Despite losing 2-0 last night to the Chicago Blackhawks at the Madhouse on Madison, the St. Louis Blues still lead their best-of-seven series 2-games to 1 and are very much in control of their own playoff destiny.
A single gaffe, probably the worst goal Ryan Miller has allowed thus far in the series, was the difference in last night’s match-up, as the Blues turned in arguably their best overall effort of Round One thus far. Missing their Captain, David Backes, St. Louis was able to generate plenty of pressure in the offensive zone and for most of the game kept the ‘Hawks’ top line off the scoreboard.
Jonathan Toews‘s first goal of the post-season in the first period was certainly one Miller wishes he could have back, but otherwise the Chicago captain was stymied, being held to only two shots. Hitchcock used a number of different line combinations versus the Toews line to great effect.
The two teams will square-off again Wednesday night in Chicago and a win by the Blues would put them solidly in the driver’s seat headed back to St. Louis for a Game 5 this weekend and a chance to oust the defending champs.
Solving Corey Crawford proved to be the main obstacle Monday night- he was excellent in the shutout- but the Blues had plenty of chances they simply missed on. With the defense returning to early season form (Game 3 was their best since the beginning of April) if St. Louis can get more pucks on the net and if Miller can start games like he’s been finishing them we should see a series victory.
I predicted the Blues wining in 7-games, but the way they’ve played I believe it’s going to end sooner, and they’re poised to make it happen at home Friday night.
GO BLUES! LONG LIVE THE NOTE! BECAUSE IT’S THE CUP!