The St. Louis Blues came roaring out of the gate tonight. Ian Cole, well rested from his time spent in the press box, put all that pent up energy to good use when he picked up a faceoff win in the Nashville Predators zone and lit a rocket past Pekka Rinne.
The Blues scored first tonight! Not only that, but they managed to keep the pressure on the Predators after that initial goal. Not even Jackman coughing up the puck in the neutral zone was enough for the Predators to score (in his defense he did hustle back to help break up the play).
But the lead was short lived. The Predators got the puck deep in the Blues' zone, won the battle in the corner, kicked the puck out to Spaling who was all alone in front of Miller. Tic-tac-toe. The Predators tie the game at one.
After that goal it was Nashville's turn to take the attack to the Blues. They ran up the corsi while the Blues scrambled for control of the puck. Miller stood tall. When it was all said and done, the Blues went 9 minutes
in the last half of the period without taking a single shot on Rinne. But the period wasn't over yet. Ian Cole managed to do something with his stick that sort of looked like what you would think could be hooking and had to sit in shame for 2 minutes and think about exactly what it was that he did that got him into trouble in the first place. I hope he figured it out, because I wasn't able to.
Nashville, who incidentally has the 6th best power play, started the 2nd period with the man-advantage as Cole resumed his study session in his cubicle. Predators thought they had some chances during that power play, but
the best chance on goal game from a Petro-Oshie short-handed breakaway.
Once the penalty was successfully dead and buried, the Predators managed to keep the Blues on their heels. Lots of action in front of Miller, but no puck in the net.
The Predators' Del Zotto tripped up Ryan Reaves and that resulted in the Blues going on the power play. Power play
schmower play. The Blues do nothing. No goal. Nothing.
Back to regular strength. All the sudden, out of nowhere, Magnus Paajarvi (remember him?) takes the puck and bulldozes his way across the blue line, through a Predator, barrels through the right circle and unleashes a wrister that drills its way through Rinne's defenses. Blues now up 2-1 in the second period.
Ian Cole tallied an assist on the play which earned him the "Perron Hat Trick."
Ian Cole now has a goal, an assist, and a dumb-ass penalty - also known as a "David Perron Hat Trick."— Jason McAdams (@JMill1120) March 7, 2014
For those of you keeping track at home., up to this point it was the Blues 4th and then 3rd lines that have scored goals. In all the excitement of actually having the lead for once, the Blues forget to count, and off goes Reaves to serve the Blues' too many men penalty. The 6th best power play fails to convert, but Steen did have a nice short-handed breakaway attempt. Nonetheless, our heroes remain in the lead 2-1 after finishing killing that penalty.
Energized from their successful penalty kill, it was the Blues' turn to go on attack. Steen had a break away, split the defenders and drew the penalty shot. However, Oshie must be stingy with his penalty shot mojo because Steen basically skated the puck right into the glove of Rinne.
The Preds and Blues exchanged extended periods of possession in each other's zones. Now
it was the Blues' turn again and they made the most of it. They won the battles along the boards. Smart passes
out of the corners onto the sticks of waiting teammates in front of the net. They twisted Rinne into a pretzel with attempts by Oshie and then Steen, but Rinne had the fire in the belly and managed to find a way to contort his body and keep pucks from crossing the line. Thus endeth the second period.
Third period was the Blues' from the start. Jackman rang the post on a pass from Tarasenko. Roy got in on the action as well with a shot on net that came up short. About halfway through the third, Schwartz and Tarasenko had a nice breakaway but nothin' doin'. At one point, Rinne came out to play the puck and Backes, who was also attempting to play the aforementioned puck, had a small collision with Rinne sending Backes spinning into the boards and sending Fisher into a fury. Fisher got up in Backes' face in an effort to protect his valiant goalie. This gallantry earned him 4 minutes in the penalty box, while Backes earned 2 minutes due to his basic human instinct of self-preservation and self-defense. Oshie, not wanting his captain to be all alone, apparently committed a high-sticking infraction. This turned the Blues' power play into a 4 on 4 situation.
It took half a period and a 4 on 4 but, by gum, the Predators managed to get their second shot of the period on goal. Miller scoffed at their feeble attempt and the score remained 2-1. Predators take full advantage of their 6 second power play (the Oshie call) and continue to press the advantage after that, but not even pulling their goalie was enough. Miller stopped all the pucks and the Blues come away from Nashville victorious and in possession of the Conference III belt.