You just know that the Red Wings expected to hand win No. 400 to Chris Osgood tonight. Go into St. Louis, beat the Blues easily, let Osgood celebrate his milestone on the home ice of a team that cast him off, whose fans never took to him, a franchise that would sooner forget he was ever here.
Thankfully, Patrik Berglund played like some sort of TechnoViking again, Erik Johnson unleashed a frickin' laser from the point like we all know he can and Matt D'Agostini remembered how to score with a pretty little dipsy-doodle in close on Osgrip. D'Ago's eighth goal of the season puts him just four goals away from his previous career high.
Oh, and Jaroslav Halak stopped 36 of 38 shots, many of them great chances, to ice the Wings and send them back to HockeySlum with a loss. His 13th win of the year, was dominant and continued to prove that he will be a legitimate starter for the Blues for a long time to come.
I wrote for our game day paper today that it was time for the Blues to stop worrying so much about the Red Wings and just treat these games like any other game. They're putting too much pressure on themselves to not make mistakes and they end up gripping the sticks to much and being to hesitant in all three zones. For the first two periods, I thought they did that pretty well. Looked like it was working too, because all four of their goals came from a confident and comfortable looking team. But when the Red Wings scored their third goal to pull within one, all that seemed to go out the window. They looked like they were running scared for big chunks of the third period and somehow they got away with it.
The one thing I realized about my words during that third period was that it was easier said than done and it definitely wouldn't transfer over to the crowd. You could feel the nervousness of the home fans as time rolled down and the Blues were hanging on by the tips of their fingers. Some guy near me was yelling out the minutes as the clock ticked down.
"Only six minutes to go!"
"Five minutes left!"
That guy was killing me. But it was a feeling that permeated the crowd. You don't see the whole rink get up on their feet for the last two minutes of a one-goal game most nights, but there was no stopping it tonight. I don't know if the Blues would tell you they felt relaxed out there, but the fans certainly were not. We wanted that win.
Two hit posts on the empty net and a couple mis-handled pucks by the Wings latere and we got it. Big win for the Blues, big win for the fans. Next up is another must-win against Nashville on Sunday, followed by Chicago on Tuesday, which will feel like another gotta-have-it game.
Have a good night, Blues fans. I'll leave you with this beauty: