Red Wings 3 – Blues 5
They did it again. And in almost the same way as the previous night. The Blues came out in period 1 as though they were suffering a hangover from the night before. They were slow, sluggish and the Red Wings literally ran circles around them. The Red Wings scored after 31 seconds and went 2 up less than 2 minutes later. The Blues really did look shellshocked. Ty Conklin, making his first start for the Blues, didn’t have much of a chance on either goal – the defense rather hung him out to dry. It took over 10 minutes for the Blues to have their first shot on goal – at one point being outshot 12-0 by the Red Wings. However, a 5 on 3 powerplay advantage near the end of Period 1 changed things. The Blues scored – Keith Tkachuk, assisted by Andy McDonald and Paul Kariya – and they went into the first intermission only 2-1 down.
Period 2 and the Blues tied the game on a powerplay goal by Andy McDonald (assisted by Keith Tkachuk and Brad Boyes). The Blues were starting to play the game their way – hard hitting, hustling and working hard. A rather unbelievable call on Brad Winchester for “roughing” and the Red Wings scored on the resulting powerplay giving them a 3-2 lead. The Blues continued to work and 6 minutes later, they tied the game again on a goal by Brad Boyes (assisted by Jay McClement and Barret Jackman). The goal obviously rattled the Red Wings goalie, Jimmy Howard, because 13 seconds later, the Blues took the lead with a lovely goal by Patrik Berglund (assisted by Erik Johnson and Darryl Sydor). The pass from Johnson on Berglund’s goal was a delight. The Blues finished the period strongly and went in 4-3 up.
In the third period, the Blues once again worked hard for the puck – beating the Red Wings along the boards and giving them no time at all to play their game and create good offense. The Blues fittingly tied things up with a powerplay goal scored by Keith Tkachuk (assisted by Erik Johnson and Paul Kariya).
After an atrocious first period by the Blues, they came out strongly for the rest of the game and deserved this win. Ty Conklin made some great saves for his first win as a Blue – and like Mason before him, denied Datsyuk what appeared a certain goal in the third period. This game, however, was about the veterans stepping up to the mark for the Blues. And none moreso than Keith Tkachuk. He was everywhere – making a complete nuisance of himself in front of net and proving that Andy Murray’s decision to play him as a center was definitely the right one.
A lot of things have been said about the Blues in the buildup to these two games. They’ve been predicted to finish practically everywhere in the Conference. But in all the predictions, all the articles, there’s one thing most writers seem to have missed. The hard work ethic of the Blues has not changed. It will not change. The Blues will be tough to play against because, no matter what you throw at them, they will not back down. The Blues will not break. The Blues…are unbreakable.