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Well, that was an interesting game – and the main talking point has to be Jay McClement’s first hattrick after 400 NHL games. The game was not a free flowing affair – the refs saw to that by penalising the Blues for the most innocent things. “Interference” seemed to be the official’s buzzword of the night with 4 interference calls on the Blues, 2 kneeing calls and 1 hooking call.
The Blues had an appalling first period. They looked slow, sluggish and with 3 penalties to kill in the first period alone, their much vaunted PK was disorganised and disjointed. The Trashers scored first – a powerplay goal from Peverley who snuck in to bury a rebound past Halak. However, the Blues tied the game minutes later when a shot from D’Agostini hit Jay McClement, who was laying on the ice, and popped past Pavelec. Ondrej Pavelec was making his first start since collapsing on the ice in his first game of the season on 8 October.
The goal was the only piece of good news in the first period for the Blues. Another powerplay goal for the Thrashers put them ahead once again. Antropov was left alone in front of net and scored following a rebound. The Thrashers third goal would have been pure comedy had it not hurt so much. The puck bounced into the Blues zone, Eric Brewer swiped at it and missed and Bergfors sent an unstoppable shot past Halak with 2 seconds left in the period.
The second period was slightly better for the Blues – they still couldn’t find their game but the defense was tighter. They started to create a couple of opportunities but there were still too many turnovers and Jaroslav Halak made some terrific saves to keep the Blues in the game. Only two penalties called in the second period, although the interference call on David Backes defied belief. It was merely a good and legal hit at center ice – but Backes was duly penalised for doing nothing more than playing good hockey.
In the third period, with the score still at 3-1, the Blues found themselves on the wrong side of the officials once again. The Blues were called for 3 penalties in the first 3 minutes of the game – complete insanity. However, it seemed like the team as a whole – not to mention the crowd – were just getting a bit annoyed at this. They started to click – they started to play the kind of hockey we’ve come to expect. Killing all 3 penalties including a huge 5 on 3, the Blues went on the offensive. They had 2 powerplays but they just couldn’t seem to get the PP working at all. Pavelec absolutely stoned Brad Boyes on one powerplay with an amazing glove save.
With just over 6 minutes left, Jay McClement tipped D’Agostini’s shot into the net and the Blues were well and truly back in the game. The crowd was loud and noisy and the Blues seemed to feed off their energy. Less than two minutes later, it was a tie game. Jay McClement completed his first NHL hattrick by tipping Pietrangelo’s shot past Pavelec. It was a great moment for one of the Blues most underrated players and, in the next stoppage in play, the Scottrade ice was literally littered with hats thrown from the crowd.
To chants of “Let’s Go Blues”, the final few minutes of regulation saw the Blues absolutely buzzing. The Thrashers though weren’t dead and buried and, once again, Halak came to the Blues rescue – and was barrelled into by Ben Eager for his trouble. The game went to overtime – a pretty even affair with 4 shots apiece – and when the shootout came, the crowd noise level went even higher.
TJ Oshie was first up for the Blues in the shootout – and he scored with a fantastic move. Pavelec got a pad to it but it wasn’t enough. Peveley fanned on his shot, the puck just sliding off his stick and next up for the Blues was Brad Boyes. Boyes might not be able to buy a goal in open play but he’s a sniper in the shootout. He proved it once again by ripping a shot over Pavelec’s glove. Halak then saved an attempt by Thrasher’s rookie, Burmistrov, to win the game for the Blues. Halak was mobbed by his teammates and the incredible noise from the crowd just kept going and going.
This was a character game for the Blues – this showed that, unlike last year, when this team gets into a hole they are quite capable of grinding themselves out of it. A few notes from the game:
- Jaroslav Halak’s shutout streak ended at just over 160 minutes – not too shabby at all.
- Matt D’Agostini and Alex Steen both picked up 2 assists each.
- Alex Pietrangelo once again led the Blues in ice time with just over 27 minutes.
- Nathan Oystrick registered an assist, was a +2 and had just over 11 minutes of ice time in his first game for the Blues.
- It was the Blues fifth straight win on home ice this season.
Next up, the Blues face the San Jose Sharks at Scottrade, looking for their franchise equalling record of six straight wins to start the season at home. To keep you entertained in the meantime, check out the shootout from last night’s game: