Here's hoping you all read that tagline in your best Chris Traeger voice and if you haven't watched Parks and Rec you must reevaluate your life.
Anyways, the Blues and Avalanche squared off tonight in St. Louis after both teams produced big victories on Saturday night, so both teams should have been on an even playing field tonight. Well the Blues got the memo to start slow but Colorado certainly didn't and even though the second and third periods proved better, once again an off period lead to another painful loss.
The pace to start tonight's game was a far cry from the jump and energy of last nights game, and that was to be expected coming off of the emotional win against Dallas. Colorado would push hard right off the bat like any team does in the second of a back to back, but it was like the Blues weren't ready for it. They were floundering all over the ice and some defensive miscommunication led to the first goal of the game:
As Darren Pang would point out, this was very close to offsides as Skille was lifting his skate as the puck crossed into the zone, but you can't have both of your defensemen on the same side of the rink that close to your own zone. The teams continued to trade chances as the period continued, which was a good sign, the Blues didn't just hang their heads like usual after falling behind.
Semyon Varlamov would deny arguably the best Blues line of the last few games, Jaskin, Lehtera and Fabbri; multiple times tonight including stopping Jaskin on the doorstep with just over 8 minutes left. Like the Stars previously, this missed chance led to a goal on the other end immediately after :
You can't really fault anyone on this particular goal as every one seemed to be in position, just an unlucky bounce one way led to the puck being on Mitchell's stick and not Bouwmeester's. Unlike the first goal, the Blues kind of fell apart for a bit as Ryan Reaves and then Scottie Upshall would take penalties setting up a Colorado 5 on 3 advantage. The Blues PK would continue to shine and even excel as they had two odd man rushes on the kill but couldn't get much on the Aves goal.
The momentum would slowly start to swing to the Blues favor near the end of the period but more missed and blocked shots would prove fruitless as time expired. The Blues would outshoot Colorado 8-6 in the first but would have an uphill climb with one of our #shittyseconds (s/t Donut King) coming up.
Oh guess what, this period started exactly like most of the recent ones, poor zone play and the Aves getting chance after chance. With Jake Allen standing on his head yet again, one could only hope he would keep us in it through our normal second period game play.
But then a funny thing happened, the Blues started to move their feet,
And this wasn't just two or three minutes of pressure, this continued throughout the whole period. The lines were just rolling right onto the next and shot after shot was being pumped toward the net. But the thing that got to me was the amount of shots that didn't hit the net. Most of the highest quality chances from not just the defensmen but even some forwards were missing the net and not just be inches, feet sometimes. In the end the Blues would put 17 shots on Varlamov in the period but not a single one even got close to going in.
It seemed like they wasn't even an intermission because the Blues came out with the exact same pressure and play that ended the second. Even with all the pressure and a tired Aves team the Blues couldn't draw a penalty to save their life. Jake Allen didn't see much rubber at all tonight but when he needed to make a save he made it, even when he could't really see where it was coming from.
As the Blues continued to hound the Aves in their zone Troy Brouwer would get two tip in attempts but still no success. Allen would make yet another key save as he would slide to his right and make a pad save on Matt Duchene.
Finally the Blues would get their power play chance when Alex Tanguay would go off for holding with about seven and a half to go. Guess who scored the goal...No really go ahead and guess, I will give you some time and space
If you guessed Brian Elliot, well you would be dumb and wrong, no it was birthday boy Vladimir Tarasenko, who is definitely getting more then just cake for his birthday if you know what i mean. Once that goal went in you just knew a few more were likely coming because this was the Aves we were facing, we weren't going to just let them win.....oh wait we did.
With Allen pulled, the Blues had some pretty passing leading to a great shot by Parayko, no wait he passed it to Steen who shot, no wait he didn't shoot either, what the hell, why no shots??!!??!!? And then you let the guy we traded for Hannu Toivonen score the empty netter?
Well we all knew this was what was going to happen tonight but I will say that in didn't happen in the way we all expected. Yes we started off slow and gave up some stupid goals but we held Colorado to 6 shots a period, had a relentless forecheck in the second and third periods and showed the heart that usually lacks in these types of games. So while disappointed in the loss, I find some encouraging things that if they continue will lead to this team bouncing back to being better then ever. So bring on the next game and let's see what we got.
#3 - Jake Allen: 15 saves on 17 shots against, not his best night but he stopped what was needed to stay in game
#2 - Vladimir Tarasenko: 18th goal on his 24th birthday, Happy Birthday Mr. Blues Hockey
#1 - Semyon Varlamov: Just a beast tonight, stopping 42 of 43 shots against