Talk about unexpected. I never would have believed you if you would have told me before tonight’s game against Columbus that the Blues would score three power play goals. I might have had a hard time believing you if you said the Blues would score one PP goal. The team broke an 0-for-22 power play slump thanks to goals by Alex Steen, Jay McClement, and Vlad Sobotka, and added an empty-netter by David Backes to take down the Jackets 4-1.
I was entirely impressed with the power play tonight, but not just because they actually scored on it. The puck possession in the zone was much better, and both units looked comfortable out there all night. They ran a few set plays that resulted in chances, and their offensive pressure up front forced Columbus to pack their kill box in, allowing guys like Erik Johnson (2 assists) to blast from the point. If the team stays calm and outworks other teams in the dirty areas, I could see this unit becoming a strength, or at least serviceable, down the road.
The power play wasn’t the only special teams group that had an impressive evening on Thursday, as the penalty kill shut down all eight Columbus chances in the win, including a couple of 5-on-3 chances. The old hockey cliche says that your best penalty killer has to be your goalie, and Jaro Halak was just that tonight. He is really getting hot again at the right time, and with 8 of the next 10 games at Scottrade, it is a real opportunity for this team to get through this injury patch without falling apart.
|01:14||STL||PPG – Alexander Steen (8) Wrist Shot – Assists: C. Colaiacovo (7) & D. Backes (14)|
|13:19||STL||PPG – Jay McClement (4) Assists: E. Johnson (8) & D. Backes (15)|
|06:56||CBJ||Jan Hejda (2) Snap Shot – Assists: R. Nash (7) & A. Stralman (8)|
|17:13||STL||EN – David Backes (5) Wrist Shot – Assists: none|
Tags: Alex Steen Anton Stralman Carlo Colaiacovo Columbus Blue Jackets David Backes Erik Johnson Jan Hejda Jaroslav Halak Jay McClement Matt D'Agostini Penalty Kill Power Play Rick Nash Scoring Recap Scottrade Center St. Louis Blues Vladimir Sobotka