A very chippy game this one, that contained controversial hits and decisions – and saw three Blues players make their way to the locker room at various points during the game. David Perron went off the ice following a nasty hit from Thornton but later returned. Barret Jackman injured his knee and limped off – later returning. Brad Winchester also left the ice. Three boarding penalties on the Sharks – I don’t know whether they felt they were above being penalised but that was the way they played.
The first period saw the Blues have four powerplays – and score on none of them. The powerplay was a shambles – there seemed to be little teamwork and, to be honest, the Sharks ended up with more shots on goal and chances than the Blues did. More than once, the Blues were thankful to Jaroslav Halak for pulling them out of the fire. The save Halak made on a shot from Huskins simply took your breath away. The Blues went ahead with just over 2 minutes left to play in the first. Barret Jackman flipped the puck across the ice to Matt D’Agostini who surged down the wing and sent a laser of a shot past Niemi in the Sharks goal. It was D’Agostini’s 5th goal of the season. An interesting fact about the first period is that, despite the Blues 4 powerplays to the Sharks 1, the Blues were outshot 9-8.
The second period was even worse penalty wise. 12 penalties were called, including a 5 minute major and 10 minute Game Misconduct on Joe Thornton who was ejected from the game with just over 5 minutes gone in the second. Minutes earlier, Thornton was penalised for boarding – a nasty little hit on TJ Oshie. As he left the penalty box, he skated towards David Perron and levelled him with a shoulder to the head. Perron was blindsided and, to be frank, Thornton’s defense after the game of “he just ran into me” simply cuts no ice. Thornton was deservedly ejected from the game and Perron went to the locker room. David Perron returned shortly afterwards and scored to put the Blues two up. Perron picked up a rebound from an Oshie shot and casually flipped it into the back with a neat little backhand. The Blues were surging in the second – outshooting the Sharks 14-5.
In the third, the Blues relaxed a bit – and were outshot by the Sharks 11-7. They didn’t seem in danger though, and were skating hard and trying for the third goal. A complete change on last season where they sat back and waited for the opposition to come to them. Backes missed an open net but the Blues came out deserved winners. Game notes:
- Jaroslav Halak picked up his third shutout of the season, stopping all 25 shots. He has now played 9 games with 7 wins and 3 shutouts.
- Alex Pietrangelo registered two assists and his first NHL fight. Pietrangelo and Couture dropped the gloves following Thornton’s hit on Perron.
- Eric Brewer did the Captain’s job again – picking up a roughing penalty after Thornton’s hit on Oshie.
- The games three stars were: 1. Jaroslav Halak, 2. David Perron and 3. David Backes.
Next up, the Blues take on Boston – but it seems unlikely that we’ll see the two top goalies in the league duel it out. Tim Thomas is playing tonight against the Capitals so it appears that Rask will get the start for Boston tomorrow. Anyway, here are the edited highlights of the game. For the fuller highlights, check out the Blues Official Site