This game sucked. It was the fifth game straight where I was visibly angry at a hockey contest and couldn't do anything but watch as the St. Louis Blues that have been so good this regular season crashed and burned, hard.
Tonight the Blues had a lot of questions that needed to be answered. With almost every key blues player injured, and dropping down to third in the West, could the Blues get back on track? It was Ty Rattie’s first NHL appearance; how would he handle the pressure?
The Blues started off the period with a vengeance, flying and speeding across the ice, getting scoring chances right out of the gate. Tempers were high as the first scuffle started just 3:30 minutes into the game. The first penalty kill would come at 4:20 when Kevin Shattenkirk would trip up Valeri Nichushkin. Ryan Miller would make "a jumping worm" save on the first shot on goal during the PK.
The Blues kept up the speed and adrenaline, roughing up the stars with some great hits. The Blues average age probably dropped considerably losing the experience they’ve had all season, but they gained a bit of energy. At 13:39 the stars would get a great chance on a break away, Roman Polak would grab onto Erik Cole and plow through Miller, knocking the net off its spot, with the puck following in afterwards. No goal, but a penalty for the Blues.
The Blues would take a penalty as a result of Polak’s tackle. The Stars mishandled the first half of the power play and barely held possession. Somehow, Jaden Schwartz punk’d the Stars keeping and stealing the puck in the Stars zone, wasting more time.
With a minute and a half left, Alexander Steen took a shot, dinging it off of this year's arch nemesis, the cross bar. The Blues would scramble to get in on the play. The resulting scrum looked like a large hug battle, obviously in honor of Tarasenko, which ended in matching minors to Steve Ott and Antoine Roussel. 4 on 4 at 19:15.
Miller starts off this period doing his ninja thing, blocking a few shots and a few more rebounds with ease. The young kids kept the play going, keeping pressure and movement going, making some great chances. Miller kept his wall impersonation up, making some amazing saves, even on a breakaway that was all but sure. At 5:52, in the middle of an offensive shift change, Daley steals the puck and speeds down the center with a breakaway and scores on Miller. 1-0 Stars.
Miller would continue to be tested, and we would start to see the best of him in recent memory, anticipating almost every shot. T-Rat would get a decent chance, but then Jaskin would be called for hooking, putting them on their third penalty kill. The Blues had yet to see a power play this game. A back door feed just a few seconds into the penalty kill leads to another goal for the Stars. Blues call a timeout for a well deserved pep talk. Schwartz grabs the puck out of mid air, and throws it. Another penalty.
Luckily, the penalty is killed off with only one shot.
The Stars keep possession and it seems like the blues didn't realize they weren't on the PK anymore, Miller makes an amazing backdoor save denying Tyler Seguin a goal. Rattie shows some of his prowess by taking control and forcing his way through the Stars’s center but loses it at the end. While defending the goal, Jackman accidentally slings the puck out of the rink for a delay of game. Yet another penalty. While on the PK Miller makes another great save, but is poked at by a Star, so he gives him a little whack with the stick as punishment.
I wish we could forget this period ever existed.
The third period just flat out sucked donkey balls. The period would begin with by finishing out the Jackman penalty, blocking a open net goal denying another Stars point. Hitch mixes up the lines searching for a "spark" but we've seen how well thats done in the past. At 4:27 a tired line couldn't stop a third Stars goal, tipped in passed Miller with no chance.
At 12:26 The Blues would finally get their first power play as Jaden Schwartz was hooked by Seguin. The Blues however wouldn’t act like they were on the power play and give up yet another break away to the Stars, this time blocked by Miller. The Blues would not get a shot off on the power play and would go on the 4 on 4 after Ott gets into it with Vernon Fiddler, getting matching minors. The injury bug would claim its next victim as Patrik Berglund would skate off the ice with an apparent broken wrist. At 15:50 Jamie Benn would high stick Steen, second Power play for the Blues. Rattie would get a few good chances in but the Power Play would be killed off after three shots on goal.
The next injury victim would be Barret Jackman as he took a puck in the mouth. Honestly, the remaining minutes of the game is nothing to write home about. The Blues put in a good effort considering, but an AHL team does not have the experience needed to defeat a NHL team scrambling for the playoffs. Good luck in the playoffs, Dallas.