The St. Louis Blues played their first of three games this week and were able to win their third straight game against the Nashville Predators. The Blues have already played the Predators four times this year and are an impressive 2-1-1 against a team I believe will battle for the top spot in the Central Division.
The Blues got on the board very early in the first period. Andy McDonald scored nine seconds into the game beating Predators goalie Pekka Rinne high glove side and quickly put the Blues up 1-0. Alex Pietrangelo and David Backes both got assists on the play. The Blues top line of Boyes-Backes-McDonald had played extremely well over the past few weeks and I expect more of the same from them over the next few weeks. After the Blues early goal the offense shut down. They only registered four shots on goal the rest of the period. They were outshot by Nashville 8-5 in the first.
The second period was the Blues weakest of the night. Nashville came out and tied the game up 22 seconds in when Jerred Smithson got a juicy rebound in front of the net and was able to beat Jaroslav Halak. With game tied at one Nashville kept their foot on the gas and pressured the Blues the entire period. Nashville was agressive on the forecheck, they forced the Blues to make some terrible neutral zone turnovers, and when the Blues would dump and chase they cut off the angles and got the puck moving the other way. St. Louis looked flat and could not generate any offensive pressure. The only reason Nashville did not run away with this game was the goaltending of Halak. After a few shaky performances on the road Halak really looked good and was the reason this game went into third period at 1-1. The Blues were outshot 10-4.
The third period was a lot like the second period. The Blues were outplayed again, although I thought they played better in the third than the second. They were more agressive this period and were able to get pucks deep in the zone and setup their offense, even though they still could not get shots on goal. Once again Nashville really piled on the shots but Halak was able to turn them away. Nashville outshot St. Louis 12-4 in the third.
Overtime saw only two shots on goal, both by St. Louis, and no real scoring threats by either team. The game moved to a shootout and Andy McDonald finally scored for the Blues in the fifth round and gave St. Louis a 2-1 victory.
The Blues did not play their best game but were able to ride the great goaltending of Halak to another victory. My third star of the game goes to Erik Johnson. I thought he played a great defensive game whether it was five on five or the penalty kill. He also came close to scoring in the shootout, hitting the goal post. My second star goes to Jaroslav Halak who stopped 29 of 30 shots and stopped every shootout attempt. My first star goes to Andy McDonald who scored both goals for the Blues and continued to impress on that first line. The Blues are in action again Friday night when they take on the Dallas Stars.
Tags: Alex Pietrangelo Andy McDonald Brad Boyes Central Division Dallas Stars David Backes Erik Johnson Forecheck Jaroslav Halak Jerred Smothson Nashville Predators Outshot Pekka Rinne Shootout St. Louis Blues