After a disheartening loss at Columbus on Tuesday night, the Saint Louis Blues rebounded with a 5-1 dismantling of the New York Islanders at the Scottrade Center on Thursday. With the win, the Blues have now earned a point in twenty consecutive home games, a new Franchise record. The Blues also moved within three points of the Red Wings and the Central Division lead.
Pietrangelo is taking his game to another level. There’s simply no other way to describe his play. The young defenseman had three assists on Thursday night, including two on the power play. Pietrangelo also added two shots on goal, two hits, and a blocked shot in just over twenty-four minutes of ice time. With each passing game, it becomes more evident that Pietrangelo is blossoming into the elite defenseman the Blues envisioned him being when they selected him with the fourth overall pick in 2008. The final months of the regular season and playoffs will serve as proving grounds for Alex, as he continues to establish himself as one of the premier, young defensemen in the NHL.
T.J. was on fire offensively tonight. He had three points, tying a career high, on two assists and a goal. Oshie answered Ken Hitchcock’s call for more movement on the power play, providing two assists on the man advantage. Oshie assisted on Kevin Shattenkirk’s slap shot goal in the first period, which gave the Blues a 2-1 lead they wouldn’t surrender for the course of the game. Oshie also registered a goal on a deflection off an Alex Pietrangelo slap shot in the second period, giving him fifteen on the season.
Blues fans are starting to get spoiled by their goaltenders. Elliot returned to net on Thursday night with a game we’ve grown to expect from him. The twenty-six year old posted twenty-six saves on twenty-seven shots, yielding a .963 save percentage. After surrendering a goal on a Frans Nielsen wrist shot just fifty-nine seconds into play, Elliot was lights out. He stopped the next twenty-five shots he faced, making a number of critical stops on scoring opportunities in the third period. Goaltending has yet to be an issue for St. Louis this season and, with performances like Elliot’s on Thursday night, there’s no reason to believe it will become one down the stretch.
In his first game since sustaining an ankle injury in late October, Huskins played a solid game in place of the injured Carlo Colaiacovo. He registered one blocked shot and assisted on T.J. Oshie’s goal, late in the second period. Huskins’ return to the lineup provides some additional defensive depth and flexibility for Ken Hitchcock.