Apparently, with so many Minnesota natives playing at "home" today, the Blues must have thought they were at the DrinkScotch for this game. Playing an all too familiar style of play, the Note looked just like they have in far too many home games this year. All the little Game Time elves are working on Sunday's paper for the visiting Sabres, so I'll be brief and let you all fill in the gaps I leave:
- I'm not advocating Ty Conklin as starter, because he's basically a good career back-up goalie, but Chris Mason looks like a good career back-up goalie way too much for a starting netminder. He makes some incredible saves every game, but he's a lock to give up at least one soft goal a game. Today the first goal by Guillaume Latendresse was softer than a meth addict's teeth and the goal scored by Kim Johnsson, while a nice shot, made Mason look flat-out silly. Honestly, we shouldn't expect better than back-up level goaltending until the team brings in a true starter to mind the nets.
- As good as Erik Johnson looked at the start of the season, and as badly as I want to gloss over it, his play of late has been skittish and unpredictable. He carries the puck too long and doesn't seem to know where he's going with it and in the defensive zone he's made too many risky plays that become turnovers or near turnovers. Until he gets that confidence and swagger back, he needs to go back to basics and make safer plays.
- How badly does Brad Boyes want a do-over on that re-direction shot off of Andy McDonald's sweet pass in the first period? On the backside with a wide-open net, he put the puck right into Niklas Backstrom for an easy save. Call that one missed opportunity.
- The Blues worked hard to come back a couple times, but just like recent play at home, just could not keep the Wild from answering every time. Against a team like these guys, in their building, you have to make three goals stand up. call that a couple more missed opportunities.
- I'm still hesitant to say it in fear of jinxing him, but Patrik Berglund was positively TechnoViking again tonight. Keep him on a line with David Perron and keep feeding him icetime, because he's getting more confident and looking good again.
- Speaking of Perron, the kid has the desire for the puck and absolutely sick hockey skills. The last thing he needs is experience, which he's getting in his third year in the NHL. He's going to be a great player sooner rather than later.
- Andy McDonald is a guy who I used to always describe in the Game Night Revue as a 'waterbug'. He seems to just skip and flit around on the ice and his ability to change direction is nearly unnatural. His goal tonight was beautiful, but his 10 goals and 21 points in 35 games is pretty low for what we expect. Call me optimistic, but I just feel like he's got one of those crazy scoring streaks about to break loose.
- The Blues are flying home tonight and playing tomorrow at five. I know it's cliche at this point, but couldn't they just bus them to a hotel when they get in at 2 a.m. and make them think they're on the road? It couldn't possibly hurt, right?
Sabres at five tomorrow, so we hope to see you here. You weren't going to watch the Rams anyway, were you? Let's go out on a positive note, as Andy McDonald runs a cone drill on the Minnesota Wild: