This was not a pretty game.
Just remember, it could have been worse.
For roughly the first 55 minutes of this game in Chicago, the St. Louis Blues were outplayed, out-skated and out-worked. At one point they were down 3-1 in the third period and didn't seem to be in a position to make a comeback. And then one of Doug Armstrong's summer geezer signings lauded for his leadership and Stanley Cup experience came through.
Center Jason Arnott got the puck on the right post, made one shot, got stopped, whacked at the puck again and put it home for a nearly nonchalant goal making it 3-2. Then a laser shot from the point that was deflected by just a few degrees by magician with his stick David Perron tied the game late in the third.
That set up an entertaining overtime where both teams were dangerous but didn't score and a shootout where both teams were dangerous and didn't score in the first four rounds before Dave Bolland scored the lone shootout tally.
The charity point gives the Blues 106 on the season with four games to play. Detroit, in second place in the Central Division has five games left and 97 points. So all the Blues need to capture just their eighth division title in their history is t
wo points or a Detroit regulation loss. ACTUALLY, Nasvhille is still alive with a win. So they need a Detroit loss and one point. That's it. Or just a win. Oh by the way, the Blues have Columbus on Saturday night in St. Louis in a building where they've already won 30 games this season. I'd feel pretty confident about that one, you guys.
I have a few bullets. I do not shoot blanks.
- The Hawks definitely played physical tonight. Kent Huskins, Ryan Reaves and T.J. Oshie on multiple occasions felt the sting of big Hawks hits. To listen to those tattooed head shavers at Second City Hockey (it's better if you don't), the Blues get off on hitting and don't even worry about the puck. Or scoring. Or chewing with their mouths closed. Maybe the Hawks realized a physical game can impose a team's will over the opposition. Whatever the case, a playoff series with these pricks would be rough and tumble the entire way.
- I'm going to go out on a small, sturdy limb and say Ken Hitchcock made the right decision in starting Jaroslav Halak. This shootout loss had nothing to do with goaltending. Near the end of the game, Fox Sports Midwest ran a graphic saying scoring chances were 12-4 Chicago. That's not goaltending.
- If Jamal Mayers had hit guys like he did Reaves tonight, he may never have left St. Louis. Actually, that's a lie. He couldn't hit the broadside of Nebraska with his crooked shot.
- I know they call it the Madhouse on Madison. That's manufactured. It can't come close to the old Chicago Stadium. That place was truly a madhouse.
- It was nice to see Alexander Steen, Oshie and David Backes back together as a line combination. Hopefully Hitchcock will stick with it for more than a period.
- Kris Russell might be the most underrated player on this team. He's such a smooth skater. And his shot from the point created the Perron goal.
- Marian Hossa, you are soft like wet toilet paper.
- Did you know some Hawks fans call the Blues Scum Jr.? See, the Scum are what they call the Red Wings. I don't care what they call our team. I just hope the Blues were adopted.
- It's hard to feel bad after this game when the Blues were on the bring of not getting any points and are still leading the division, the conference and the league in points. But hey, at least the rivalry is back. Am I right?
That's it. The Blues salvaged a point even when they might not have deserved one. They found a way to compete. They never gave up. They surprised us by making something out of nothing. In other words, they did tonight what they've done all goddamn season. And that's why we love this team.
Your thoughts, bullets and put downs of criminals from Chicago in the comments. We'll have more cool shit tomorrow and hopefully a victory lap or three Saturday night.