Ok so I know we lost but DAMN am I going to like this new overtime format!!!!
The Blues returned to home ice for the first time since opening night and the first time since Tuesday's 3-0 loss to unbeaten Montreal. Former Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak and the Islanders were in town but Halak was not in net as is usual when he plays his former teams. With four major players out with injury the Blues were looking to get anything possible out of tonight's game, especially with Chris Butler playing defens...left wing?
Both teams came out flying to start the game and each had good chances early on but both Brian Elliott and Thomas Greiss looked steady. The Islanders were coming off of a game against Boston the night before and the Blues looked to be pressing their advantage early and that pressing led to Tarasenko taking the first penalty of the game. Steve Ott, who played a really good game (don't shoot me for saying that), almost put the Blues up on the penalty kill as he received the puck from Kyle Brodziak and got a backhanded shot off but Greiss was up to the challenge.
The Blues would get their first power play a few minutes later but like in Montreal the main unit could't gain the zone and get anything toward the net. The Isles had more chances being a man down but Elliott stood tall and kept the game scoreless. But a seemingly harmless moment led to New York's first goal. As Butler goes on a line change he runs into an Islanders player and gets whistled for roughing for some reason and then off the draw the dangerous Kyle Okposo puts the Isles up 1-0:
While not a great score after one, the period overall was exactly like the Montreal game, unlucky in no goals but a solid period.
This period you could tell the New York was playing the second game of a back to back, the Blues absolutely dominated this period. Unfortunately the domination didn't lead to the score sheet for anyone in the Blue Note. Two early power plays back to back yielded only a few shots, including a nice mid air tip by Steen, and for once puck possession in the offensive zone. After many attempts to carry the puck into the zone with a line stacked with 4 defenders they finally used the dump and chase method to force New York to defend deep, opening up the lanes for a carry in. While this didn't lead to a goal, it set the stage for the rest of the game and effectively wore the Islanders down just that much more.
There were two points in the period that New York stole the play, one of which was a power play with 6 minutes to go. It was the only sustained pressure applied by the Isles and it almost resulted in another goal except for a somewhat overlooked defensemen named Robert Bortuzzo.
As they puck was being whipped around the zone, Bortuzzo stuck to the front of the net like glue and when John Tavares gathered the puck off the left side of the net Bortuzzo was there to cover Elliott's backside. As Elliott was out of position, Tavares had a wide open net and fired the puck, but somehow Bortuzzo was sliding towards Tavares and got his hand out and flipped the puck into the air and away from the net.
But Tavares would get his revenge with less then two minutes to go in the second as he backed off Jay Bouwmeester and somehow put the puck in blocker side:
It was one hell of a shot from a great player and it made all the domination the Blues had moot, even though we doubled them up in the shot category 14-7.
The third period belonged to Colton Parayko. This rookie is quickly becoming my new favorite player not named Tarasenko. After having a bomb blocked the youngster gathered the puck back up and just flipped a shot at the net:
Now for a kid who has a blast of a shot all of his goals have come on the wrist shot. So what do you tell him? Keep slapping it or just find a lane and wrist it? The Blues continued to dominate the ice even with another failed power play and it wasn't long before the kid was at it again. The Blues would dump the puck in (hmm how many times does this lead to a scoring chance power play??) and after receiving a pass from Jori Lethera, Parayko fired a shot on net that took two bounces before settling into the back of the net for an Alex Steen goal:
The Blues would get a golden opportunity to net the go ahead goal as they drew yet another power play. Pucks were flying to the net from everyone from Tarasenko to Jaskin to even Ott who had one of the best chances. Scott Gomez was finding people left and right but between Greiss and the inability to hit the net the game would go in to overtime.
This is where the game gets fun. Four Forwards, Two Defensmen and all with speed and skill. But unlike some of the overtimes we have seen thus far, this one had the feeling of controlled chaos. Each team generated chances but not at the expense of another teams mistake. The Blues best chance came form, you guessed it, Parayko as he fed Steen cross ice for a wide open net. But alas, the puck hopped as it got to his stick and the shot never really happened.
Frans Nielsen would use his speed to push the defense back as he entered the Blues zone and as he made his way to the corner of the rink he was able to get Mikhail Grabovski an open look which he used to tip the puck by Elliott for the win.
As much as the Blues dominated the statistics of the game and even the flow to an extent, they were incredibly lucky to get the one point they received. The Blues out shot New York 37-18 but going 0 for 5 on the power play doesn't do you much good. Hopefully they can slightly tweak the entry plan because they will need all the goals they can get Tuesday against Tampa.
#3-John Tavares: Perfectly placed shot for the 2-0 lead
#2-Colton Parayko: Goal and an Assist and should have been one more assist
#1-Mikhail Grabovski: GWG even after getting demolished by Ott earlier in the game