How frustrating. I'm not complaining about the win, not at all. What I'm befuddled by is the fact that this game was absolutely the antithesis of last night's 3-0 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Tonight's game is what the Blues are capable of when they're all firing on all cylinders. I'm very much aware that they're not going to be firing on everything every game, but this Jeckyll and Hyde routine is tiring.
Something that was present tonight, and has been present more often than most would like to see, is the Blues taking just one shift off. Hockey's fast paced and taking a shift off can be the difference between two and zero points. Tonight that was illiustrated in pointed fashion by the Edmonton Oilers' offense. Goal one came from Taylor Hall:
Hall was in the right place at the right time, but that was because Jaden Schwartz left his man to go to the front of the net for rebound control, leaving Hall wide open. Forgivable decision, but one that cost the Blues. More egregious was the second Edmonton goal of the night, scored by Ryan Whitney 23 seconds later. Whitney is not exactly fleet of foot.
Who did Whitney blow past? David Perron, who is about 10 times faster and younger than Whitney is. Luckily that was it for the Edmonton scoring on the night, since the Blues made the decision to not only play defense, but also offense. Heck, why not have Jaden Schwartz get one back?
Well, he does:
Schwartz was outstanding offensively tonight. He was everywhere on the ice, and aside from his goal he also notched an assist on David Backes' third period goal. He finished the night with six shots on goal, and his linemate for the evening, Backes, finished with five.
Schwartz's goal could be seen as the catalyst for the Blues comeback, but I like to think that Jaroslav Halak's poke check was the cause. Scottrade absolutely exploded after this play, and you can't help but understand why:
No words for that. No words were necessary for the Blues, as Kevin Shattenkirk added an exclamation point with his power play goal to tie it. Vladimir Sobotka and David Backes added goals in the third period to secure the Blues a win, with Backes' goal being particularly pretty.
I cannot say enough good things about the top line tonight. Schwartz looked like he belonged, probably because his style of play matched so well with Backes' and Oshie's. I'll have a little bit more on that situation tomorrow at some point.
Overall, a solid win for the Blues, and one that showed what they are more than capable of doing. Now if they can both find consistency and learn how to count (two too many men penalties in one game? Come on - pay attention), then their extended road trip coming up might secure their position in the top eight.
The next game is Sunday at 2:00 against the Dallas Stars. I wouldn't be shocked to see the same line-up in that game as well, except with Elliott in instead of Halak. If the defense tightens up, Ells could be ok -- the Blues only allowed 17 shots on net tonight, and not all of them were quality.