Admit it. You were a bit nervous tonight with the St. Louis Blues taking on one of the best teams in the NHL right now, the Colorado Avalanche. I'll admit it. And the first period made me despair when the Avalanche set up camp in the Blues zone for the majority of the period. But then, during that first intermission, something magical happened. The Blues came out and dominated the second. The deluge started with the Blues scoring on a power play, and it was an avalanche of goals for the Blues after that. Then came the fighting. Then came more Blues' goals. Then came lazy, sloppy play on the part of St. Louis, but by that point, it was too late for Colorado. They were buried. And the Blues walked away with a 7-3 win against the first place team in the
Central Division Conference III, the Colorado Avalanche.
Avalanche came out strong against the Blues right from the start until Max Talbot tripped up Sobotka at 1:49 which led to this quick power play goal by Derek Roy. It would be the first of 4 assists for T. J. Oshie this evening.
Win faceoffs and score goals is what my grandma always said (or at least she would've if she actually ever watched hockey).
This was a lucky break for the Blues. But they were unable to build on this quick goal. The Avalanche dominated the Blues by maintaining possession in the Blues zone and keeping the Blues from breaking out of the neutral zone. When the Blues did finally manage to move the puck into the Avs side of the blue line, Morrow elbows Holden in the face while trying to protect the puck. This sets up the Avs first goal of the night.
The highlight of the first period for the Blues (if there was a highlight) was the play by the second line of Sobotka, Morrow, and Stewart. It is like they were reading our posts in Game Time today before the game and just wanted to prove @ArtLippo wrong or something. Sobotka had a couple of nice chances on net. And Morrow, well I am not quite sure what Morrow was doing. Maybe he was trying to get into Giguere's head or something but Morrow would just hold the puck and hold the puck and hold the puck and hold the puck. It was like the Matrix and time was frozen and it was just Morrow and Giguere staring down one another. Well whatever it was Morrow was doing, it didn't create any goals. But maybe he was just fucking with Giguere and the return payoff didn't happen until the 2nd. Anyways...the 2nd line in general seemed to have the most success getting the puck into the Avs zone and keeping it in the zone for any length of time during the first period.
For the briefest of moments at the very start of the second, it looked like it was going to be a replay of the first with the Avs keeping the Blues back on their heels. But when the Blues managed some sustained pressure in the Avs zone, they drew a penalty which set up this beauty of a goal by Captain America (aka David Backes).
Once again...win faceoffs, score goals. Blues are now up 2-1.
Then it starts. The Blues push back hard against the Avs. Colorado was scrambling in front of their net while the Blues were chasing down the pucks and forcing Colorado into 2 consecutive icings. Then after the Bernie interview with Hitch where Hitch says the guys are playing like shit on 5v5 (paraphrasing of course) Backes and Oshie win a battle in the corner along the Colorado boards kicking the puck back out to Steen who sinks his 15th goal of the year.
And with that goal, the Blues chase their 4th (or is it 5th) opposition goalie from the net this season and Patrick Roy sends in Varmarlov to man the nets for the remainder of the period. The Blues don't care who is in net. They are going to clean Colorado's clock tonight.
So of course what do you do when you are a visiting team and find yourself down 4-1 in the middle of the second? You start gooning it up of course. So that sends Max Talbot and Morrow to the penalty box for 2 minutes leaving 4 skaters aside. The Blues essentially treat the 4 on 4 as if it is their power play. Applying pressure to Colorado forces yet another Colorado penalty. This time Duchene gets caught hooking and the Blues go on a 4-3 power play. Some great cycling of the puck up top gives Shattenkirk an opening to unleash a blast on Varly. A rebound is given up and Chris Goddamn Stewart is there to take the puck on his backhand and slide it behind Varly for his 3rd goal of the season. Blues up 5-1 now.
Chris Stewart, pissed off at the piss poor attendance at tonight's game... SERIOUSLY ST. LOUIS PEOPLE Y U NO GO TO HOCKEY GAMES ...unleashes his frustration on Sarich and the two of them walk off to the dressing for the remainder of the period. Stewie receives an extra two minutes for trying to incite the crowd to riot. SERIOUSLY WHY WAS SCOTTRADE SO DAMN QUIET AFTER 5 GOALS AND A CHRIS STEWART FIGHT?
And then for whatever reason Duchene thought it would be a good idea to fight Vladimir Sobotka. Really? Seriously? Whatever dude.
Duchene is probably going to think twice before trying that again.
And then McGinn tries this
So how did that work out for you Jamie McGinn?
And even after all of that...the Avalanche still were not done embarrassing themselves. So McLeod decided to take on Ryan Reaves.
So 4 goals and 3 fights later, the 2nd period ended with the Blues up 5-1.
Colorado's coach Patrick Roy decides that perhaps having a
convicted accused felon between the pipes isn't such a good thing after all and puts Giguere back out on the ice for the third period. Within the first two minutes, Giguere rewards his coach's decision by bobbling a David Backes shot, then losing sight of the puck (it was at his feet), which Steen then scoops up and tucks away neatly in Giguere's five hole.
This makes Steen's 16th goal of the season and puts him back on top of the NHL goal scorer list. Suck it Alexander Ovechkin with your fancy tennis player girlfriend and your Gamecenter Live commercials.
So how do the Avs respond to Steen's glorious play? More gooning. At 3:55 into the 3rd Steen goes in for a backhand shot for the hat-trick and Max Talbot gives Steen a whack on the left hand. Steen immediately goes off the ice. He comes back later, but after the game he stays back in the locker room even though he is the 2nd star. I swear to all that mighty and holy that if Steen's hand is busted, Talbot you will become enemy number one.
Sloppy play leads to a breakaway by Duchene who beats Bouwmeester, Schwartz, and then finally Halak (stick side) to give the Avs their second goal of the game. And because Sobotka can't help but give us something to complain about ends up going to the penalty box after tripping Stastny.
Avs are unable to convert and the Blues just keep piling on with Bouwmeester scoring his first goal of the season (and his first in 23 games) on this drop pass from Tarasenko.
And now the moment you all were waiting for. The Blues started to drift into their "we are up by 5 goals so we are just going to coast now even though there is still a half a period of play left" malaise. They get sloppy. O'Reilly manages to slip one by Halak.
Too little too late however for the Avalanche. The Blues go on to win 7-3 and have their best start yet in this team's history with 12 wins in their first 17 games.
Third Star - Derek Roy 1 goal and 2 assists
Second Star - Alexander Steen 2 goals
First Star and Player of the Game - T. J. Oshie with F O U R assists
Some quick thoughts
Colorado is a team riding high on their PDO (puck luck) bubble. They were coming into this game with a PDO of 1039 -- 2nd highest in the league. It was only a matter of time before someone popped their bubble and it just happened to be the St. Louis Blues. As much as this was a "measuring stick" game for the Blues, it was also a measuring stick game for the Avs. Half of their games so far have been against Eastern Conference opponents, and we are beginning to see what a tire fire the Eastern Conference is turning out to be this season. So this was Colorado's first big chance against a Central Division rival. They failed. Bubble popped. But now let's see if the Blues can keep this momentum going into the rest of their schedule this week. They have back to back games this weekend with Carolina at home on Saturday and then flying out to DC to take on the Caps on Sunday (which I will be attending to faithfully cheer on the Blue Note).