April 12, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues center T.J. Oshie (74) prepares for a face-off against the San Jose Sharks during the second period in game one of the 2012 Western Conference quarterfinals at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

The Playoffs Have Arrived in St. Louis

Opportunity after opportunity, the Blues just couldn’t find the back of the net when they needed it most. The energy was top notch in the Scottrade Center, and the Blues looked electric throughout the game and the first overtime. While the Blues were clearly dominating in the first OT, I was extremely nervous every time the Sharks got it into our zone. It didn’t matter that they only had small spurts of offense, I couldn’t help having that feeling that they were going to crack one through sooner or later. While Jaroslav Halak did indeed play a great game in goal, Antti Niemi completely halted the offensive barrage the Blues provided throughout the game. Niemi saved 40 of 42 shots on goal. If there is any Sharks player I’m scared of for the rest of the series, its Antti Niemi. However, if the Blues continue to play as they did in Game 1, it will be a tough task for Niemi. I’m looking for a little more action from T.J. Oshie, David Perron, and Andy McDonald.

Although the loss was absolutely crushing, the game as a whole was 100% playoff hockey. This game was chippy through and through, with scrums and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties all over the place. It was pretty awesome to see Captain David Backes throw his gloves down, even if the fight was stopped.

Some of the Blues players played better than expected, namely Ryan Reaves, Kris Russell, and Patrik Berglund. Reaves was all over the place to the tune of playoff hockey, but unfortunately had to exit the game after taking a skate to the face. Unfortunately, it didn’t look like our two young defensemen, Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk, were quite comfortable in the playoff atmosphere yet. Pietrangelo especially looked edgy, and didn’t make the same smart, patient plays we are used to seeing. Hopefully these two guys get comfortable as soon as possible.

Tags: Andy McDonald Antti Niemi David Backes David Perron Jaroslav Halak Ryan Reaves San Jose Sharks Stanley Cup Playoffs T.J. Oshie

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