- After going 1-1 this weekend, our St. Louis Blues have proven they have the capacity to be both a dominating force, as well as a lazy and sluggish hockey team. With a 4-0 win against Minnesota at Scottrade, the Blues played hard and fast, outnumbering the Wild’s shot count 34-13, while Brian Elliott recorded his league-leading 6th shutout. Sunday, however, was a different story, as the Blues blew a 1-0 lead in the last 15 minutes and let up 3 unanswered goals to end the game, the most heartbreaking of which was a shot that went in off of David Backes’ skate. Although they outshot Chicago 30-27, the Blackhawks dominated the last two periods, recording 8 more shots and far better scoring chances.
What We Learned:
Andy McDonald Might Just Be Back- In his first 5 games back since returning from a concussion that sidelined him the first four months of the season, McDonald has tallied 3 goals and 1 assist. Not only has he been producing, but he has stimulated a Blues power play that for much of the season was abysmal. McDonald’s strong stick-handling and leadership ability will be a necesity if the Blues are to make a deep run into the playoffs.
Scoring Comes From Everywhere – In the 4-0 thrashing of the Wild on Saturday, the Blues got goals from Ryan Reaves, Vladimir Sobatka, and Barrett Jackman. Fourth line attack men, Reaves and Sobatka were finally rewarded for their scrappy play all season. Jackman tallied his first goal of the season, snapping his 150 game scoreless drought. McDonald also contributed 2 goals over the weekend, as he lead the Blues in scoring over the past week.
These two games over Western Conference contenders brought to light both the strengths and weaknesses of this Blues team. The goaltending and depth were clearly huge factors in the win on Saturday, while a lack of power play execution and offensive fire power was an issue in the loss to Chicago. Moving forward, the Blues must continue to improve on special teams while hopefully shoring up the back end with a trade deadline move.