Well, folks, I apologize for the loose state of affairs, but I wasn't expecting to write any recaps. That's not really my bag, but here goes:
The Blues opened with a quiet but solid start. The Blues took three penalties this period. One of those was a "Too many men" penalty, which happened in the season opener and plagued the team last year also. Hopefully there's a "One Practice" that will fix line changes, too. Finally, the scoring opened on the power play, with Brenden Morrow putting away a rebound of a Derek Roy shot, also assisted by Chris Stewart. The period ended with the Blues up 1-0, and leading in shots 14-6.
The 2nd started off looking like more of the first. Shortly after killing off a Barret Jackman penalty, the Blues pot another goal. Great line play, including a diving feed by Jaden Schwartz set up Vladimir Tarasenko's shot that put the Blues up 2-0. After this goal, I believe the technical term is "the wheels fell off". Not content to just get assists, Jaden Schwartz took a Vladimir Sobotka pass and put it past Tim Thomas for the third goal of the game. Barely a minute later, Derek Roy scores his first of the year, assisted by Stewart and Morrow. Finally, with less than a minute left in the period, Erik Gudbranson hooked Alexander Steen on a breakaway, calling for a penalty shot. Steen scores on a nifty backhand, and the Blues finish the second scoring 4 goals in under 7 minutes and leading 5-0. Once again, the shots were 14-6 in favor of the Blues. Halak was seen building a snowman behind his net during his down time of this period.
The third started with Florida youngster Jacob Markstrom in net for the Panthers. This marks the second time in as many games that the Blues have chased the starter out of the net. And those aren't shlubs, either - we're talking Vezina finalist Pekka Rinne and Vezina / Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas. With a new goalie, apparently came a new attitude for the Cats.The change in goaltending didn't change much, as Ryan Reaves scored a nifty wrister to put the score at 6-0. Whaaaaaaaaatt?? Yes, that Ryan Reaves. Not to be left out, the the Techno-Viking himself, Patrik Berglund, scored on a simple tap-in that is probably the easiest he'll have in his career. The Party Startah finished the scoring, setting up the final score of 7-0. Despite being behind, the Panthers only managed 7 shots that period, although that was better than the 6 by the Blues.
Up to this point, the game had 8 penalties called, all minors and one penalty shot. As the Panthers tried to stem the bleeding in net, they tried to make the Blues bleed a little. Every contact with a Panther seemed to evolve into a scrum. At the 10:41 mark, there were 6 penalties handed out, totaling 36 minutes, including 10-minute misconducts to Chris Stewart and Ryan Reaves. Another eruption at the 16:28 mark included a Jaden Schwartz fight with Kris Versteeg. For Schwartz, this completed his first career Gordie Howe hat trick, which complements his first career 3-point game. Another battle at the 18:05 mark included 24 minutes in penalties and sent David Backes to the showers early with a game misconduct. All in all, Florida had 47 minutes in penalties, and St Louis finished with 53.
For Brenden Morrow, his goal was the 250th of his career, and became the game-winner. A bigger milestone, though, was that Jaroslav Halak's shutout was his 17th as a Blue, setting a new team record. This surpasses the 16 that the legendary Glenn Hall had for the Blues. The Blues have killed off every penalty they've faced so far this year, 11 so far. Broadcaster John Kelly said that this was the most complete game the Blues have played in a long time, and that's borne out in the game stats. The Blues out-scored, out-shot, out-hit, out-blocked, and won 58% of the faceoffs. One point of concern is that, aside for the penalty shot, the nominal top line was held off the score sheet. On the other hand, this could also be seen as the benefit of the scoring-by-committee approach. Only 8 of the Blues left the ice without at least 1 point.
Sure it's early in the season, and yes ... it was the Panthers, but I don't give a
hoot fuck... Enjoy the moment.
DJ Khaled "All I Do Is Win" feat. Ludacris, Rick Ross, T-Pain & Snoop Dogg / Victory In Stores Now (via KOCHRECORDS)
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