. Tarasenko fought through the play, sprinting back into the defensive zone. As you watch the replay, notice how Tarasenko’s stick lift creates the turnover that leads to the breakaway.
Schenn scores on a shot that Vasilevskiy usually stops and likely wants back. Of course, the Lightning wouldn’t even have gotten a point if not for his spectacular play in regulation.
Schenn played a great game with the only goal, four shots, two hits, three takeaways, and one block. Jordan Binnington was also good stopping
Blues fans hoped the winning streak would continue yesterday when the Blues hosted the Predators and it did, raising it to a season high five games.
The Blues jumped out to the lead less than five minutes into the game on a great play by Vince Dunn after a wonderful assist by Robert Thomas.
Tarasenko would double the lead with less than two minutes left in the 1st period. After a steal by Schenn, Tarasenko found the soft space on the ice like Brett Hull and received a 10-bell assist from Schenn who looked like Adam Oates. The play truly reminded me of an old Hull an Oates goal. Pay particular attention how Tarasenko slides into the empty, prime scoring area like Hull used to do.
Mattias Ekholm would cut the lead in half just over seven minutes into the 2nd period on a goal that Jordan Binnington will want back. The shot deflects off Alex Pietrangelo’s stick but wouldn’t have gone in if Binnington had been square to the shooter.
Less than four minutes later, the Mackenzie MacEachern scored to restore the two goal lead. Viktor Arvidsson started the play with a terrible cross ice pass in front of his net. Robert Thomas got the puck and put it on net. Ivan Barbashev had a crack at the rebound before MacEachern crashed the net and put it in.
Ryan Johansen would get a late goal after Jaden Schwartz missed a relatively easy empty net goal before the Blues would hang on to win 3-2.
The struggles of Jaden Schwartz continue with a -1, three shots on goal not including the missed empty net, no blocks, only one hit, and no takeaways in a little over 16 minutes. His shooting percentage has now fallen to 2.7% but if you adjust it for empty net goals, it is only 1.8%.
Pat Maroon had another good game with a fight, two shots, two hits, and a takeaway as well as some good possession time on the cycle. Robert Thomas contributed two assists with a shot and Oskar Sundqvist had an assist, two shots, and two hits.
The Blues will be in Nashville for the 2nd part of the home and home at 11:30am today. Expect Jake Allen to get the start for the Blues and Jusse Saros for the Predators. The rest of the Blues lineup will remain the same.
Schenn - O'Reilly – Tarasenko
Schwartz - Bozak – Steen
Sanford - Sundqvist - Maroon
MacEachern - Barbashev - Thomas
Edmundson - Pietrangelo
Bouwmeester - Parayko
Dunn - Bortuzzo
NHL Champions for Charity
We’ve gotten some traction on the charity wager among the Central Division bloggers. The fourth charity I’ll highlight is United Heroes League https://unitedheroesleague.org/
from your Wild’s Blogger Dan Wallace
. United Heroes League works to ensure that children of military members are afforded every opportunity to participate in sports.
It’s a great day for hockey.