St. Louis Blues
So it beings…
Could this be the biggest week in the Checketts Regime history? The Blues are up against a seven point wall, the total of points they are behind the 8th place Nashville Predators. With the Preds out of action tonight the Blues can climb to five points back with a hair of 20 games left. Anaheim does play LA tonight and could move 3 points back of the eight hole as well.
After tonight’s game the Blues hustle back to St. Louis (amid a nice snow storm) to play the Red Wings. They then have two days off before facing the new look Maple Leafs and best in the league Capitals. There is a strong possibility the Blues go pointless this week, setting them back to a double digit deficit. There is also an opportunity to take on (and take down) some of the best teams in the league. These four games can determine buyer vs. seller at the “two” trade deadlines. Colorado has been consistent, going 6-4-0 in their last 10, while not having the services of Milan Hejduk.
According to Strickland Weaver, Janssen, and Winchester are out. Crombeen, King, and Sydor are in. I’d imagine there will be some line changes tonight. Not really sure what they will be. Rutherford was under the weather (get well soon JR!) and there was no Morning Skate Blog today. Lou doesn’t have a blog up either. We’ll just fly blind together. My guess is neither goalie goes back to back this week…unless someone is red hot.
Will do my best to do period updates tonight. Enjoy the game all, it’s a big one.
In general the Blues would have to be happy with this period. They jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead on a nice shot by Brewer for his 6th. The Blues defensive zone coverage broke down to allow Galiardi’s 9th goal. Erik Johnson has a solid period and after a tremednous effort by Steen in the far corner, he set sup EJ for his 5th goal. Sadly the second Blues offensive zone penalty leads to Brandon Yip’s 10th goal. Period ends 2-2.
I like the speed and flow of the game, but am not really comfortable with Mason. I don’t like his reads and positioning on a few plays. Has anyone noticed how vulnerable Mason is high, glove side?
I really like Carlo…I’ve met him twice, pretty nice guy. However, it is painful to watch him play at times. The sliding play that wasn’t a smart one cost the Blues their 1-0 lead. Grant it Berglund could have taken Stewart’s body at the blueline, but Carlo has to man up one on one and take Galiardi.
Where has the Blues penalty kill gone? It just can’t make a timely stop right now. Is the Blues best penalty killer their goalie? Not right now.
I feel bad for Brad Boyes as he misses the net again. I do have to say, I thought he had some real jump in his step in that period. Keep at it Brad, you’ll come around.
One key reason the Blues had a solid period against a very good team? The Blues have won 15 of 23 faceoffs.
The Oshie-Backes pair continues to do well. Combined in the first period for 2 Assists, Plus-2, 1 Blocked Shot and great offensive zone pressure. McDonald should complement the line well.
I am at a loss for words. I do not understand several events that period.
1. The absent mindedness of Mason in net.
2. The lack of attention to detail and mental decision making.
3. The phantom “hooking” call on TJ Oshie.
Does this all go back to Ottawa? Really? I know (and agree 100%) that the Blues make their own destiny, but the volume of questionable penalty calls is mind boggling.
After Conklin got in net the Blues seemed to come back some. However, the damage was done on Mason. He allowed three goals on six shots to open the period.
The Blues squandered a golden opportunity with the four minute double minor power play. Lots of chances, no goals.
Can the Blues win the third period 4-0? We shall see.
The Avs really are that good. They have really only had one tanker of a season, otherwise they have been a fairly competitive team. It’s also amazing what a good goalie can do for a team.
The Blues tried, but the Avs had a counter for all the Blues chances.
Too many shots passed up on the power play.
Not much can be said. The Blues were shut down after Colorado struck back and they couldn’t regain their presence in the third either.
I know fans will want to put this on the refs. I’m about 50% of the way to that myself. However, the Blues recoiled and never spring back after Colorado went beserk on a weak Mason in the second. Ty Conklin stabelized the net, but by that point it was far too late.
- As pointed out by several on Twitter…Sydor/Colaiacovo were a combined minus-6, While Brewer and Johnson were a combined Plus-4 in a 5-2 loss. Johnson has elevated his game recently. Brewer has been solid while fans turn a blind eye to his improved play. Just a great game by that pairing.
- Jackman and Polak are such a solid duo. Fans like to ignore the positives of Barrett Jackman as well, but after Yip torpedo’d Jackman (or was that Trent Green circa 1999?), I thought for sure he was done for the night, if not longer. The warrior came back out and played his damnedest.
- Is there anyone besides McDonald, Oshie, Backes, and Steen capable of consistent offensive zone play? Berglund and Perron were virtually invisible. Try as Kariya might, he just isn’t that effective at producing anymore. The point producers touch…just isn’t there anymore.
- Credit Colorado for playing a full 60 at teh pace Coach Joe Sacco wanted. I was really impressed by their defensemen and their ability to transition and get in the play. I’ve been following Stewart (due to my keeper league) cloesly this year. The kid is a budding power forward, he just finds way to get points. The Avs moved the puck quickly and efficiently.
- After the Blues won 15 of 23 First Period face-offs, they ended the game winning 32 of 64 (50%). Face-offs are this teams Achilles Heel.
- Even though there was a penalty called on Oshie for the “hook”, the puck went off an Avs stick and in the net. That is a goal. To add more insult to injury.
Next up is Detroit Tuesday night in snowy St. Louis. I wll be in attendance hoping for a better game than what I saw in my last 3.