I had a feeling in the first period that the Blues had already won the game Wednesday night in Montreal. It took a last-minute flurry by the Canadiens to send the game to overtime...where Andy McDonald buried a hard wrist shot over Carey Price's shoulder.
The turning point for the first 59 minutes of the game came when Price left the net to play the puck along the boards during the first period. Blues tough guy Cam Janssen was skating hard after the loose puck and absolutely leveled Price along the boards. Price hit the ice hard and was pissed off. While the Canadiens and Blues paired up across the ice, Price started tugging on Janssen prompting Ty Conklin to start skating toward the fracas. Unfortunately there was no goalie fight, but the reaction by the Canadiens showed they could be pushed around. Sure all the players paired up and Roman Hamrlik climbed on top of Janssen, but it was all show. There wasn't any real emotion or commitment behind it. See for yourself.
During the intermission interview, Janssen told Fox Sports Midwest that he was trying to avoid Price when the goaltender came all the way to the boards. Oops.
Much of the game was pretty uneventful with the Blues controlling the action with a 3-1 lead. And then the Blues played back on their heals, stopped being as aggressive and let the Canadiens score twice in the third to send the game to overtime.
In the extra five minutes, Conklin made probably his best save of the night on an open shot from the slot. The rebound came out hard to Roman Polak who started chugging up ice. After a small miscue, Paul Kariya, who scored his 10th road goal of the year while not scoring at home, fed the puck to McDonald at the Montreal blue line. He used a Canadian for a partial screen and scored the game winner.
A few thoughts:
- Saying it again: Get Cam Janssen in the lineup every night and leave him there. Good things happen. And he doesn't even have to fight to make an impact on the game as we saw tonight.
- Alex Steen scored again. It seems like he's putting a puck in the net almost every night right now. He obviously has a nose for the net.
- Good to see McDonald scoring. He's been colder than text messages between Tiger Woods and his wife.
- Kariya scored Monday in Columbus giving him goals in back-to-back games for the first time in his Blues career. Ah, $18 million well spent.
- Conklin got his first action after Chris Mason played seven straight games. He played well and made a number of difficult saves. Being able to shake off the rust of not playing for several games in a row is exactly what you need in a backup goaltender and why the Blues signed him this summer instead of trying to plug someone young or unproven in that roster spot.
Blues are right back at it Thursday night in Ottawa. We had more than 1,000 comments tonight in an entertaining game day thread, one of the best in the hockey blogosphere. You people who hang out during games make us proud. Rest up and let's do it again Thursday. Or keep drinking through the night. Your call.