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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.