After an intense sixty-five minutes of what felt like playoff hockey, the Blues and their division rival, the Nashville Predators, entered a shootout. Most Blues’ fans probably thought they might as well concede the extra point to the Predators, given St. Louis’ 2-6 shootout record this season. Andy McDonald, T.J. Oshie, and Jaroslav Halak evidently had different plans.
The Blues only needed two shooters to earn their third shootout victory of the season. Ken Hitchcock selected T.J. Oshie as his first shooter of the shootout period, and Oshie delivered. The third-year forward skated into the low slot and made a beautiful move to his backhand to beat Nashvile goaltender, Pekka Rinne. Jaroslav Halak then made a pad save on Nashville forward, Colin Wilson to preserve the lead. Andy McDonald, in his first shootout attempt of the season, went five-hole on Rinne and scored to put the pressure on Nashville sniper, Martin Erat. Erat’s shot missed the net wide and the Blues picked up the extra point in Nashville.
The Blues entered last night’s shootout against Nashville ranked 27th in the league in shootout wins. Their dominant performance in the shootout has since boosted their shootout efficiency ranking to 17th in the league. McDonald’s return to the lineup certainly helps the Blues in shootouts. Oshie had been the teams only creative force in shootouts thus far, scoring three of the four shootout goals tallied in the season. With McDonald, opposing goaltenders will now have to face intimidating shooters in consecutive rounds against the Blues. If Alex Steen is able to return from his concussion prior to the playoffs, a combination of Oshie, Mcdonald, and Steen could pose as one of the most effective shootout forces in the league.