The Blues picked up their 75th point of the season tonight in a 3-0 shutout of the San Jose Sharks. St. Louis’ performance on Sunday night can only be described as dominant. The Blues established themselves over their Western Conference foe from the first drop of the puck and won their league leading 24th home game.
The twenty-two year-old, defenseman may have played the best game of his fledgling NHL career tonight. Pietrangelo was all over the ice, tallying two goals, two blocked shots, and an assist in just over twenty-six minutes of ice time. Pietrangelo contributed to the Blues’ twenty-seventh ranked power play with a slap shot from the point in the first period, and then again in the second period, assisting on David Perron’s goal on a two-man advantage. He capped his dominant performance by adding an empty net goal from deep within his own zone, late in the third period. Tonight’s performance will undoubtedly provide a confidence boost for Pietrangelo going forward. The Blues could certainly use a hot defenseman heading into the homestretch of the regular season. Look for Pietrangelo to provide offense from the blue line throughout the divisional race.
Parlez vous francais? The Quebec native has been on a complete tear the past four games. Perron had power play goal in the second period, giving him six over the course of the last four games. After scoring four times in his previous twenty-five games this season, Perron may finally be hitting his stride in Ken Hitchcock’s offensive system. If he continues to light the lamp at this rate, Doug Armstrong will happily end his league-wide search for scoring threats.
After being pulled in New Jersey on Thursday, Halak returned to the ice with a stellar performance in net. Jaro rendered San Jose’s explosive Thornton line completely ineffective. Halak turned away twenty-five shots for his league-leading sixth shutout. Tonight’s effort in net silenced any talk of Halak falling off after an extraordinary run prior to the All Star Break.
In his first game back since suffering a concussion in October, Andy McDonald definitely made his presence felt. McDonald skated on Hitchcock’s second line tonight with wingers Patrik Berglund and Jamie Langenbrunner. In a little over sixteen minutes of ice time, McDonald recorded three shots on goal and picked up an assist on David Perron’s power play goal in the second period. McDonald’s speed was a noticeable addition the Blues’ offense tonight. The timing of McDonald’s return should also be noted. The Blues’ offense has been clicking since the All Star break, and the return of the speedy center will only contribute to this recent offensive progress. Overall, tonight’s effort was extremely encouraging for a forward who hasn’t seen ice time under Hitchcock’s tutelage.