Before we get to the "Up With Positivity!" phase of this wrap-up, we've got to start with just one point: Show us all the video you want, make all the arguments about decisive-to-overturn you want, but we all know Jovanovski punched that puck into the net. Good for him that puck wasn't Matt fucking Walker and able to punch back. (Thanks Fried Chicken.)
Beyond that, we can probably all agree that the first period was a bit of an "aw shit" 20 minutes that looked a little too similar to about 113 of the last 120 minutes of Blues hockey. The team looked sloppy and hesitant and slow and sloppy. And also sloppy.
But, the moments were there. Even John Kelly correctly noted that the second period Blues were playing much like they had during the stretch run last year. Tenacious on the puck. Clogging the crease. Paying the price defensively. Shooting the puck on net. Call us crazy, but we think it's going to be a couple more games before we see that same effort for 60 minutes in one game again (yes, I still personally blame Sweden), but thankfully the signs were there.
The third period was a little too loosey-goosey for our tastes, and if we were the coach we might have burned a timeout in there somewhere, but what the hell? Overall, we saw a much better effort than either of the home games we've seen. Besides, we might as well focus on the positive before the next game, Saturday in Anaheim. That one is going to be tough because Anahaim is looking (to us, at least) like the class of the Western Conference at this point. So here you go, some reasons to be positive on a losing night:
- Erik Johnson is becoming all that is man. A bit hot-and-cold in his first four post-knee reconstruction games, Johnson was the best guy in the Note tonight. He carried the puck confidently, made some incredibly accurate breakout passes, was solid defensively, jumped into the play offensively and busted his ass to get back and take away chances going the other way. Call us crazy, but this may have been his best all-around game as a pro.
- David Backes and his slow start be damned. Chuck Norris's worst nightmare had his first David Backes game of the year. Plus, he scored a goal from farther out than he has in his NHL career. We don't expect many more from him from that far out, but we're really glad that the kid knows that the best way to get out of a scoring slump is to just shoot the goddamn puck.
- The Kid Line, while kept off the scoresheet and seemingly broken up again late in the game, did generate chances and did play hard on the puck. T.J. Oshie and David Perron both got going physically as well.
- Chris Mason seems to be working on his beard already. This can't possibly be a bad thing. Plus, his play demands it. The team is having some problems, but goaltending isn't the real concern.
- GT got on TV several times tonight thanks to the Jon Hamm commercial and our guy BradO down in Dallas who made the "Oshie 4 Prez" sign and stuck one of our stickers on it. We know it's a small thing, but we have to admit we laugh every time it comes on. Ridiculous doesn't even begin to cover it.
- At least we can put some fans in our building these days. Poor Coyotes fans and that team. When the Blues were playing in front of 5,000 people a night, we at least had the promise that it would all get better at some point and the fans would come back because we knew that it was a virtual certainty that the team couldn't leave town. It's a damn shame if those people lose that team
Surely there must be more positive to take out of this loss; feel free to let us all know in the comments.