Tonight was Hockey Fights Cancer night at the rink with a big part of the festivities devoted to kids battling or just coming off battles of various forms of Cancer. For the Record; fuck cancer and all its forms. If you have the means, please donate to the 14th Fund HERE. A portion of all donations to the 14th Fund go towards Cancer research and to help anyone, but especially kids, who are undergoing treatment for the disease.
The opening face off and ceremonial puck drop was given by the spunky 5 year old Ellie, who's uncle just so happens to be Alex Pietrangelo. The little girl did what all girls who are gifted a puck by a beautiful man do, she didn't want to drop it. Eventually with some coaxing she did and it was an adorable moment that got a little bit of life out of the sparse crowd at the Drink Scotch.
After the touching moment with Ellie and a few other kids joining the ice for the national anthem the game began, and it was all business for the St. Louis Blues. The opening 20 minutes were a strong Blues possession filled game. The boys in blue held on to the puck in the Colorado zone for most of the period. However, their strength on the puck did not translate over into additional shots on net. The first recorded shot for the blues, or anyone for that matter, wasn't recorded until just over 3 minutes had ticked off the clock. The first and second shots coming from one, Vladimir Tarasenko. St. Louis held the Avalanche to just two shots all period, occurring a full 14 minutes apart.
Tarasenko has found his groove with the St. Louis Blues. The addition to Jori Lehtera has been a big help to him on and off the ice. Lehtarasenko seems to make magic whenever and with who ever they are on the ice with. They just flow, and it gives me, and quite a few more fans out there, a giant Lady Boner. With 3 minutes and 31 seconds left in the period, Lehtera fed a pass to Tarasenko, off of the calf of defenseman, Ryan O'Reilly. Senko would one time the life out of the puck and teleport it to the back of the net. #SenkoHugs ensued as the Blues went up 1-0.
The Blues played such a strong first period that poor Brian Elliott could have taken a nap and sleep goaltended and they still would have went into the Second 20 minutes in a very good position. The second saw a more aggressive Colorado team. Coach Patrick Roy probably tossed around a few benches in the Visitors locker room after a listless first period from his team. If I were them I'd have come out for the second a lot stronger as well.
The two teams were played a lot of fast paced end to end hockey for the majority of the period. The Aves’ confidence on the puck grew as the minutes ticked away. At 8:03 the officials called Jori Lehtera for a "slash" on Brad Stuart. The official FSMW replay showed Lehtera reach for the puck with his stick and stuart’s stick nearly colliding with it, knocking the twig out of his hands. From then on a string of weird calls would follow. Elliott was tested throughout the period, making quite a few big saves. He looked in his element and he had an air of calmness. He stopped all 12 Colorado shots for the period but by the time the third period rolled around he seemed to pucker out as the team in front of him changed.
The Blues came out of the locker room for the third period looking a bit tired. They were not as strong on the puck and started to make little mistakes here and there. Early in the third the Petrangelo took the puck easily into the Colorado zone and threw it at the net. Somehow, Tarasenko’s stick would direct the puck perfectly into the back of the net. Hogwarts must really exist in Russia.
Unfortunately for St. Louis the string of good luck would not last passed Tarasenko’s tip in goal. A string of bad calls and bad decisions would allow for the Avalanche to tie up the game, eventually forcing overtime and a shootout. During the third period the Blue and Yellow would lose bruiser Ryan Reaves to a clear high hit to the head. Obviously he left the game with an upper body injury.
Without shootout specialist TJ Oshie, Alexander Steen would take the first crack at Semyon Varlamov. His shot went wide. Colorado’s first shooter, Gabriel Landeskog, attempted with a standard snapshot, Elliot was there to make the easy save. The only shooter to score was Blues forward, Joakim Lindstrom. As Petro predicted, Lindstrom scored going five hole on Varlamov. The rest of the gimmick was decided by the goaltenders. Elliott made all three saves to secure the win for the Blues.
A Few Things to Note:
- Before the game the Blues announced they would have a few roster pieces back in play for tonight's game. The major returnee was the Captain himself. It was great to see David Backes back in the lineup after suffering a concussion just days before. His return was a quiet one, he didn't make any flashy plays during the game, which is expected of Davey.
- Tonight was Elliott’s 100th game as a St. Louis Blue.
- Vladimir Tarasenko is now 10th overall in the NHL for goals scored, with 6. He moved in to 9th place overall for Shots taken with 45.