The St. Louis Blues saw their winning streak end Friday night, losing 2-1 to the Vancouver Canucks. As frustrating as it is to see them play so well for weeks on end then come up so short in the scoring department, the Blues played a decent game but ran into a very hot goaltender in Vancouver’s Eddie Lack. For St. Louis, Brian Elliott took his first loss in 8 starts, stopping 21 of 22 shots, and Alex Pietrangelo scored the only goal, his 7th of the season.
The Blues played a very tight-checking game through the first 20 minutes Friday night and out-shot the Canucks 12-5 as the two teams felt each other out, looking for turnovers and odd-man rushes. Neither team would make many mistakes, score or take a penalty in that early frame. While both goalies looked very sharp, the teams appeared tentative and slow, especially compared to what we’d see later in the game.
Vancouver took a 1-0 lead early in the 2nd period on a deflection goal by Zac Dalpe. Ells was screened on the play and had no chance to make a stop with the puck changing direction about 3- feet out in front of him. The Canucks were on a strong forecheck and kept the puck away from the Blues, who looked a little flat-footed on defense.
Petro’s goal would tie it up 1-1 at 7:49 of the 2nd, essentially hitting the reset button for the Blues, with well over half the game remaining. He now has 8-points in his last five games. Looking at the replay, it’s a shame Vladi Tarasenko couldn’t be credited with an assist as his move at the blueline allowed Petro to receive the puck in position to blast his shot past Lack. You could say much the same for Vladimir Sobotka who, once again, won the face-off immediately preceding the goal.
St. Louis killed a very questionable Goaltender Interference minor on Chris Stewart late in the 2nd and skated about 5-minutes into the 3rd before allowing Vancouver to take the lead once more on an all around ugly sequence by the Blues as a team. The Canucks rushed up the ice and caught defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk well out of position leading to a log-jam of St. Louis skaters in front of Elliott. A bouncing puck was corralled by Mike Santorelli who fired it from the high slot through traffic to beat Ells.
Lack would lock down the win for Vancouver as St. Louis out-shot them on the night 31-22. He made some impressive saves throughout the game as the Blues were able to pressure him but simply couldn’t find the back of the net often enough. I’d be more upset had the Blues played poorly or been blown out, but they played their game and Lack stole a win for his team.
Blues fans might argue that St. Louis’s chance to tie the game late in the 3rd period was handcuffed by the officials as Jay Bouwmeester was whistled for Delay of Game at 16:30 when he crashed into the net as Ells made a save on Chris Higgins. It put the Blues a man down for essentially the remainder of the game. Too few goal was the main reason for the loss, but the refereeing, as we’ve seen far too often this season, was suspect at best Friday night.
With three full days off before meeting the Phoenix Coyotes in St. Louis Tuesday night, the Blues will look to regroup, refresh, and heal a few banged up guys. TJ Oshie played Friday night after a scare Thursday when he appeared to hurt his knee and should certainly benefit from the break. Roman Polak is reportedly skating this morning with the team and Alexander Steen is also on the ice in practice today, looking to make it back from a concussion after missing the last 9 games.
GO BLUES! LONG LIVE THE NOTE!