Blues Dodge a Canadien Bullet – STL 4, MON 3


After falling to Columbus 4-2 Monday, the Blues continued their road trip against the Montreal Canadiens. After giving up another exasperating late 3rd period goal, the Blues won 4-3 on an OT goal from Andy McDonald.

BJ Crombeen knows that he can do more to pump up his team than just score goals. He can drop the gloves and set the tone for an entire game. Wednesday night in Montreal, that’s exactly what #26 did.

Two minutes after Crombeen and Moen squared off at 1:40 in the 1st period, David Perron connected on a PPG. The goal was a nice deflection on a shot from the red-hot Alex Steen.

The Blues’ skaters continued to feed off the early Crombeen/Moen bout as their aggressive forecheck hemmed the clumsy Canadiens in their own end.

As a result, the Blues kept getting shots, which lead to another 1st period goal. Kariya banked a shot off Montreal goaltender Carey Price, who left a juicy rebound at the side of his net.

Even with all this excitement, the 1st period was far from over. After giving up a 2 goal lead, Carey Price sought to turn his play around, leaving his crease to play a puck on the left boards. Unfortunately for Price, Cam Janssen also had his eye on that puck.

Janssen unabashedly crashed into Price, resulting in some post-whistle activity. Price was raging and wanted a piece of Janssen. Not wanting to be left out, Ty Conklin left his crease to fight Price, resulting in a 2-minute minor. Benoit Pouliot connected eight seconds into that PP, after a blocked shot allowed him an empty net.

Fortunately, there was still plenty of hockey to be played and the Blues scored with less than 2 minutes in the 1st period. Steen cleaned up a rebound on a picture-perfect 2-on-1 situation.

The second period saw a more determined Canadiens squad, although the period was mostly uneventful.

The 3rd frame proved to be action-packed, although the Blues might describe it as “embarrassing” and “a real slip-up.” Montreal’s determination kept on rising as they dominated the Blues in the 3rd.  Benoit Pouliot scored again, at the 9:47 mark.

The Canadiens’ 2nd goal was the sole fault of Barret Jackman, who has plenty of “Brewer-esque” moments. After Jackman failed to clear a puck, a 2-on-1 break developed and the Canadiens capitalized.

With a flimsy 1-goal lead late in the 3rd period, Blues fans knew what was about to happen. With the crowd and the momentum on their side, Montreal pulled Price for the extra man. They kept working the puck in the Blues’ zone and deflected shot from Mike Cammalleri beat Ty Conklin to tie the game at 19:47, just 13 seconds from victory.

Ty Conklin looked noticeably shaken on the late goal and needed a big stop to “save” the game. He made a dandy on the Habs’ final shot of the game, a point-blank one-timer from Andrei Markov. After making that huge save, the Blues took the puck up ice and McDonald sniped the GWG from the top of the circle.

I haven’t had many complaints about Jackman recently, probably because most of my defensive complaints get lobbed at Brewer (he deserves it). Regardless, the breakdown leading to Pouliot’s second goal should have never happened.

Jackman, you’re a professional hockey player, regardless of what bathroom-goers at Scottrade say. You should be able to make a pass without losing the puck in your skates. I mean COME ON! Without that goal, the Blues still have a 2-goal lead and all the momentum is on our side. Thankfully, Conklin and McDonald felt like winning this one, so it’s not as bad as it could have been. Bottom line: a defense that makes mistakes is inevitable. A defense that makes bonehead, game-changing mistakes is INEXCUSABLE.

Whatever, I’m done complaining. A win is a win. Overall, I thought the Notes looked great last night. Puck movement was (for the most part) crisp and with a purpose, the forecheck could be called nothing but tenacious, and Conklin’s final save made up for any goaltending errors. The Blues need to keep up the desire and keep scoring if they want to win tomorrow in Montreal.