The St. Louis Blues apparently left their game back in South Carolina where they’d spent a portion of the last week on a team retreat, thanks to a ridiculous 6 day layoff in their NHL schedule. The Blues hosted the Vancouver Canucks and lost in the early moments of overtime, 3-2. Vladimir Sobotka scored for St. Louis who also got a power-play goal from Alexander Steen. Jaroslav Halak took the loss, giving up the winning goal in the extra frame to Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler.
The Blues had every advantage heading into Friday’s tilt versus the Canucks, as Vancouver was undoubtedly exhausted and playing in the final game of an arduous 7 game road-trip. Unfortunately for St. Louis, the long break seemed to hurt them more than help, and with Coach Ken Hitchcock shaking up his lines, the team couldn’t muster much resistance until the 3rd period. The Blues battled back from a 2-0 deficit, but their lackadaisical play continued into overtime and after a costly penalty by Patrik Berglund, Kesler. unchallenged in the crease, backhanded in a rebound to end the game.
Halak didn’t play poorly in Friday’s game and Vancouver’s 1st goal came on a deflection off Roman Polak, but Jaro didn’t look as comfortable in net as we’ve seen previously this season. Probably because the Blues played so soft in front of him. St. Louis appeared sluggish from the drop of the first puck and it cost them. They had an opportunity to jump on a Vancouver team featuring the Daniel and Henrik Sedin who’d each played 25+ minutes just the night before. Eddie Lack, playing in just his 3rd NHL game stymied the Blues, stopping 22 of 24 shots for his second win.
The usual suspects for St. Louis were once again all over the ice and played their guts out Friday night. Sobotka’s game-tying goal early in the 3rd period looked to spark the team out of their fog.
You can’t win many games playing only 20 minutes though, a trend we saw far too often last season, and while this one is yet young, the Blues appeared to take a step backward after their break rather than coming out refreshed and inspired. Jaden Schwartz terrorized the Canucks most of the night. The thing I like the most about Schwartz is how he seems to play the entire game with his stick on the ice, always digging for the puck. You can tell he wants it, every second of every shift. Chris Stewart tried to fire up the team, giving Tom Sestito a beating early in the 2nd period, but was otherwise a non-factor. Stewie has no goals through the first 8 games.
The Blues traveled to Nashville after Friday’s game and will face-off against the Predators tonight at Bridgestone Arena. Halak has played well against the Preds since joining the Blues (7-3-3) but with games on back-to-back nights I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brian Elliott in net for St. Louis. Nashville recently lost their stellar goaltender, Pekka Rinne, to an injury that could have him out at least four weeks. Hopefully the Blues scrubbed off the rust before their flight and will come out strong as they have in winning 6 of their last 7 against Nashville.
GO BLUES! LONG LIVE THE NOTE!
Tags: Alexander Steen Brian Elliott Bridgestone Arena Chris Stewart Jaden Schwartz Jaroslav Halak Ken Hitchcock Nashville Predators Patrik Berglund Ryan Kesler St. Louis Blues Tom Sestito Vancouver Canucks Vladimir Sobotka