The St. Louis Blues managed to turn fan frowns upside down after a disappointing Black Friday performance. They shook off the cobwebs and took down the Minnesota Wild.
The St. Louis Blues seem to have a certain resiliency in 2017-18. Whereas in years past, they would let a game like the Nashville loss turn into two or three losses, they nip those things in the bud right away now.
The Blues came out focused and determined against the Minnesota Wild, just one night after being shut out. The Blues were not about to let a goose egg stay up on the board for long.
It was just six minutes and 15 seconds into the first period when the Blues struck first. Though not as frequently as the Edmonton game, the goals would come thick and fast after that initial one.
The Blues got a good mix in their scoring too. The usual suspects popped up, of course. Some rather unexpected names came forth with good performances as well.
St. Louis continues to roll right along. Maybe one of these days, us fans will stop worrying that every bad game will end up in some awful losing streak. Not likely though.
Sammy Blais scored his first NHL goal.
This goal feels like it was a long time coming, but perhaps it was because I was supportive of this guy from the start. He was playing well before his demotion, but not rewarded with production.
It was somewhat of a surprise when the Blues recalled him. They seemed to be satisfied having that last forward spot remain empty.
Perhaps Berglund is not as close as we had believed. Whatever the reason, Blais came to shine.
Placed on the “fourth” line (actually the third line, but moved down), he played his own game despite his teammates. He got his rewards.
You can argue that the goal came when the game was already in hand. That takes nothing away from it though.
Blais set up in a prime scoring area. He got a power play goal, which have been few and far between too. Hopefully he gets a couple more before being sent back down, if that is his fate.
The Blues defending was lackluster at times.
This is becoming a bit of an issue. The Blues defensive core has too many good players to be this loose defensively.
That’s exactly how they are playing though – loose. Too much focus is on the offense and they either get caught flatfooted or too far up the ice.
Jake Allen did not have a spectacular game, by any means. He bailed out the defense several times though.
Statistically his game doesn’t look too good because of the defending with an .880 save percentage. You can argue it is that low because the defenders limited shots. Still, when the shots given up are quality, the low number isn’t as impressive.
We’ve practically been begging for it, but the Blues are finally doing it. While most media will consider the second line to be secondary scoring, that is nonsense. You expect them to score.
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Blais got his goal. St. Louis got another goal from Dmitirj Jaskin and an assist from Chris Thorburn (who was a goal away from a Gordie hat-trick). They also got a shorthanded goal from Kyle Brodziak. That’s not a bad night, in and of itself, let alone on top of the other goals.
These are the kinds of performances you need from those lines. Nobody expects 20-30 goals from many of those players. They do need to chip in and, at least, be a threat.
The Blues ability to hold a lead is somewhat lacking.
While they never fully let Minnesota back into the game, they did not crush their spirit either. You could almost tie this one into the defending.
You’d like to see the Blues on lockdown mode when they get up by three goals. I’m not saying park the bus, but focus a little more on keeping your opponent from gaining any momentum is something they will need to learn come playoff time.
You can rely on the offense until you can’t. The Nashville game proved that and the Blues need to find ways to clamp down the opponent when they are scoring.
You give the team a slight pass because one goal was a shorthanded score on a bad turnover. Nevertheless, you never got the sense that Minnesota was completely out of it.
The Blues power play came to life.
If a team gives you eight, yes eight, power play chances, you better damn well score. The Blues did that and did it often on this night.
Three of eight is not the best of percentages, but at this point, we will take it. Two of the three came late in the game when it did not matter as much, but you take it.
You could almost argue those goals were still important because the game was not quite decided yet. It was not as though they made it 6-1. Those goals did give the Blues a good cushion at the end.
Even if they did come in junk time, sometimes success breeds success. Maybe this was the game that springs the power play on.
Switching the third line to fourth made sense.
Ultimately, you can call them what you want. It all boils down to ice time. The “fourth” line actually had more ice time because they deserved it.
However, switching the roles, you put a chip on the shoulder of the guys that are technically supposed to be better players. Maybe it worked. As mentioned, Blais and Jaskin both scored. Now, we are just waiting on Oskar Sundqvist to do something.
Overall, both lines played quite well and stepped into their roles exactly when needed. Whether it was scoring or a scrap, they are now figuring out what is needed of them.
Great bounceback game.
Say what you want about their record, this is still a talented Minnesota team. Right now it looks like they’ll miss the playoffs, but they do have talent to make you have to game plan for certain guys.
The Blues took away much of what Minnesota wanted to do, with a few blips here and there. St. Louis did exactly what it wanted to do offensively as well.
It was a good all-around game. It would have been better with a Vladimir Tarasenko goal, but we want that every night.
The Blues are scoring in bunches now and the only worry left is it will dry up randomly. That is, again, a typical fan worry and we need to rid ourselves of such fear. This team, for now, is not giving us anything to truly worry about other than the ghosts of franchise past.