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So, the Blues have beaten the last two Stanley Cup Champions… and last night they inflicted this season’s first regulation loss on the Nashville Predators. And they did it in style.
Jaroslav Halak registered his second consecutive shutout – he’s now unbeaten for 151.10 minutes. The current Blues franchise shutout record is held by Manny Legace at 186.15 set in the 2007/2008 season. Halak has impressed his teammates. Speaking to the St Louis Post-Dispatch, Alex Steen said: “It feels like key moments of a game, where we need a big stop, he makes them. We had a couple of mistakes in our own end, but ‘Jaro’ was big for us. He’s been very sound for us. He plays incredibly calm. He doesn’t get himself overworked at all.”
This attitude was echoed by Erik Johnson, speaking after the game to the Blues Official Site: “He is such a fun goalie to watch. He looks like he is not even trying. He is so effortless in his motion. There is no wasted energy with him. We feel so confident with him back there because he’s so cool, calm and collected. We know we can go on offense and he’ll be back there if we have any hiccups. He has been a great, great asset for us.”
Halak stoned the Predators on breakaways, was good with traffic in front of the net and has a great ability to see play develop and adjust accordingly. The Blues are drawing great confidence from having Halak in net – it’s allowing the defense to relax more, to get involved in offense – and it’s been quite a while since the Blues have had this.
The game wasn’t all about Halak though. It was a pretty even affair for the most part – with the Predators having some good chances with the occasional piece of sloppy play from the Blues. Alex Steen got his first goal of the season after 12 minutes of period 2 following some great work behind the net by David Perron. Patrik Berglund put the Blues 2 up after 13 minutes of period 3 pouncing on a rebound and smashing it past Rinne in the Predators net. It was Berglund’s 4th goal of the season so far. To show how far they’ve come, the Blues didn’t sit back on the lead and instead they went in for the kill. Matt D’Agostini wrapped it up with just under 5 minutes of the game left when he flipped the puck into the net from just in front of goal.
One of the big talking points of the game, apart from Halak, was the hit levelled on Colaiacovo by Jordin Tootoo. Tootoo was given a five minute major for charging and a game misconduct. It doesn’t appear there will be any further punishment from the NHL, however, judge the hit for yourselves:
However, the last words should go to Halak – who will start on Saturday against Atlanta knowing that if he posts a shutout for the first two periods of the game he’ll break Legace’s record:
“It feels great, but I wasn’t going into the game thinking about the last shutout I had. I was just thinking about trying to help the guys win a game. It’s even more special when it’s a shutout.”
So, until Saturday, here are the game highlights: