The Blues looked to bounce back from a horrid performance in front of the home faithful against the Maple Leafs. Their opponent tonight? The Phoenix Coyotes of Glendale of Arizona. Mike Smith would be between the pipes for the Yotes. The Blues would counter with goaltender Jake Allen. The lines tonight would see some changes. The first line would see a new face. Magnus Paajarvi would team up with Paul Stastny and Vladimir Tarasenko. Alexander Steen would move down to the second line with David Backes and Troy Brouwer. The third line would consist of Robby Fabbri, Jori Lehtera and Dmitrij Jaskin. With Steve Ott now being sidelined for the next 3 months, the fourth line would consist of Scottie Upshall, Kyle Brozdiak, and Ryan Reaves. The D-pairings would see a new(old)face. There would be of course Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo. The new pairing of Petteri Lindbohm and Kevin Shattenkirk. And lastly Carl Gunnarsson (Why?!?!) would be paired with Colton Parayko.
Oh boy. This game did not start out like the Blues or the fans had hoped. Honestly it felt a little like the the Leafs game. Arizona would not care about the Blues first period short comings and take advantage. A minute into the game Tarasenko would get called for tripping. The Coyotes would challenge Allen right away.
Not to say that the Blues didn't have some sort of life during the period. Reaves would introduce himself to former Duck Kyle Chipchura
Good things happen when you go to the net. Arizona apparently knows this information and put it to practice. Brad Richardson would shoot one in from the point. It would somehow get to the net and Allen would make the initial save. Allen would not be able to save the rebound chance from Steve Downie. It seemed like Pietrangelo could have made a better effort to clear him out. 1-0 bad guys.
The Blues would finally tally their first shot on goal with about six and a half minutes left in the first period. Glaring issue that still hasn't been addressed. The Blues were being out shot 8-1 at this point. Shots would finish 9-3 for the period.
The Blues power play would continue to struggle. This would be there only chance on the second of three power plays tonight. Yep.
Never fear Blues fans, Hitch would set a record for keeping the lines together through this point in the game. (Not really a stat or sure that's true but it sure seems like it) It pays of for the boys as Paajarvi would set up Tarasenko for a beautiful goal and the Blues would tie this thing at one. Bouwmeester would also notch an assist on the play. It would be Tarasenko's 16th of the season.
Mike Smith would be tested more in the second. (Not that it's saying much but...) Jaskin would get a shot on Smith and he seemed to be in a lot of discomfort. Smith would shake it off though and continue.
Jake Allen had a decent game tonight. Here he denies Stefan Elliott. Yes, a guy named Elliott was trying to score on Allen. Funny right?
The Blues haven't been great on the power play. The penalty kill however is second in the league coming into tonight. The Coyotes have given up 6 shorthanded goals on the year. Well, you better make that 7. Shattenkirk would get the blocked shot and take off. Steen would join him for a two on one break. Shatty made a perfect pass over to Steen who would just bury it. It's Steen's 10th goal of the year. It would also mark the first shorthanded goal for the Blues this season.
The Coyotes seemed to have scored litterally seconds later, but the refs waived it off. They would say that the Coyotes player would interfere with Allen and disallow the goal. It seemed to me that he was tripped or pushed into Allen and that the goal should have counted. Needless to say it was disallowed and the Blues would keep their 2-1 lead.
The Coyotes would again be on the power play. (They were 0-4 tonight, to include that shorthanded goal against) Jake Allen would deny Mikkel Boedker. I thought the Blues power play was rough. Although, this was more that the Yotes are terrible on the power play and the Blues are good on the penalty kill. (Arizona ranked 28th coming into tonight)
The Blues were looking as good as they had been in awhile and it paid off for them. Lehtera hits Shattenkirk with a backhanded pass and he walks in and scores. It needed to be and was a perfect pass. Shattenkirk gets his 4th goal of the year. Needless to say he has been the bright spot on the team not named Tarasenko.
The Blues would continue to push. The line that looked like it was building something late was the Fabbri/Jaskin/Lehtera line. They have some potential if Hitch decides to keep them together. He did tonight, and it almost paid off for Jaskin here
The Blues best period tonight was by far the third period as far as shots on goal. They would finish with 10 shots on goal in the third capped off by this David Backes empty netter
Jake Allen would get the win tonight and hasn't lost a game against Arizona/Phoenix. (5-0-0). The Blues would score four goals tonight, which is more than they've scored in the last three COMBINED. To say they needed this was an understatement. It wasn't a perfect game by any means, but a win is a win. It seems like the Paajarvi experiment will continue for another game at least. Although, knowing the head coach these lines could look completely different come next game. The Blues continue their homestand on Thursday as they take on the Flyers. Make sure to find a GT vendor and buy a paper!
3rd: Magnus Paajarvi (1 assist, Umlaut Overlord.)
2nd: Alexander Steen (1 goal, 1 assist, apparently favors the movie Step Brothers over Anchorman. Thanks FSMW)
1st: Kevin Shattenkirk (1 goal, 1 assist, So hot after his injury return might actually combust)