Western Canada Belongs To The St. Louis Blues

The Blues have multiple personalities. That's the only explanation for the team's play to this point. Apparently the personality that actually knows how to play hockey and win games only likes road games. Especially Western Canada.

Wednesday night the Blues won 2-1 in the shootout at Calgary. Combine that win with victories in Edmonton and Vancouver and the sweep of Alberta and British Columbia marks the first time in franchise history the team has swept all three teams in one trip.

Patrik Berglund apparently is feeling frisky as he scored again to give the Blues a 1-0 lead in the first period. He had six points before this trip. He now has nine. It's progress, party people. Let's see what he does in Minnesota on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas for us Americans) before we totally declare Iceberg fully reclaimed from the Island of Misfit Toys.

The Blues held the tenuous one-goal lead into the third before allowing the tying goal, a puck with eyes as it sliced through traffic, caught part of Mike Weaver's shin pad and then the back of the net. Fortunately for the Blues, Calgary couldn't put them away late in the game.

After an entertaining overtime, Brad Boyes and birthday boy T.J. Oshie each scored to win the shootout 2-0. Goaltender Chris Mason was the No. 1 star. And if you watched the telecast, you may have heard 10 times that Mason is from Red Deer, Alberta, just 90 minutes from Calgary.

The key to Wednesday's game was familiarity. It was already the third meeting of the season between the Flames and Blues. There were no surprises on the ice and plenty of physical play. The goaltenders played well, there were few stoppages in the first period. It felt more like a divisional game. And most importantly, when the pressure was turned up after the tying goal in the third, the Blues didn't panic. They didn't buckle. They kept playing their game and it worked out in the end. If only Boyes could pull a move during regulation like he does in the shootout where he's become dangerous every time.

After the Tampa debacle last week, I was ready to write this team off. They were on the edge of the cliff ready to plummet to the bottom. They were close to losing the fans after that game. Now? Who the hell knows. Regardless, the players have kept this team relevant with just three wins.

The real test will be the upcoming homestand next week. Until then, have some nog, open some new presents and have a Merry Christmas.

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