The St. Louis Blues were back in action Thursday night after getting destroyed by Columbus Wednesday 8-1. The Blues showed great strength of character by playing a very hard 65 minutes of hockey. I didn’t know what to expect tonight from the Blues considering they had a rough 24 hours. Not only did they get hammered by Columbus, but they also learned that they will be without forward T.J. Oshie for at least three months after Oshie suffered a broken ankle and had surgery earlier today. However the Blues played a strong first and after that period I realized they knew they needed to move forward and play hockey.
With Oshie out, one guy the Blues needed to pick up some of the slack was David Backes. Tonight Backes was moved back to the winger position along with Andy McDonald and Vladimir Sobotka playing center. I thought Backes looked more comfortable at winger and he will probably be there for the next few games. Backes was able to get a rebound and score in the first to put the Blues up 1-0. The first was the Blues best period of hockey tonight. I thought they were aggressive on the forecheck and were able to generate some good scoring oppurtunties. They outshot Nashville 9-4 in the first and didn’t allow a shot on goal in last ten minutes of play.
The second period was a little different than the first. Nashville came out firing and really dominated the Blues from start to finish. They forced a lot of center ice turnovers and were able to keep the puck in the Blues zone and pressure Halak. They eventually capitalized and at the 13.44 mark Cam O’Reilly was able to beat Halak and tie the game up at 1-1. The Blues looked much slower in the second and had a serious problem clearing the puck from their zone as well as sustaining pressure on the other end of the ice. Nashville just outplayed the Blues and outshot them 10-3.
The third period was better for the Blues. They were able gain control of the puck in their zone and make some great outlet passes and challenge Pekka Rinne really since the first period. Patrik Berglund made a great pass and was able to lead Matt D’Agostini who scored and put the Blues up 2-1. However, with just under seven minutes left J-P Dumont was able to beat Halak with a backhanded shot and tie the game up 2-2. So the Blues would once again be going to overtime.
The Blues dominated overtime registering the only shots on goal and even had a 4-3 advantage for the last 1:19 but could not capitalize. The Blues outshot Nashville 3-0. The game would go to a shootout. D’Agostini shot first and was able to put the Blues up. Nashville came right back and evened the shootout score up at 1-1. Niether team would score again until Marcel Goc was able to score on Halak in the fourth round and give Nashville the victory.
Even though the Blues lost tonight, I thought they showed great character after last night and were able to get a point from a very tough Nashville team. One thing I am not happy with is the continuing struggles on the power play. The Blues were 0-4 again tonight. They cannot seem to get the puck deep into the zone, gain control and set their plays up, whether its a one timer or a shot from the point. If these struggles continue, I think its going to start costing the Blues games. But lets look at the positives from the game tonight. My third star goes Matt D’Agostini who scored goal in regulation and the shootout. He continues to impress me and his ability to dump and chase the puck is amazing. Second star of the game goes to Vladimir Sobatka who had an assist and looked very comfortable on that first line with Backes and McDonald. My first star goes to David Backes who scored his second goal of the season and played a very physical game. I thought the move from center back to winger was a good call by Coach Davis Payne. He looks more comfortable there and hopefully he will be playing back at winger for awhile. The Blues are in action again Saturday night on the road against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Topics: Andy McDonald, Cam O'Reilly, Columbus Blue Jackets, David Backes, Davis Payne, Hcokey, J-P Dumont, Jaroslav Halak, Marcel Goc, Matt D'Agostini, Nashville Predators, Outshot, Overtime, Patrik Berglund, Pekka Rinne, Phoenix Coyotes, Power Play, Shootout, St. Louis Blues, T.J. Oshie, Vladimir Sobotka, Winger