Let's hope this isn't a metaphor for yet another Blues season, but the team started out slow, sluggish and boring before turning it on late to come up with just enough points to win.
If Every Game Counts this year, as they keep telling us it does, someone needs to inform the
kids not kids anymore that every period counts too. All that said, the Blues did shake off whatever was slowing them down in the first and played a much stronger second and third period tonight, outshooting Dallas 12-1 in the second and outscoring them three to one in the third before B.J. Crombeen beat Andrew Raycroft with a pretty stoppable wrist shot from the top of the circle.
Scouting report for the rest of the NHL: Andrew Raycroft is not good.
Some other random notes to talk about as if the pre-season matters:
- T.J. Oshie's goal was one that you'd like to say is a "typical T.J. Oshie" goal, but that sort of diminsihes just how silly it was. His hands are silly, his one-on-one skating is silly, his finish is silly. He undressed Raycroft and then, in close and on a near-impossible angle, he put it in the top left corner of the net. Not a lot of NHLers can make that play. I've been one to say that the pressure is on Oshie to step it up this year and prove he's a top-line scorer and that he can be a serious offensive contributor to this team. If the pre-season is an indicator, then he could be in store for a serious break-out year.
- Roman Polak and Jeff Woywitka had quite a fight tonight and Polak looked like he was trying to punch dude's head right off his neck. I totally get the "you're not on my team anymore, so on the ice we can't be friends anymore" mentality, but it sure seemed like there might be some backstory to that brawl.
- Jaroslav Halak allowed three goals, but all three were shorthanded. If the penalty kill can get better, Halak looks to be one of those guys who gives your team a chance to win every night. He seems so calm, even on weird, bouncing shots and on quick bang-bang plays in front of his net. He stoned a couple Stars on plays just like that tonight. My optimism is growing.
- Speaking of the penalty kill, one of the goals they gave up was in a five-on-three situation, which will happen. One the last Stars goal, the PK unit was running around the ice completely out of control. Both David Perron and Oshie wereroaming way too far out and when the goal was scored, Perron, Oshie and Barret Jackman were all out of position. In fact, Oshie and Jackman had collided out at the top of the left circle and were both down on the ice. That is an easily fixed problem and I'm sure the video guys are going to have a field day with that one tomorrow.
- Alex Pietrangelo looked good to me. The common storyline we all want to believe is that many scouts and hockey guys thought that Pietrangelo had the potential to become the best defenseman of his draft class, though he was more raw than guys like Drew Doughty and Zach Bogosian. I can see that, but I can't see why he wouldn't make the NHL roster this year. He fit in just fine and while he has yet to do much that qualifies as spectacular, he's got plenty of time to grow into that. For now, I'll take the steady, calm, nice breakout passing defenseman I watched tonight.
Last pre-season game is tomorrow in Chicago and more fake points will be up for grabs. Honestly, that game couldn't mean any less than it does, but I'd still like to see Chicago be bad in it.
EDIT: Here are your game highlights. They're a little choppy, but show the goals, David Backes thumping Jamie Benn, Halak turning away a beauty on the doorstep and Pietrangelo breaking up a breakaway without taking a penalty.