The St. Louis Blues couldn’t hold a 3rd period lead, a rarity this season, and lost 3-2 in overtime Monday night to the Ottawa Senators. Chris Stewart scored twice to put the Blues ahead mid-way through the game but Cody Ceci scored the game-winner, his first goal of the season, with a minute left in the extra frame on a seeing-eye wrister from the point. Brian Elliott started against his former team and stopped 29 of 32 shots for St. Louis. Robin Lehner earned the victory for Ottawa making 30 saves.
The Sens entered Monday night’s game with an attitude, coming off a bad loss to the LA Kings over the weekend. St. Louis looked over-matched at times in the early goings as Ottawa was buzzing Elliott and playing a very physical game. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored about 4-minutes in and left the Blues playing catch-up for most of the first 2 periods. The teams traded power-play opportunities but neither was able to capitalize as both goaltenders played very well.
St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock shuffled up the defensive pairings Monday looking for a bit more out of the transition game, but with both Vladimir Sobotka and Jaden Schwartz already sitting out nursing injuries the Blues simply had too many changes to the lineup. Magnus Paajarvi and Chris Porter both filled in admirably, but the team had trouble moving the puck and maintaining pressure in the offensive zone. Porter, in particular, played a great game, throwing his body around and not appearing to have missed a beat since being relegated to the Wolves in Chicago. Ultimately though, the changes didn’t work and the blueliners were back with their usual partners by the end of the game.
The Blues appeared to be just hanging in with the Senators for much of the game, even after an offensive burst from Stewart via Derek Roy in the 2nd. Stewie tied the game 1-1 on a breakaway at 16:50 after a beautiful outlet pass from Roy from deep in the St. Louis zone.
Less than 3-minutes later, Stewart put the Blues ahead 2-1, again fed by Roy, playing in his home town with his parents in attendance. Only moments earlier, Lehner robbed Alexander Steen with an incredible pad-stacking save. With the pressure and the sudden lead, St. Louis looked for a moment to be in control of the game but it wouldn’t last as the Sens continued their hard-nosed play into the 3rd period. Tempers flared and Barret Jackman dropped the gloves with Chris Neil just a minute in. Jax got his butt handed to him in the brawl, but it was a nice veteran move, standing up for his teammate, Steen, whom Ottawa had been taking liberties with most of the game.
St. Louis managed a huge penalty kill in the extra time, as Roy was whistled for hooking just over a minute in. Thankfully, Ottawa couldn’t score with the man-advantage though they ended up playing pretty much the entirety of overtime in the St. Louis zone. The Sens finally made it pay off and Ceci’s goal brought a disappointing end to the quick, 2-game road trip for the Blues.
St. Louis earned a point, but they may have lost more than the game. David Backes left the game in the 2nd period after an open-ice collision with Colin Greening. I’m not so sure the hit was clean, but no penalty was called on the play. The captain looked nearly KO’d on his skates as he wobbled woozily to the Blues bench and down the tunnel with trainer Ray Barile. He did not return and it remains to be seen what his status will be for tonight’s tilt in St. Louis with the San Jose Sharks.
With Sobotka and Schwartz already questionable, the Backes injury looms large as the Blues will no doubt be travel weary today, returning last night from the bruising bout with Ottawa and trying to get ready for the Sharks who’ve eaten the ‘Note alive in two previous meetings this season. Jaroslav Halak will get the nod for St. Louis in goal. We can only hope the boys can bounce back, heal up, and be ready for another onslaught.
GO BLUES! LONG LIVE THE NOTE!