St. Louis Blues
Detroit Red Wings
Joe Louis Arena
Game Time 7:00 pm CDT
St. Louis, MO- As I sat on the couch last night I wondered to myself, would this be the start of the waning Russian. Would this be the game where we saw Vladimir Tarasenko start to settle in and take a not so prolific approach to scoring goals and making passes like he had been doing it in the NHL for 10 years? We will get back to that thought in a few moments. The Blues opened the night of a back to back vacation in Columbus, Ohio. The Blues were in town to take on a some what struggling Blue Jackets team on their home ice. I don’t know about you but I dread each time the Blues go into Columbus these days. The style of play and level of frustration that those athletes in the city of Columbus have dealt with in the recent past make it a scary place to play for us fans. It was only a few short years ago we witnessed a scuffle in the corner where Blue forward TJ Oshie got pushed over backwards and broke his Tibia/ Fibula in a snap, crackle, pop that was heard all around St. Louis. It was anything but a fun moment for Blues fans. Oshie was known to be one of the key components to an already depleted Blues line up. One never knows what the status of the team will be after they leave Columbus, I for one am glad the Note skated out of Columbus last night without any noticeable injuries.
Now to quickly recap last nights action. The Blues came out in sort of weird, flat, I don’t know what the hell is going on style. The puck was skipping off their sticks and the Jackets were swarming a bit. Lucky for the Blues after the first few lines things settled in and the boys from the Lou kicked it into ass whooping mode rattling off three first period goals. The fore check came to life and Columbus had no answer for it. The first goal was scored when Ryan Reaves and Jamie Langenbrunner worked the wall hard on the far side in the Columbus end. It seemed as though the Jackets were going to clear the zone and get a line change when the puck was pulled out of the offensive zone by Reaves. Reave drove back into the zone on the near side and left the puck on a drop pass to newly acclaimed sniper Barret Jackman. Yes folks, you heard me right. Sir Jax wristed a puck high to the glove side of Sergei Bobrovsky, a shot he never saw as it sailed into the top corner of the net just under the bar. Before this season, Jackman had scored 1 goal in 175 games played. He now has two goals in 7 games played this season. The Blues’ second goal came on a massive shot by Swedish center Patrik Berglund. Bergy took a pass from the corner on the near boards from David Backes and slide the puck out to Oshie on the point. Oshie skated laterally along the Blue line freeing Berglund for a pass and a high slot howitzer past Bobrovsky high glove side. With Backes and a Jackets defenseman in front of the net the Jackets netminder never saw the shot and it gave the Blues a 2-0 lead. Then there was this little gem of a goal. I received a text after the goal from my father-in-law and this is what it said,
“That was a move straight out of Top Gun, Tarasenko put the brakes on and the defensemen flew right by giving him the shot!”
It was filthy, Tarasenko slammed on the binders and shed the defencemen like a prom dress snapping a shot that beat Bobrovsky who was subsequently pulled from the game. The second period came and the Blues will admit it was one of the worst periods of hockey they have played yet this season. Allowing multiple man advantages to the Jackets and surrendering 1 goal on a power play shot from Derick Brassard the Blues looked bad. What ever Hitch said in the locker room during the second intermission seemed to sink in because the third period was light years above the second. Only scoring an empty netter at the end from Backes the third was far better and was more along the lines of Blues hockey. With the Columbus game it is on to Detroit.
The Blues scurry into Detroit tonight sitting one point behind the Chicago Blackhawks for the central division lead. with 12 of a possible 14 points in hand the Blues will look to trounce an injury riddled Wings team. It will be paramount that the Blues stick to their quick defensive puck possession game tonight in Detroit. The Wings have figured out how to play around the injuries and will provide a much bigger challenge then they did on opening night at Scottrade Center. If the boys in blue come into the Joe tonight expecting to push past the wings and get another 6-0 shut out they most likely will get a very rude awakening. The Wings pride themselves on playing good hockey and rest assured Mike Babcock will not stand for a performance as occurred to open the season. The Wings will be looking to put some heat on the Blues to see if they can skate away with two points. Stick to the plan, that is what they must do. Be disciplined with and with out the puck. The Blues continue to take incidental minor penalties that result in man advantages. The Blues have not been all that great on the pk this season, the Note are tied for 20th in the league at a terrible 75%. The penalty kill will have to improve or this season could get derailed by man advantage, momentum deflating goals against. Having faith that Ken Hitchcock realizes this is good enough for me to be at peace with the situation. Hitch will make the necessary attitude adjustments to correct the issue and the ship will right itself in the near future. What will happen in ole Detroit tonight? As I reported last time the Blues had a back to back session the note are generally not that great in the second game. Tonight I look for a great effort from the Blues as they did not have to expend too much energy to defeat Columbus. The legs should be fresh in the motor city this evening and I fully expect a much more competitive game. I am calling a 4-2 win for the Blues with the latter goal being and empty netter as the Wings furiously try to tie the game late ( which growing up, happen more times than I can count… making me loathe them that much more.) All hands on deck Blues fans… It is St. Louis vs Detroit tonight at the Joe. I wanna hear those feet stompin, and those cheers loud-n-proud!
Tonight’s Potential Line Up.
Perron – Backes – Oshie
Sobotka – Berglund – Stewart
McDonald – Steen – Tarasenko
Schwartz – Nichol – D’Agosini
Cole - Pietroangelo
Jackman - Shattenkirk
Russel – Polak
Here are a few videos to get your ( insert appropriate expletive here) disdain for the Winged Wheel pumping!