You could tell the Blues were not having a good game when the shot-on-goal total was 30 to 16 in favor of the Predators going into the third period. Despite that, The Note had every chance to steal one from the Preds at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night. They just couldn't, and a short-handed goal by Shea Weber--his second marker of the game--proved the difference in a 3-2 loss.
It was a relatively uneventful first period until Shea Weber posted his first of the game at 18:05, like this:
Then the second period, and a glimmer of life from the Blues. Chris Butler gets his second goal in as many days. CHRIS GODDAMN BUTLER:
Then, the boners came out. I seriously wanted to have hot sex with this give-and-go between T.J. Oshie and David Backes, ending with an easy Oshie goal with Pekka Rinne way out of position:
Holy mother of fuck, man. That was beautiful.
And at that point it looked like our heroes might try to take over the game. But the Predators weren't having any of it. They poured on the pressure shortly after, then Gabriel Bourque tied it (this, of course, came right after a disallowed goal that probably should have counted):
So while the Blues were being BADLY outplayed in this one, they still had a chance. An early third period penalty kill loomed large, and then the Preds (specifically, rookie wunderkind Filip Forsberg) took an incredibly dumb offensive zone penalty. But the Blues couldn't capitalize, and in fact, this went the other way around. Shea Weber finishes a 2-on-1 deftly off a nice feed from his defensive partner, Roman Josi:
At that point, too, shots on goal were 42-17 in favor of the Preds, and the game sure as shit played that way.
The Blues had a few chances late, but Rinne and the Preds defense was up to the task and closed the deal, taking the 3-2 win.
Hand me the .22 . . . I got bullets:
- Brian Elliott was THE prime reason this game was as close as it was in his return from injury. He stopped 44 of 47 shots, and despite the fact that BOTH teams played and traveled last night (with, allegedly, the Preds getting in later than the Blues), the Blues were the team that looked like the team that traveled. Not just the defensemen. Not just the forwards. The whole team looked like they were skating in quicksand. Not. good.
- Pekka Rinne looked human at times, but made the stops when he needed to, especially late. He's pretty damn good.
- Not sure how long this Dmitrij Jaskin-Paul Stastny-Ryan Reaves experiment can--or, really, SHOULD--last. I say this with ALL due respect to Revo, because he's the kind of guy who will do anything that's asked of him by the coaching staff, is one of my favorites and has played like a motherfucking man possessed this season . . . but 75 has GOT to be on the fourth line, no higher, and 26 and 23 deserve better linemates than this.
- This looked like the kind of game that Magnus Paajarvi could have thrived in. Instead, he was waived, cleared waivers and sent to Chicago. Sucks to be him, but when you can't win the trust of the coach, you can't play.
- Speaking of which . . . with Paajarvi waived, Chris Porter and Jaden Schwartz injured and Reaves playing too high in the lineup . . . wouldn't this be an interesting time to have a look at Ty Rattie, who has been absolutely tearing up the AHL these days? Not that it HAS to happen, but the timing wouldn't be poor.
- The Blues really needed the Christmas break to rest up. Maybe they'll need (and, hopefully, use to their advantage) this two-day break ahead of another California swing.
As just mentioned, the Blues face the Ducks in Anaheim on Friday. It'll be interesting to see who's in net, as the team is carrying three goaltenders at the moment.
Below, pick who you think was the best player for the Blues tonight. If you pick anyone other than Elliott, two things should happen . . . 1) I'll give you the side-eye, and 2) explain in the comments who YOU would pick.
LET'S GO BLUES.