Ryan Miller's cleared the cobwebs, it seems.
The goaltender, who has a reputation (like every other goaltender) for being a bit of a headcase, allowed three goals on seven shots in the first period. One was a deflection, but the other two were pretty savable had he've reacted to the shots. I was not happy when he started the second. He was a wall for the remainder of the game.
I love being proven wrong.
Ryan Miller woke up and turned into the Ryan Miller that the Blues expected when they traded for him. Maxim Lapierre saved the game. Steve Ott set up the game winning goal. The playoffs brings out something special where you least expect it. Did anyone honestly think that Adam Cracknell would have the opening goal?
The playoffs also apparently mysteriously heal. Vladimir Tarasenko was the best player on the ice last night with a goal, an assist, and nearly another goal had Corey Crawford not made his highlight-reel save. He worked to maintain game shape while he was out, and he may have passed the peak that he was at during the regular season. The entire second line - Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, and Vladimir Sobotka were excellent. Don't touch that line Hitch, whatever you do.
Hitch may have to mix up the top line today, though.
I was fooled into thinking Oshie would be ready to play in Game 1 but watching him fly around today I would surprised if he didn't play GM 2— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) April 18, 2014
What do the Blues need to do to keep this afternoon's game from going to extra frames? According to former NHL head coach Craig Ramsay, they need to keep an eye on the stretch passes of the Blackhawks. I agree with Rammer, but as the game progressed, the Hawks' stretch passes got less and less accurate. The Blues could also seize on that opportunity as well if they have to - but it would be best if they just wouldn't allow them to begin with. They need to be aware of the other players on the ice, not just the puck. Chicago looks for opportunities that catch teams off guard. Be on it.
Will the Blues be ready to play after the longest game in franchise history Thursday night? Jeremy Rutherford talked to Alex Pietrangelo, and it sounds like the defenseman's good to go.
Petro after playing 44:08: "I feel good. I'm alive, I'm awake. Legs are a little bit stiff today, but ... (1/2)— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) April 18, 2014
"... I feel no different a normal game, even though it felt like we played two games." (2/2) #stlblues— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) April 18, 2014
If Oshie doesn't play tonight, I'm still fairly comfortable with the Blues' odds. I think that fans are significantly more confident than where many of us were at before this series started, though keep in mind that the Blackhawks fell behind 1-0 every series last year, and the Blues...
You know what? Forget that. I like our odds.