Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Out of all of the games for the Blues to break their losing streak on, they could not have picked a more satisfying one. Jake Allen wins his NHL debut and the Blues defense comes back to life.
Normally when the Blues are on national television, I cringe. You see, it just doesn't seem to me that they have the best record when on NBC or NBCSN. Couple that with a five game losing streak, as well as a game against the Detroit Red Wings, and I think I can be forgiven for not being optimistic.
Heck, poor Jake Allen was hung out to dry in the first period, and the Wings hopped up to an easy 2-0 lead. Raise your hand if the phrase "here we go again" didn't cross your mind. Yuuup. Thought so. Alex Pietrangelo's turnover on Tomas Tatar's opening goal was atrocious, so honestly, if you thought this game was more of the same, it's fine. Then, with just under four minutes left in the first period, Patrik Berglund decided to put a stop to the Blues' flailing about. With Barret Jackman sitting in the box for a cross-check, Berglund deposited a skilled pass from T.J. Oshie into the net to cut the Wings' lead in half.
Was that it for the momentum? After all, the Blues have been teases with that in their last few games. Something had to happen to keep it going. Something that hasn't happened all month. How about a Vladimir Tarasenko powerplay goal? Why not. Tarasenko tied it 2-2 seven minutes and twelve seconds into the second period, and then about a minute and 45 seconds later, Chris Stewart got a breakaway chance on Jimmy Howard and buried it.
Of course, Allen had to go through every goalie's rite of passage, getting undressed by Pavel Datsyuk. It happens. Allen can't feel bad, though -- he still wound up with the win. Of course, stopping 15 of 18 shots isn't amazing, but who cares when the team walks away with two points?
Alex Steen scored the overtime winner, but the real story of the game was the 180 that the defense did. They limited Detroit to just five shots in the second period, ONE in the third, and one in overtime. That's the kind of play that you need to have if you're going to win, and that's how they had been playing to start the season. Limit scoring chances, give your goalie confidence, and you'll win.
Allen will be back in goal Friday night against the Calgary Flames. He needs to be rewarded for the win, and Elliott needs some more rest -- both mentally and physically. Tonight's game was like the Blues of yore, from waaaay back in January. If Allen can keep sharp and the Blues can limit shots, the Flames should be a win.
Can the Blues revert back to their usual selves? One game does not a turnaround make, but it's a damn good start. It's nice to be able to write a recap where I'm not succinct and grumpy. I'm pretty sure the Blues are enjoying being in a locker room that's not dead silent and pissed off.
Here, chat about the win. Get excited. And hopefully, get used to it again.