The St. Louis Blues wrapped up their homestand Monday night with a 3-0 shutout of the Minnesota Wild. Jaroslav Halak stopped all 22 shots he faced and the Blues got an early goal from Vladimir Sobotka (5) and added two more from Alexander Steen (18,19) who ended a 4-game goal-less drought. Jay Bouwmeester and TJ Oshie each added their 17th assist in the win.
The Wild entered Monday night only a point behind the Blues in the Western Conference standings, and appeared to jump on the Blues early as Zach Parise thought he scored on Halak just 50 seconds after the initial puck-drop, but the goal was emphatically waved off by the ref and the call was (rightly) upheld by video review in Toronto.
With the score still 0-0 and a “reset” of the game, St. Louis took over and dominated. They out-shot Minnesota 12-4 in the 1st but really stole the game away in the face-off circles. The Blues had 38 face-off wins on the night to the Wild’s 19 which allowed St. Louis to control the flow of the game and allowed them to sustain pressure in the offensive zone for extended periods.
The Blues took advantage of some poor rebound control by Niklas Backstrom, scoring twice in the opening frame by getting good shots on goal and the forwards rushing to the front of the crease. Sobie banged in one such rebound after a blast from the point by Carlo Colaiacovo, playing in his first game since rejoining St. Louis earlier this month (and also getting his 1st assist.) Steener scored the first of his 2 goals on the night on a similar play. Bouwmeester fired a shot from out high and Steen made it count, backhanding home the rebound.
St. Louis went into lockdown mode from there, clogging up passing and shooting lanes and limiting Minnesota’s chances through a scoreless 2nd period, and while the Blues tallied only a single shot in the 3rd to the Wild’s 12, the home team was clearly in charge of the game throughout it’s entirety. Steen iced it with his second goal, an empty netter.
It was one of the better complete efforts by the Blues all season. Patrik Berglund returned from injury to log over 15 minutes of ice time and Magnus Paajarvi remained in the lineup with Ryan Reaves lost for 6-weeks due to surgery scheduled on his broken hand. St. Louis now heads West for a road-trip that includes stops in Denver, San Jose, and Los Angeles before returning to Scottrade December 5th to play the Islanders.
GO BLUES! LONG LIVE THE NOTE!