The first period started off with the typical banter of which Alexander would strike first. The game was heavily set up as the Battle of the Alexanders and much didn’t change during the game. The Blues came out looking tired and slightly jet legged from their late night flight to Washington. No one really adjusted into the early game start easy for the Blues. Maybe they should look into some better road alarm clocks, they were still asleep from their game day naps. The Washington Capitals Alex would strike first.
At 7:17 the Capitals took the lead 1-0 off of a Alex Ovechkin slap shot. Ovechkin would break out down the boards from the neutral zone and get behind Blues defenseman Ian Cole and Roman Polak. Coach Ken Hitchcock has been very complementary of the Polak/Cole defensive pair being great against opponents best, but Ovechkin clearly was able to break through with minimal effort. It wouldn't be long before he would do it all over again. At 12:36 Ovechkin would put the puck past Jaroslav Halak with a nice backhand off of a Karl Alzner rebound. With the second goal Ovechkin ended up tying Alexander Steen for the league goal leader with 17. Unfortunately the onslaught was not done there. With 4:19 left in the period Mikhail Grabovski would bank the puck past Halak after Jaro gave up a bad rebound. Needless to say the game was going pretty downhill from there. After the third goal Brian Elliott would take the helm in goal. He held the Caps to 3 goals for the rest of the period but the damage was done. The silver lining of the period was not much but the Blues did outshot the Capitals 10-9.
The second period would start with a bit of life from the St. Louis Blues. the team seemed to find their legs and apply a small ounce of pressure. They would go on the power play at 4:05 after Martin Erat got called for hooking Alexander Steen. While on the PP Vladimir Sobotka would take advantage of the… man advantage… and put the puck past Capitals' Goaltender Braden Holtby with a slick wrister from the slot.
Confidence would slightly return to the faces and performance of the Blues. Unfortunately it was short lived. As Sobe would be called for hooking Michael Latta and head to the box for a short spell, giving Washington the chance to take back their three goal lead. At 9:27 John Carlson would be set up by Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson and sneak a wrist shot passed Elliott, making the score 4-1. It was no question that John Kelly and Darren Pang were happy with the performance of the line combination of Sobe, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Jaden Schwartz. Hitchcock seemed to be on their side as well, putting them out on the ice any chance he got. They played strong and had some very good and close chances but the rest of the team just couldn't seem to follow.
The Caps would put further pressure on the Blues, taking advantage of every mistake set up by the blues. Elliott was there to make some very good saves against the elite of the Capitals team. Including a spectacular save late in the third period against Ovie. Causing Ovechkin to throw his hands in the air (Saying EHHH OHHH) in a premature Celebration. In the last minute of the period Steeny caused me to shit another brick by getting in small scrap with Nate Schmidt after being crossed checked several times in the back. Steen however would be on the receiving end of a cross checking minor resulting in a two minute penalty kill to end the second period.
During the intermission Bernie Federko would ask Prince William if there was any fatigue during the game and he would make the quote of the night saying "I can't make excuses." But the team would still start off the last 20 minutes of play with much of the same sloppy and tired type of play. The Capitals would sit back and let the boys in blue self destruct on their own. The Blues took shot after shot just waiting to poke in any rebound Holtby let up but he smothered, covered, and gobbled up anything that came his way. The blues would go down fighting but much like Mike Smith, they just couldn't crack through.
The game was frustrating to watch after last nights win. What the problem was I can't honestly say but there are several theories out there in the twitterverse that I have taken the liberty to put below for your discussion pleasure. For me, I feel like it just wasn’t the Blues night. There were mistakes and breakdowns for sure but the night was not on their side, from the start time to the game last night we didn't really have good chances going in. It's a disappointing start for the first of three away from home but it is something I do see them building off of in the next one.
Games Three Stars
Third: Alex Ovechkin
Second: Nicklas Backstrom
First: Braden Holtby
Still at 11 pts.
Bluenotes From Twitter
Hitch very complimentary of Polak-Cole pair Saturday, saying not afraid to put them against opponents best. But Ovi might be different story— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) November 17, 2013
Missing: St. Louis Blues from Saturday night. If found please contact Ken Hitchcock. #StlBlues— David Rogers (@FrozenNotes) November 18, 2013
Steen is really tired of your shit Schmidt. Why Steen is getting the only penalty is mind blowing.— St Bluenatic Chris (@Bluenatics) November 18, 2013
Very sloppy in their own end. Little things. Need to put the puck in better areas— Reed Low (@ReedLow34) November 18, 2013
#stlblues with their highest shot total of the season (47) but held under two goals for first time this season.— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) November 18, 2013
Tweet of the Night