Predators 4 – Blues 3

December 30, 2009

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It’s getting pretty impossible to know what to say now. Once again, the Blues lost at home. Once again, they only came to life when the game was almost past saving. They waited until they were 4-1 down in period 3 and then decided to play the hockey they SHOULD have been playing all game. Too little, too late. Looking for the good points, the Blues DID get a powerplay goal…Alex Steen continued his offensive push by scoring again and Carlo Colaiacovo also got a goal.

Erik Johnson was a healthy scratch for the game – with Darryl Sydor taking his place. This meant a defensive pairing of Sydor and Eric Brewer – which simply did not work. Neither are the fastest skaters – which came to haunt them for Nashville’s fourth goal: JP Dumont skated around Darryl Sydor as though he was standing still and buried the puck past Chris Mason.

The shot counts tell the story. Nashville outshot the Blues 15-6 in P1 and 11-9 in P2. The Blues typically came back and outshot Nashville 12-4 in P3. To break it down even more, our shot leaders for the game were Eric Brewer and Alex Steen with 4 shots on goal a piece. Brad Boyes, Keith Tkachuk, Patrik Berglund and David Perron had one shot on goal each. Missed shots, fluffed chances and the puck going high and wide will come as no surprise to anyone who watches the Blues.

Players like Paul Kariya (who is out with an “upper body injury” following the Sabres game where he was elbowed in the head by Kaleta) and Andy McDonald thrive on speed. Quick movement of the puck from the defensive zone – which is simply not happening. Too many times there seems to be no Blues player crashing the net and they spend their entire powerplay time either in their own zone or trying to dig the puck out of corners.

The Blues home ice stats are abysmal: lost 7 of the last 8 home games, have now lost more at home this season than they did for the entirety of last season (the Blues lost 13 games at home last season. So far this season, they’ve already lost 15). 20 more home games to play – and it’s probably time to start praying.

The question is – how much longer will the Blues faithful continue to buy the tickets if the team itself can only seem to be bothered to play for a small portion of the game? Anyway – your game reports:

  • The Blues Official Site has its recap, highlights and interviews with Chris Mason and Alex Steen.
  • St Louis Game Time points out that the Blues played 8 minutes of solid hockey last night.
  • Dan O’Neill of the Post-Dispatch notes that the Blues are struggling on home ice with comments from Alex Steen, Andy Murray and Chris Mason.

With Paul Kariya still out, the Blues have called up Derek Armstrong from Peoria on an emergency basis.

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Sabres 5 – Blues 3

December 28, 2009

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Well, back to back games and the Blues give up three goals in the third period on both nights. Okay, so there was a fluky Sabres goal where the puck inexpicably found it’s way past Conklin’s pads; there was blatent interference on another Sabres goal which wasn’t called – but in the end, the Blues mental breakdown in the third period and their, once again, awful powerplay, threw away the game.

The usual problems started to surface again: awful powerplay, stupid penalties, unable to clear their zone, lackadaisical backchecking, sloppy line changes – and for one goal, Brad Winchester floating around carelessly whilst a Sabre player skates right past him and scores.   A full house at Scottrade and two good (not great) periods of hockey from the Blues – lack of effort wasn’t the problem this time. It was lack of finishing and a sometimes shaky looking defence. However – there WERE some bright spots:

  • Eric Brewer – yes, he’s ragged upon but he’s now playing with attitude.  Tenacious and with a never give up attitude, it almost seems like he was annoyed when the Sabres first tied the game and he worked hard to get himself into a position to score and put the Blues in front again.
  • Alex Steen – now we’re getting to see that offense that he’s capable of.  Two excellently taken goals – the first was a thing of beauty as he lasered a shot past Patrick Lalime.
  • Mike Weaver – again, underrated.  Had an excellent play where he slid to cover the near post whilst blocking a pass in front of net.

Apart from the above listed negatives, the Blues were without Paul Kariya after he left the game in the first period following an elbow to the head by Patrick Kaleta.   Brad Boyes missed a practically empty net for the second time in two games – and I lost track of the number of times we heard “Boyes fanned on that one” or “Boyes shot that high and wide”.  At least get it on net, Brad.  Anyway – your game reports:

  • The Blues Official Site has the game recap, highlights and interviews with Ty Conklin, Erik Johnson and Brad Boyes.
  • St Louis Game Time notes the “blown lead, blown opportunity”.
  • Jeremy Rutherford at the Post-Dispatch notes that the Blues deserved their fate with comments from Andy Murray, Ty Conklin, Erik Johnson and Brad Boyes.

So, with the trade freeze over, what’s next for the Blues?  Is that well-reported rumour about the Blues talking to Carolina about Eric Staal/Ray Whitney going to develop?  How much longer does Andy Murray have to turn this around?  If Kariya is out for any length of time, who gets the call up from Peoria – Lars Eller?

Next up, the Blues play the Predators at Scottrade on Tuesday.  Another home game – and a chance to start to break this awful home game hex.


Blues 3 – Wild 4

December 27, 2009

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The Blues couldn’t make it 4 wins in a row as they lost to the Minnesota Wild last night. You can sum the game up by saying defensive lapses; awful line changes; bad faceoffs and spurned chances. Again. The Blues managed to get themselves back in the game but it wasn’t enough. Let’s hope this is just a post Christmas hangover.

A not so usual loss on the road for the Blues – who return home today to play the Sabres at Scottrade. Anyway, your game reports on what is hopefully just an errant defensively inept performance:

  • The Blues Official Site has the game recap, highlights plus audio interviews with Erik Johnson and Andy Murray.
  • St Louis Game Time notes the missed opportunities in the game.
  • Jeremy Rutherford at the Post-Dispatch laments the end of the Blues short winning streak with comments from Andy Murray, Andy McDonald and Eric Brewer.

The Blues return home tonight to play the Sabres in the only meeting between the two clubs this season.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Janssen playing and maybe Winchester sitting.  Also possibly Ty Conklin to replace Chris Mason in net.


Blues 2 – Flames 1 (S/O)

December 24, 2009

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Patrik Berglund scored his fifth of the season in the Blues shootout win

A night of first’s for the Blues. First time this season they’ve won three consecutive games…first time in 27 attempts that the Blues return home with a win following the “Western Canada” trip. 6 points out of a possible 6 and the Blues are now 11th in the Western Conference, having played one game less than the teams around them.

It was a tight game – two very evenly matched teams with both goaltenders making excellent saves. The deadlock was broken in the second period when a shot from Mike Weaver rebounded off the back boards and was slotted into the net by Patrik Berglund. The Flames tied the game in the third when a shot from Mark Giordano deflected in off Mike Weaver’s skate.

Andy McDonald saw his shootout attempt saved by Kiprusoff but Brad Boyes and TJ Oshie made no mistake and the Blues picked up the extra point. The Blues deserved it – they worked hard and blocked 22 shots. Eric Brewer returned to the lineup and blocked 5 shots. The hard work is paying off – but more importantly, the whole team is working – and playing as a team. If they can just reproduce this form at home…

Anyhow – your game reports:

Next up, the Blues continue on the road against the Wild on Saturday 26 December 2009.


Blues 7 – Oilers 2

December 22, 2009

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Alex Steen had a four point game for the Blues

Revenge is sweet – and this game was a sticky chocolate pudding with chocolate sauce. Following the 5-3 defeat by the Oilers at Scottrade, the Blues headed to Canada determined to prove themselves. And prove themselves they did. The Blues are not dead yet – and their previously weak and anaemic powerplay suddenly erupted as they scored 4 goals on 5 powerplays. The Blues worked, hustled, hit and outplayed the Oilers in a very well deserved win.

David Perron opened the scoring for the Blues after some hard work behind the net by a rejuvenated and confident Patrik Berglund. Berglund’s neat little pass required Perron to simply slot the puck into the net. The Oilers tied the game minutes later, when Sam Gagner scored from a rebound.

In the second period, Andy McDonald put the Blues ahead only to see the Oilers tie the game once more. That was it for the Oilers though – the Blues then went on a rampage. Two powerplay goals in 3 minutes (from Brad Boyes and Patrik Berglund) put the Blues 4-2 up and then Jay McClement scored a superb solo effort to increase the Blues lead.

There was more of the same in the third period, with Andy McDonald scoring his second of the game and the Blues’ sixth with a powerplay goal following a neat quick passing move by the Blues. The scoring was finished by Alex Steen – another powerplay goal and a laser of a shot – giving Steen 1 goal and 3 assists on the night.

A great game by the Blues – and so far they are 2-0 on this Canadian roadtrip. Let’s hope that this is the team we continue to see (especially when I go to see them play the Ducks and Kings in January!). Anyhow – your game reports:

Next up – Blues play the Flames in Calgary on Wednesday.


Blues 3 – Canucks 1

December 21, 2009

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Ty Conklin picked up another win

Following the Blues 6-3 defeat at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Blues GM Larry Pleau went into the locker room and had words with the team. Whatever he said seems to have had an effect. The Blues played a 60 minute, focussed game last night to beat the Canucks 3-1. The Blues are now 2-0 against the Canucks so far, having beaten them 6-1 at Scottrade earlier this season.

David Backes scored two – his first was a powerplay goal when he tipped in Paul Kariya’s shot but he needed no help with his second goal. A superb driving move to the net, skating around Canuck defenseman Kevin Bieksa as though he wasn’t there and nipping the puck past Luongo. Keith Tkachuk scored the Blues third after Brad Boyes neatly passed to him in front of net. Ty Conklin was once again a stalwart in goal – stopping 29 shots. Conklin now has a .932 save percentage – 3rd highest in the NHL behind Tuukka Rask of Boston and Ryan Miller of Buffalo.

However, this is the team we want to see. If they can just start to replicate this kind of form on home ice then they’ll be fine this season. The turnaround last season was the Boston game – let’s hope Pleau’s intervention in the locker room is the turnaround point this season. Now – your game reports:

The Blues continue tonight against Edmonton – looking for revenge following the Oilers’ 5-3 win earlier this season.  The Blues have called up Tyson Strachan on an emergency basis but there’s  no word about any injuries.


Lightning 6 – Blues 3

December 19, 2009

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There’s not much left to say now. Another home defeat – another appalling performance. 10 giveaways and 18 missed shots by the Blues. How much longer do we, the fans, have to put up with these kind of performances? The Blues didn’t make changes during the offseason – they knew Kariya and Erik Johnson would be back so they merely bought in Ty Conklin to back up Chris Mason and cut Jay McKee loose, bringing in Darryl Sydor as a replacement. So, what we have is essentially the same team as last year – the same team that played so well during the second half of last season. And that begs the question of what’s going wrong this year?

They’re wildly inconsistent – play haphazardly, too many giveaways, not enough scoring. The list goes on. At home, the Blues are atrocious – the worst home record in the NHL. I’m sure teams now look forward to coming to Scottrade – last year, they hated it. The Blues USED to intimidate and physically outwork their opponents. This year we’re only getting that in flashes.

The Lightning had something last night that the Blues so obviously didn’t – the will to win. They wanted the game and it showed. And the Blues simply let them do what they wanted. This has to stop. Andy Murray apparently talked to the team for a while after the game…Sunday’s game against Vancouver will no doubt tell if it had any effect or not. With the trade freeze in effect, there’s little Management can do at this moment in time – although rumours continue to circulate that the Blues are talking to the Carolina Hurricanes about possible trades. Eric Staal is the name being bandied about. A trade might just shock this team into life – especially if it involves players that might not expect to be traded.

Anyway – if you can face it – here are your game reports:

Next up on Sunday the Blues are in Vancouver facing off against the Canucks.