WINNIPEG, CANADA - FEBRUARY 25: Patrik Berglund #21 and B.J. Crombeen #26 of the St. Louis Blues greet teammate David Perron #57 as he celebrates his game-winning shoot-out goal against the Winnipeg Jets in NHL action at the MTS Centre on February 25, 2012 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)
When the Blues were making a charge up the standings a lot of rival fans dismissed the team as being a product of an unsustainable home record. When the Blues hit the road, things would go south. This six game road trip was pointed to as a part of the schedule where the Blues would turn back into a pumpkin and be just another average team.
For the first time since 1991, the Blues have won four straight on a single road trip thanks to a 5-2 victory in Edmonton. With Wednesday's win, the Blues are guaranteed to come back home with a winning mark on the trip. After the game, the Blues are now 14-13-3 away from the home barn. Not great, but paired with the stellar home mark, well you have the best team in the Central Division, at least according to NHL rules.
Let's do the whole bullet thing, shall we?
- Andy McDonald is a difference maker. It's such a cliche to say getting an injured played back is like making a trade, but think about how much better this team is with McDonald on the ice? His first goal got things started in the right direction. His second was really nifty, too. He's just a guy who makes plays and makes whatever line he's on great.
- That fourth goal? I could watch that fourth goal on a loop and not get tired. Alex Pietrangelo is just so good and so smart and so patient. His pass was a thing of beauty. But what takes the goal to the next level? Kevin Shattenkirk showing the hockey IQ and offensive skill to get to the net and put that put past the red line. Just a pretty goal.
- Chris Stewart lives! I love when Stewart realizes he's a bad, bad man. He worked hard for the penalty shot and then converted in the narrowest of holes. Big play for him.
- Jaroslav Halak has been in the zone for a while now, but he's jumped up a level. He's playing some of his best hockey and making a few saves a night that he really has no business making. Brian Elliott will likely get the start tomorrow against Vancouver, but I don't see him getting many more in the 17 or so games left this year.
Roman Polak was boarded by Ryan Smyth on a not nice play. Since Polak is neither Roman or Polish or apparently human, he was unhurt and able to play in the third. Still the hit was dirty and I expect Brendan Shanahan to call up Captain Canada and let him know that hey, you can't do that. He probably won't get suspended since Polak doesn't appear hurt and you just know that he'll say he didn't mean to do it. I expect a fine at most, but what do I know. Don't answer that.
- That 5-minute power play? Let's pretend that never happened.
- Something that also sucked? The last half of that second period. The Blues HAVE to work hard or else shit falls apart. They fixed that pretty quick in the third. Against a better team? Things could've been worse.
- The Oilers are like the bizarro Blues. They have forward talent on line after line but have no back end. The play an uptempo fire-wagon type of hockey, but they have no defense. If you put the Oilers forwards with the Blues D and goaltending I think you'd win the Cup every year for the next 10 years.
- In good news, that three-goal thing happened again. The Blues are STILL unbeaten when scoring three this year. Incredible.
- Also good: When Scott Nichol scores. That little dude is just fun to watch.
I think this is how Gallagher would want to end this post. Come back tomorrow for Vancouver fun.