Brian Elliott was stellar once again, making 33 saves and three more in the shoot-out as the St. Louis Blues defeated the Phoenix Coyotes Thursday night 2-1 at Scottrade Center. David Perron scored his first goal in 15 games and Andy McDonald scored the only goal in the extra frame to notch the win.
Going into Thursday’s game, the Coyotes were clinging desperately to their playoff hopes while the Blues looked to build on their win Tuesday against Vancouver. St. Louis sat in 7th place, 1 point behind Minnesota with 50. Phoenix, 3 spots out of the playoff picture, figured they might need to run the table on their remaining games to have a shot at post-season play.
Things started off with high spirits when Ryan Reaves fought social-media darling and wanna-be-tough-guy Paul Bissonnette just 2 minutes in. Reaver got the best of “BizNasty” and really did him a favor by taking him to the ice. Reaves was in the process of beating him senseless.
St. Louis has made it a habit their last 3 games of starting with a vengeance, checking hard and playing stifling defense. Unlike the previous two, this one saw the Blues light the lamp early as well. Perron’s goal at 9:58 of the 1st period was momentarily thought to be tipped in with a high-stick, but it stood, after a brief review, and it gave the Blues a 1-0 lead in a game that would prove to be quite a test of their resolve.
Phoenix would go on to dominate the 2nd period and most of the 3rd as well. The Blues were not bad- they had scoring chances that wouldn’t go against Chad Johnson and did a fair job moving the puck- but the Coyotes were better, pinning the Blues deep in their own zone for extended shifts time after time. Only Ells kept St. Louis on top, though he did have some help.
Those who have succeeded at anything and don’t mention luck are kidding themselves ~ Larry King
The Blues got another outstanding performance from Elliott Thursday night, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit Lady Luck played her part in the St. Louis victory. As good as Ells was, Phoenix missed tying the game by mere inches much earlier than 18:53 in the 3rd period, not once but twice ringing pucks off a goalpost.
Everyone knows Luck can also be fickle, running out on you when you least expect it, and it proved to be so for the Blues toward the end of the game. Late in the 3rd, Vladimir Sobotka was checked from behind sending him dangerously head first into the boards. No call was made, much to the chagrin of the Blues and their fans. What seemed like only moments later, David Backes was called for Boarding. It was a hard-nosed but clean looking check on prissy, prima-donna Phoenix defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson into the end boards and it gave the Coyotes a power-play with just under 3 minutes to play.
During their man-advantage, it appeared that Alex Pietrangelo was run down from behind by Martin Hanzal, lunged at and cross-checked down and into the boards, but no infraction was called. In the ensuing disbelief and confusion, the ‘Yotes managed to get the puck in front of the net and beat Elliott to tie the game 1-1. Bad officiating? Bad luck? Tough call (or non-call, as the case may be.)
We could argue about the officiating, the lack of Blues scoring, or why Ekman-Larsson was too much of a pansy to fight Sobie all night. The short of it is that the game went into overtime, where the Blues had the better of the scoring changes but couldn’t solve Johnson, and for the second time in 2 games found themselves tied 1-1 facing a shoot-out to determine who walked away with the extra point. Mac scored on the first shot and Ells stood on his head once again, stone-walling Ekman-Larsson on the final one to give the point to the Blues and vault them into the 6th spot in the West.
St. Louis wraps up this 4 game home-stand tonight in a tilt with the very dangerous Dallas Stars who are fighting for their playoff lives, sitting 2 points out of the 8th spot. The Blues have had a week of playoff-caliber hockey already so I don’t expect any let-down in their energy or drive. With an early game in Colorado slated for Sunday (4:30pm CST) we might see Jake Allen in net for the Blues, but reports from Scottrade Center this morning lead me to believe Ells will start again.
GO BLUES! Long Live the Note!