Blues 1 – Sharks 2 (OT)

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Well, the Blues picked up a point in Davis Payne’s first road game as Head Coach. They certainly deserved it – essentially they played well with some still shaky moments, which is only to be expected. The Penalty Kill continued it’s excellent run, allowing only 1 PP goal in 5 whereas on the opposite side of the coin, the Blues Powerplay managed only 1 goal in 7 chances.

The first period wasn’t a great one for the Blues. They were outshot 12-7 and needed Chris Mason to be at his best to keep the Sharks at bay. However, the second period was much better – more puck movement, more hits, more creativity and this time, the Sharks needed Nabokov to hold the Blues out. The Blues may have been outshot 17-11 in the second period but it was the quality of shots that counted. The Blues made sure that Chris Mason had plenty of time and space to see the shots, making the saves easier for him. The deadlock was broken early in the second period with Andy McDonald flipping home his 14th goal of the season following a goalmouth scramble which initially saw McDonald pushed into Nabokov. McDonald recovered quickly and the puck fortuitously bounced to him. Jody Shelley made a nuisance of himself and soon he and Cam Janssen had a long and good fight at center ice. The fight was a draw with Janssen having waved the referees off earlier in the bout.

The third period was a close affair – with the Sharks outshooting the Blues 12-10. The Blues continued to try and play their game – they didn’t retreat back into their zone and try to hold the lead. The kid line of Berglund, Oshie and Perron saw ice time in third as did the line of Janssen, Winchester and Armstrong. However, a superbly taken powerplay goal by Patrick Marleau tied the game with just over 7 minutes left to play.   The Sharks COULD have won the game in the third period but the officials didn’t see that Barrat Jackman cleared the puck off the line with his hand – despite protests there was no review.  The game went into Overtime and whilst the Blues did get trapped in their own zone a bit, they still went on the offensive. When Andy McDonald’s shot was blocked, Dany Heatley won the race to the puck and scored the game winning goal on a breakaway.

Good signs though for the Blues – they worked, they battled, they didn’t fold once the Sharks tied the game and they showed creativity and passion. They need to keep this going – they’re starting to make better decisions on the ice but can they turn it around in time to make a run for the playoffs? I don’t know – but they’re certainly heading in the right direction.

Anyway – your game reports:

It should be noted that the Blues played without Paul Kariya – still out with concussion symptoms – and Keith Tkachuk – who lost four teeth after being hit in the face with the puck in the loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.  Kariya has travelled with the team but there’s no timetable yet for his return.  Ty Conklin will rejoin the team today in Anaheim after being given leave to visit his son who has broken his leg.

Next up are the Anaheim Ducks.  A rather special game for me as it will be the first time I’ll get to see the Blues play live and in the flesh.  I’ll be wearing a white Oshie jersey and there’s a meet up at the Phoenix Club at 4.30pm prior to the game.  Come along if you’re in the neighbourhood.  If not, I’ll be sat in section 210 if you want to say hello.

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