The St. Louis Blues knew they were going to be tested when the Toronto Maple Leafs came to town. It seems doubtful they knew just how much that test would take out of them by the end of the night.
As the Elton John song goes, Saturday was alright for fighting between the St. Louis Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs. Though nobody actually dropped the gloves, this one was a dogfight until the final bell in terms of goals scored.
Toronto came out and took the first goal of the game, scoring in the second period. It was a fine shot that the Blues had little chance of keeping out since it was so well placed, but knuckling as well.
That was the only goal in the first period and then the Blues went to work. They dominated the second period in both goal scoring and overall. About the only thing the Maple Leafs did well in the second was get a decent amount of shots.
The less said about the third period the better if you like defense. Both teams just threw caution to the wind and hit the afterburners.
One St. Louis goal came 17 seconds after Toronto scored. It was a wild game with plenty for fans to take in.
The defenders continue to be red hot.
Of course, we are not talking about their actual defending. That was something that left a little to be desired.
Offensively, though, the Blues are continuing to be one of the NHL’s best at jumping into the play.
The team’s blue liners had three goals on 11 shots. Sometimes you don’t get three goals within a month from your defenders, let alone one game.
Then there was Pietrangelo’s first goal. The patience and hands shown were unbelievable.
It would be nice to get 55 going a bit more, but we won’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
Jake Allen‘s stats took a hit.
The Snake was solid in net and came up with some fantastic saves. The boxscore and his season stats might not reflect that after this one.
Allen ended up facing 31 shots, but with four getting behind him that won’t do much to help. Despite some of his heroics, he ended the game with a .871 save percentage. It is the first time in awhile that he’s been sub .900.
Plenty of blame belongs with the defense, but Allen had to suffer through it.
The Blues top players were as good as you could hope for.
Vladimir Tarasenko scored a gritty goal. Instead of just getting the pretty wristers, he was down near the goal and poached a rebound. He ended up with two points with his assist and picked up his 300th career point.
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The Blues have been getting steady scoring from lots of areas (the third line excluded), but when you can really rely on your top guys, it makes things so much easier.
St. Louis needed every single point in this one and their front liners came with their A-game.
The fourth liners got taken advantage of a little.
There has been an argument whether to call them third or fourth line players given the minutes they play compared to their counterparts. When Chris Thorburn plays, it is more like a fourth line.
Regardless of who was out there, they did not have their best game against Toronto. No one player is to blame, especially since their defending teammates were not up to snuff on a couple breaks.
Still, when those guys were all minus-2, it does not reflect well on their night. One bad night is likely all it was, thankfully.
The third line finally broke through.
Again, we can hem and haw about what number to put next to them, but this line was finally rewarded. They had been putting in some good work and just not seen anything show up in the stat sheet in recent games.
We have kind of split hairs how certain guys might have picked up a point while playing on the third trio. There was no mistake about this one.
Magnus Paajarvi picked up the score by being in the right place at the right time. A couple deflections were all that stood between his linemates and an assist, but we’ll take the goal as it is.
This game was not easy on the nerves.
St. Louis gave themselves plenty of cushion with a great second period. The play toward the end of the game was a little too lax given the offensive quality they were going up against though.
On the plus side, the Blues managed to keep Auston Matthews quiet again. They’ve seen the young phenom three times in his career so far and he has yet to register a single point against the Note.
The Blues let up a few too many points to other guys, but we’ll excuse that for this night. When the offense is clicking to the tune of six goals for yourself, you can let a few other things slide.