As the mostly-full DrinkScotch Center celebrated yet another Blues goal this afternoon, all I could think was what a missed opportunity the players had. If this had been the performance on Saturday night, the bulding would have been ripping away at the seams. Not literally.
But we take what we can get. Even though the Blues fired on over 30 shots Saturday and held the opponent to just 15 when a guy wearing pads was in the net, they missed good chances and seemed to be just a little off and they played a great goalie. It happens. Today, however, lots of stuff went right. The Blues had over 30 shots again (35) while limiting the Flames to just 17 (only two in the third period). There were still missed opportunities and some passes that weren't up to the standard we expect at this point, but Henrik Karlsson isn't Pekka Rinne and the Blues found the net in convincing fashion.
I'd hate to disappoint you, so here are your postgame Blues Bulletpoints (TM):
- Jason Arnott clearly understands that a one year contract from the Blues means that his next contract will either be near the league minimum and his role will be as aged veteran or fourth liner or his next contract will be sizable and for more than one year and the implied role will be as a top-9 forward. If he plays his ass off, scores and provides the leadership the Blues are expecting, he'll land the latter type of contract. So far, so good.
- I really like the line of Patrik Berglund, T.J. Osjie and Chris Stewart. They got on the board again today and it's hard to envision a game this season where someone on that line doesn't get on the board at least once. Creative, hard on the puck, physical and always working. Stewart's goal today showed us all that just because he's playing the big power forward role doesn't mean he doesn't have speed and hands. He recognized that he could streak up the middle and split the out of position defense and he found that next gear. His backhand was reminiscent of the game-winner against the Blue Jackets last year. Sick ass goal.
- Getting goals and assists from the blueline seems to be one of the factors you can point to that differentiates the good teams in the league from the bad teams. For years the Blues have struggled to have a strong offensive presence from the back line. So far this year, it has been there. Kevin Shattenkirk had a goal and Alex Pietrangelo had a goal and an assist. Most of the other blueliners were active as well, though Nikita Nikitin still needs to figure out which plays work in the NHL and which ones are best left in the AHL.
- Jaroslav Halak looked much more comfortable in net than he did on Saturday, though I wasn't in the building when the first goal went in, so I cannot speak to that one. I promised in the GT paper today that I'm going to take the slow approach with Halak this year - not gonna get too high when he's great, not too low when he's bad. Jaro Halak and I, we're just gonna hang out on this plateau and be real chill. That said, my nerves were definitely calmed by him today. Of course it always helps when you're getting goal support from the skaters.
And in case you were wondering, yes, I probably will watch the Blues game again tonight rather than either the Cardinals or my Chicago Bears. Thank the hockey gods that the Blues are back.