T.J. Oshie is actually closer to saving this David Backes shot than Chris Mason is.
Just 72 hours ago, the Blues were getting ready to play Boston at home. Obviously, that tough game is in the books, as is the tough game against the Nashville Predators and now a tough game against the Winnipeg Jets. No wonder, then, that the Blues got run all over that completely packed building all afternoon. Great news, boys: you get like 36 hours off before you have to play again.
In the end, the team did just enough to get into overtime, got unlucky on a couple bounces in extra time as well as caught a couple lucky bounces themselves and grabbed an extra point in the free-throw shooting contest. Yes, I still think shootouts are a dumb way to end a hockey contest, but I'll admit they're more fun when your team is winning them.
U2-style, let's bullet the blue sky:
- I took a little buddy of our family out with my kid for some hot wings and hockey this afternoon. He was pretty adamant that the Jets should actually be called The Pigs and the logo should be a pig with a trophy. Get it? Six-year-old humor.
- That same little guy was telling me about why T.J. Oshie is his favorite player. Of course, Oshie made it easy for the kid to make his case because every time we looked up No. 74 was doing something good on the ice. We've talked a lot about how he seems more mature and committed this year and today was a great example of that. He was flying, hitting, shooting, playmaking and disrupting everything. Kid Havoc.
- (Sorry Hildy) That Winnipeg fan base is impressive. Sure, the Jets are in first place in their division, but that's almost by default in the weakest division in hockey. I have a feeling, though, that even if they were in last in the worst division in hockey, those maniacs would still be going berserker like they were today. Plus (sorry again, Hildy), their jerseys and gear are right around one thousand times better than anything the Thrashers ever glued together.
- Um, holy crap, Blake Wheeler. No wonder they were chanting that guy's name, he was unreal today and just barely containable. It felt like he was destined to win that game for the Jets.
- I thought the Blues defense was uncharacteristically pushed around today. I'm assuming that was a fatigue issue, but rusty Kent Huskins made a couple boneheaded double-clutch moves today that could have been costly. The other five defenders weren't much better.
- As for that shot differential, 41 to 16 is pure domination, especially when you consider that the Jets weren't just firing on a lot of long, low percentage outside shots. Those all felt like quality chances. As for the Blues' low total, I think even the Jets knew that Chris Mason would fold faster than Superman on laundry day (thank you, Simpsons) if they allowed his former team to rock 30-plus shots on him. Kudos to them for keeping the Blues from meeting their usual high number of shots on.
- How Jaroslav Halak knew that shootout shot by Andrew Ladd (winner of the most unlikely two-time Stanley Cup winner ever award) was slowly rolling in and managed to kick it out from behind, I will never know. I'm just glad some weird goalie sixth sense told him to do it.
- Oshie lost the handle on his and Kevin Shattenkirk didn't get the loft that he wanted on his, but I thought all four shootout attempts were really good. That's a big change from the start of the year and obviously it's a difference maker at this point of the season.
Off to Cowtown to meet Cal and Gary, the next big event on the schedule is the trade deadline. I still think Doug Armstrong will do something, I just think he's impossible to predict. Let's hope that even if the Blues don't do anything, their divisional rivals do stupid things like overpay for big, oafy defensemen and overpaid, underachieving forwards.