For the past few weeks it’s been no secret the Blues have been facing tough sledding at Scottrade Center. We’ve all heard the numbers ad nauseum. 0-4-1 in their last five games with only 1 goal scored in all 4 regulation losses. So for anyone who was watching Saturday Night’s tilt with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and was waiting for the bomb to drop that was going to end in bitter defeat, don’t worry you weren’t alone. It had all the feelings of the San Jose game from Tuesday Night. Grab an early 1-0 lead, can’t add on, visitors tie it up in the second…we’d all seen this movie before.
This time though, there was another ending in mind.
David Backes took the puck up the boards with just over ten minutes to play in the 3rd period, shook off a check from a Columbus defender, and found David Perron on a beauty of a centering pass. Perron didn’t miss, and he found the back of the net beating Sergei Bobrovsky for what ended up as the game winner. At that time, I was sure this column would be about that play.
The clown show that is NHL officiating and the Halak-ness monster had other ideas.
With the Blues attempting to protect their slim one goal lead defenseman Barrett Jackman, playing in his team record 616th game for defenseman, was called for a horrible boarding call when he simply collided with Cam Atkinson when attempting to negate an icing call. This put Columbus on the Power Play for the remainder of the game, and once they established the puck in the offensive zone, off came Bobrovsky to make it a 6 on 4.
Things always get crazy in these situations. Hockey essentially breaks down to its most simple goal. Throw as many body and pucks at the net as you possibly can in as short of a period of time and hope something goes in. Well with 28 seconds to play something nearly did.
Columbus’s Fedor Tyutin took a slap shot that was blocked up into the air and sent all the players near the crease into scramble mode. The puck appeared as if it was going to be another bad break for Blues as it appeared as if it was going drop down right behind Halak and into the net which would have tied the game and likely sent this one to overtime where the Blues would have had to continue to battle to get a much needed second point. However, with former St. Louis Cardinals defensive human highlight reel Jim Edmonds in attendance, Halak channeled his inner baseball outfielder robbing a home run. Halak reached back with his glove hand and knocked the flying puck down and away from the goal line where it was cleared away and sent the Jackets back to drawing board.
A short time later Halak would make another outstanding save, and then the clock struck all 0′s and the home losing streak was over. Maybe it wasn’t the prettiest win of all time, and you’d prefer to beat up on a team like Columbus a little more when you’re on home ice, but with the way things are going I think we’re all happy to get the two points and move on to face the stiffest test of all in the NHL: the Chicago Blackhawks.