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In the Montreal game, the Blues deserved to win – decisively so. They almost threw it away but they basically outplayed and outworked the Canadiens. Not so against the Senators. In essence, the Blues should have lost by a wider margin – and probably would have done so if it weren’t for Chris Mason together with the Senators inability to finish off a game.
Back to back games are the enemy of the Blues this season – after last night’s game their record is 2-7-2. Is it the fact that they play such a physical game that it’s impossible to keep going for a second consecutive game? Are they out of condition? Tiring too quickly? I wish I knew – but the Blues have to find the answer quickly.
To be fair to the Blues, there were a few quite eye raising decisions by the officials but the Blues top 10 ranked penaltykill were out of sorts – allowing the Senators 30th ranked powerplay 3 goals on 5 five powerplays. On the other side of the coin, the Blues powerplay went 0-4. Special teams are important – this game showed just HOW important because it killed the Blues. There were the usual problems – turnovers, sloppy play, inability to clear the zone – that seem to happen more during the second game of a back to back series.
The Blues are a work in progress – they are a young team…and young teams are inconsistent. They also have a relatively new coach so ups and downs are to be expected. There’s no denying the team have played better since Davis Payne took over – and last night, the Blues were without David Backes who is suffering an upper body injury. Patrik Berglund has just recovered from flu so his ice time was limited to just over 10 minutes.
I do feel however, that the Blues are on the verge of a breakout – a high scoring game or a nice run of wins – mainly because of the smaller signs on ice: Paul Kariya is now flying up and down the ice and has scored twice in three games; Brad Boyes finally scored last night; TJ Oshie has found his hustling game again; Alex Steen is showing the hot offensive talent that was always suspected; Keith Tkachuk is proving what a warrior he is and Patrik Berglund is playing with a lot more confidence and energy. It’s going to happen – the question is will it be in time to leapfrog the Blues into the playoffs?
So…your game reports:
- The Blues Official Site has the recap and game highlights.
- St Louis Game Time Game Day Thread – if you haven’t participated in one of these then I suggest you do so. You’ll learn a whole new vocabulary, discuss the details of the game- and have a whole lot of fun whilst doing so.
- Dan O’Neill of the Post Dispatch notes that the Blues lost a tough one – with comments from Keith Tkachuk, Davis Payne and Brad Boyes.
Next up, the Blues play Anaheim at the Scottrade Center. An important game – the Ducks are two points ahead of the Blues and have played one game more. There’s also that small matter of payback on Ryan Getzlaf after his unpenalised knee on knee on Barret Jackman. I really hope Janssen is on the bench for this game.