First things first: They got the two points, which is important.
The trend of not being able to finish off the end of a game is becoming a problem. The Kings score tonight with 34 seconds left to force OT. The Red Wings score with 57 seconds left to force OT and end up getting the win. The Stars score with 26 seconds left on Nov. 25 to force OT. It's a trend now and it's got to be addressed.
Much like the extra gear players have to access come the playoffs, the Blues need to have an extra gear to go to when teams pull their goalie and put 6-on-5 pressure on the Blues net. This year the Note have shown an inability to exercise that extra "want" when the other team is desperate. They need to find a way to be on the puck and to clear the puck.
Coaches will call it stepping on the necks of their opponents. It's a killer instinct that teams have to have to exert their will on their enemies. It's an inexact science and I'd have to say it's one of those "I know it when I see it" qualities. The Blues need to identify their closers and have them on the ice in these situations.
But enough of that for now. The Blues did what they had to and got the two points, making it four for Cali and pulling themselves within striking distance of Detroit (currently up one point) and Columbus (up two points, game in hand) and continuing to distance themselves from the Western Basement (three points from ninth-place Vancouver).
Next up is the surprisingly good Avalanche, who have been falling back a bit lately (3-4-3 in their last 10 before tonight's game) and can be beaten.
Some other notes from today:
- Brad Boyes scored twice today with imperfect shots; the one in the second period was a whiff that eluded the goalie and the shootout goal hit Quick and still bounced over his shoulder and got in. If the hockey gods have any compassion at all, Boyes will take this as a lesson and realize that his shots don't have to be perfect roof shots to get in the net. Hit the target, NAMBLA, hit the target and good things will happen.
- T.J. Oshie is getting his motor running again and it's good to see. Add to that Patrik Berglund's confident play and the excellent play of David Perron again and I know that I for one am starting to calm down the slowly building panic I was starting to feel about the young forwards.
- Speaking of the youngsters, Roman Polak and Erik Johnson both looked solid again, boosting confidence in the future, while Darryl Sydor looked a step slower than normal and Barret Jackman looked like he forgot how dominant and angry he was agaiant San Jose Thursday. Young guys, show the old guys. Seriously, let's get this squared away.
- Chris Mason has one and is playing great. Ty Conklin has started to grow one and has been great. It's officially time to Fear The Beard. My recommendation is to make it team policy to start growing them. Besides, you know Oshie's and Perron's would be high hilarity.
- No idea why Paul Kariya can't score at home, but he clearly still has the ability. That power play slapshot was freaking Viagra. One of the broadcasters made the assertion that Kariya has been the team's best forward for the last couple weeks. Slow down, fella. He hasn't been the best, but I will say that he has shown a willingness to take a hit that was absent earlier in the year and I think it has helped his all-around game.
- Oh, and finally, I don't know what it is about Tim Peel and his ability to make bad calls against the Blues, but the wave-off of the first goal because of goaltender interferance was complete cockfuckery. As Dominik pointed out in the GDT comments, it's frustrating when referees make calls based on the last split-second of a play. Tkachuk was around the goaltender interference, but it was caused by the Kings defenseman in the crease.
Next game is Monday night, but feel free to stop by anytime, we're always here for you.
And for those of you wondering what I mean by visual Viagra, here's Exhibit A: