Your Blues took on Roberto Luongo (Jagr's mullet) and the Florida Panthers tonight at Scottrade. Jake Allen would start in net once again for the good guys. Your forward lines would look a little different behind the Steen/Stastny/Tarasenko line. Paajarvi would be paired with Lehtera and Brouwer. Upshall would be with Backes and Fabbri. And finally Reaves would play with Brodziak and Ott. Your D-parings would consist of Shattenkirk/Edmunson, Bouwmeester/Pietrangelo and Parayko/Gunnarson.
To say that it was the worst first period of Blues hockey so far this year would be...generous. Both teams had a power play. At least that's what the score sheet would say. Despite having man advantages, the first shot on goal wasn't until the 12:56 mark in the first. The Blues would FINALLY get a shot on goal with about four and a half minutes left:
Now at least someone was trying to wake us all up. Ryan Reaves would connect on a huge hit on Trocheck towards the end of the period.
Shots were 4-3 in favor of the Panthers at the end of one.
I can confirm that actual hockey was played in the second. Unlike whatever that was we saw (or endured) in the first. The Blues would actually (and finally) get some pressure on Luongo. Sustained pressure even.
Unfortunately the theme of this period would be turnovers. The first glaring turnover would come during the Blues power play. Steen would try to backhand a pass over to Shattenkirk but it would be intercepted by Derek MacKenzie and taken down the ice. Luckily, Jake Allen would come up big and deny the Panthers their first lead of the game
Here comes another turnover. This time Vladimir Tarasenko would have a pass intercepted leading to another Panthers breakaway. It was a great play Willie Mitchell to get it all started. Barkov would then make a heads up play to Brandon Pirri who would get it by Jake Allen for the 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, the Panthers weren't done. ANOTHER turnover. This time Steve Ott (Shocker) would turn the puck over in his own zone. Allen had no chance on this one and MacKenzie would bury it to make it 2-0. That's 13 seconds apart for those of you scoring at home.
The Panthers had all the momentum in the world at this point. David Backes would have none of that though as just 21(ish) seconds after the second Panthers goal he would get a good bounce and a goal. Spin, shoot, score.
Fabbri and Parayko would get the assists, and it seemed that the Blues were right back in this one. Hitch would send out the fourth line more it seemed in this period. They did provide some spark to the lifeless team. (Despite the Steve Ott turnover) See Ryan Reaves. Again.
So I was saying that turnovers were a theme of this period? Welp.
I'm not sure what that was other than a lazy pass that got turned into a 3-1 Panthers lead. Shatty was looking for an opening that apparently wasn't there, but he threw it down the ice anyway. Yikes.
The Blues would make a goaltending change to start the third. Brian Elliott would come in and relieve Jake Allen. Honestly, you can't put all of the blame on Jake tonight. The Blues were just flat. Hitch would also juggle the lines a bit just to see if he could get anything going. The short answer? No. Jussi Jokinen would get a great chance here, but Elliott would take it off of his mask and keep it a 3-1 game.
Vladimir Tarasenko would get a great chance of his own. After Elliott denied the Panthers again the Blues would take it down the ice. Paul Stastny (who has looked great since coming back) would find Tarasenko. Luongo would deny him on what would have been a great play.
Panger mentioned something about not giving up, and not going away, but the damage had already been done. They shot themselves in the foot in the second and just couldn't recover. Didn't help that they couldn't beat Luongo. Or that Jagr was playing better than most of the Blues forwards on the ice tonight. Keep in mind he's 43. Also, the mullet game is strong with this one. The Blues would put 17 shots on goal in the third. 17. A bright spot for the Blues in the third was Brian Elliott as he would stop all 8 shots that he faced. Despite the lackluster first, the Blues actually ended up outshooting the Panthers 30-23. Frustrating game.
The Blues look to rebound Friday as they take on Halak(maybe, finally?) and the New York Islanders.
3rd: David Backes (1 goal, American Bad Ass)
2nd: Brandon Pirri (1 goal, Weird Last Name)
1st: Derek MacKenzie (2 goals, Both Unassisted.)