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As has now been stated practically everywhere, the Blues have beaten the last two years Stanley Cup Champions on consecutive nights. If they wanted to make a statement, they couldn’t have picked a better opportunity. The Blues are 4-0 at home this season – and are currently on a 10 game winning streak at Scottrade.
Again, the Blues came out hard and determined and were very unlucky to go in at the end of the first still tied 0-0. They had two powerplays but couldn’t find a way past former Blue, Brent Johnson, in the Penguin goal. The Blues outshot the Penguins 7-3 in the first – the game shaping up to be very much a battle between the two goaltenders.
The second period was the game changer. The Penguins outshot the Blues 19-7 with Jaroslav Halak making some superb saves and the Blues defense doing a sterling job in closing off lanes. There were scrums in the Blues crease with the Blues D protecting Halak – one of the best moments being when Roman Polak wrestled Sidney Crosby away from Halak. The main thing was that the Blues survived everything that the Penguins threw at them in that second period.
The third period was pretty even with the Penguins just outshooting the Blues by 9-8. No Polak on ice (he’d left the game after slicing his right arm) meant the Blues were short on defense – but the Penguins still couldn’t find a way through. There was a feeling though that the Blues might just snatch this game and went it went into overtime, Erik Johnson provided the winner after great work by Oshie along the boards. The sellout crowd erupted and the Blues deservedly took the two points.
- Alex Pietrangelo looks like he belongs out there – he had the highest ice time of the Blues in the game.
- Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin had a combined 10 shots – but still couldn’t get past their nemesis, Jaroslav Halak.
- T J Oshie might not lead the Blues in scoring but he’s pretty much an assist machine at the moment. Strong on the puck and strong along the boards, he provided a neat pass to Erik Johnson for the game winner.
- Eric Brewer had one of his best games as a Blue. He’s worked hard this season, is aggressive and very controlled in defense.
- Jaroslav Halak – 31 saves in an excellent performance that saw him named the game’s number 1 star. He’s cool and calm, focussed and confident . The rest of the team seem to sense this as they pick up on Halak’s confidence – it adds another dimension, allows players to be a bit more relaxed.
The Blues have another rest now – and play again on Thursday against Nashville. Expect Halak in goal again. Hopefully, Roman Polak will be fit enough to play. In the meantime, here is overtime in it’s entirety…not that there was a lot of it: