Jaroslav Halak looked like he was doing an impression of Hannu Toivonen tonight. Toivonen, you may have repressed, gave up nine goals to the Avalanche back in December of 2007. Just like that night, the Blues scored some goals, had some good chances go wrong and could have been in a real 1980's firewagon hockey game if a couple things had happened differently.
Halak for his part gave up a few goals that he'd surely like back, including the first one by John-Michael Liles that beat him short side and on most nights is probably stopped. Likewise, the puck that looked like to was deflected in off the palm of Brandon Yip's hand but officials decided hit some other part of his body was fluky at best, usually stopped most nights. Follw that immediately by David Jones beautiful top-shelf shot just seconds later, a shot that a confident Halak is probably faced up to at the top of his crease, not deep on the goal line and maybe you have a different outcome. The worst example was the last goal, a puck that was on the ice and headed directly at Halak's on-the-ice pad when he strangely lifted said pad, allowing the puck to sail right in.
Every goalie is going to have a rough patch and battle with his confidence and positioning. The best thing he can do is go back out there on Wednesday and hear nothing but his coaches saying over and over, "Top of the crease, top of the crease, top of the crease." He needs to play bigger and get that calm, confident demeanor back.
On the other side of the team, Brad Boyes scored a pretty one, but an unbelieveable/lucky/desperating save and a far side post kept him from a hat trick tonight. Don't think of the negatives, Boyes, build on the positive. The positive tonight was a great offensive game by Boyes who deserved better than he got. Oh, and by the way, when Andy McDonald gives you the puck in the slot and you're all loaded up with the defender shaded towards McDonald... shoot the puck.
My apologies to everyone who wanted me to burn the house down after this loss, and maybe I'm too positive when I watch these games, but the score didn't really reflect the play I saw for most of the game. For those of you just itching to start firing up your negative fanposts, here are my negatives for the game:
- The Blues got run around pretty well in the first period after the quick goal by Alex Steen. The Avalanche dictated the play for much of the time and the Blues spent too much time chasing the puck and not controlling the puck.
This team sure looks different with T.J. Oshie and David Perron. While I think Patrik Berglund is working at getting to be more of a presence, without Oshie and Perron the forward lines have too many Winchesters and Chris Porters and Nick Drazenovics and Vladimir Sobotkas and B.J. Crombeens. While I like the game that Crombeen and Sobotka bring, in this diminished lineup, they're getting way too many minutes.
- The Blues had a couple sequences where they let down and Colorado took advantage. The big first goal was great, but the Avs responded within five minutes to wash it out. Likewise, in the second period when Carlo Colaiacovo scored a beatuty off the rush to make it 3-2 with tons of time left, the Blues gave up not one, but two quick answer goals, effectively ending their night. I liked the Avs coach taking a timeout when his team was up but clearly reeling from the Blues pressure halfway through the second period. I think the Blues coaching staff would do well to burn their timeout whenever it looks like the team is set up for a let down or is running around the rink. Who cares if it's early in the first period?
Next up is a date in Detroit with a team that I heard might be kind of good again. Let's see which Blues team shows up for that one.