Ugh. That pretty much sums up tonight's game against Dallas. Less then 24 hours after winning a back and forth game in the shoot out against these same Stars, the Blues laid another typical egg on a night that Brian Elliott tried to one up Jake Allen for save of the year.
Same shit is going to be said after this game by the same people and things won't change. There is no excuse for travel, Dallas flew back the same way; rest is no excuse, everyone had plenty of that for Christmas; players just didn't want it, no sir Elliott bent over backwards and then some for this team. I know you can't win them all and Dallas is a good team but come on put some effort out. For god sake you had 12 shots thru 2 periods. But I digress, here is the recap.
Just like the previous game, this one was a heavy hitting affair including Tarasenko and Benn going after each other early on. Dallas would have control early and often building up a 6-2 shot differential but with nothing really to show for it. After getting kind of hosed on penalties last night, Dallas would get the first when Colton Parayko went off for a high stick putting the 2nd ranked PK unit to work in a hostile environment. Thankfully the team held serve and killed it easily, which was their high point tonight.
The Stars would start putting together multiple odd man rushes with the best being Alex Goligoski getting a partial breakaway but sending the puck high over the net. The Blues best chance came shortly after when David Backes would push a nice Stastny pass wide of the net on a 2 on 1 rush. Elliott proceeded to build his save of the year resume with this beauty on Jordie Benn:
Then things got kinda out of hand as Robert Bortuzzo would give a butt end tap to Jamie Benn after a penalty had been called on the Blues. Benn put in his nomination for Best Actor in a Drama and while it didn't draw them a 5 on 3 it did motivate the Stars for the rest of the game. Near the end of the man advantage Patrick Sharp would celebrate his birthday with a heads up goal that Elliott had no chance on:
Elliott would continue to hold the Blues in the game but after seeing 16 shots in the first it didn't seem likely he would hold on all game. The first would end with the Blues down 1-0 on the scoreboard and 16-5 in shots.
Boy did this period start off with a bang and Ryan Reaves didn't get a chance to even drop the gloves. Antoine Roussel and Troy Brouwer would go at it right off the face off and it was a good scrap. Both guys got good licks in and you were hoping that would rile the Blues up. But you wouldn't have been able to tell because 4 seconds later Travis Moen went after Bortuzzo for his shot on Benn and just like that two fights in 7 seconds.
The Stars grabbed the momentum off of the fights and started shoving the play down the Blues throat. Elliott would make save after save to keep the team in it and also got some help from the invisible goalie when Jamie Benn would deke completely around Elliott and push a shot right through the crease of a wide open net. And Dallas kept coming with rush after rush but Elliott had the answer each time, including this beauty that seemed eerily reminiscent of a Jake Allen save:
But the Blues just didn't want to use their goalies outstanding play as motivation to get the equalizer and it got worse when Dmitrij Jaskin would take a tripping penalty late in the second, giving Dallas almost a full two minutes on fresh ice to start the third.
The Stars, though, wouldn't need that much time to go up 2-0. Once again its our favorite player Benn who does it to us, getting away with a cross check to Jay Bouwmeester before corralling a bouncing puck and slipping it past Elliott.
And Benn regains the goal scoring lead just like that. Dallas effectively shut Tarasenko down tonight, allowing him only 1 shot through the first two periods but he finally got free when he found himself in the slot with the puck but Kari Lehtonen stood tall and swept it aside. It was Vladi's best look of the night.
As the game trudged on, the Stars kept the neutral zone clogged and it looked like the Blues wouldn't get a shot to do anything the rest of the game. They would finally get their chance when Jason Demers would trip Jaskin in the offensive zone giving the Blues a power play when they needed it most.
The 6th best power play had been on fire recently and going up against the 18th ranked PK unit there was hope. That hoped quickly died though when the Stars kept the Blues to the outside and didn't allow but a single shot. This isn't to say that the Dallas defense was gangbusters, the Blues continued to look for the perfect shot and it just never appears.
Even after that abysmal power play, they would get another shot after Seguin goes off for kneeing Parayko. But if the first power play was bad the second one was much, much worse. They couldn't even get set up in the zone and before you could even think the 2 minutes were up and it was still 2-0 and time was winding down.
Pressure was finally put on by the Blues late in the third and with that pressure continuing, Hitchcock pulled Elliott but it was to no avail. In a testament to how the Blues played this game, this was the empty netter to seal the win:
A weekend with so much promise and a chance to really cut in to the division leaders lead ended with Dallas increasing their lead to 9 points and Blues fans feeling like they have seen this movie over and over again this year. Kudos to Brian Elliott for his performance in this game but he was the only star for the Blues tonight. Just too much skill and a great home ice advantage for Dallas.
The Blues look to rebound against Nashville back home on Tuesday night.
#3, 2, and 1 - Brian Elliott: 35 saves including just a few dandies but his team left him hanging.