On the night the Blues honored Barret Jackman for passing Brian Sutter on the career games played list in St. Louis, the Blues did what they do ever night a special event is held. They laid a big, fat, stinky egg on the ice as the Stars cruised to a 4-1 victory. The Blues entered tonight on a three game win streak but you would never had guessed they even departed Florida with they way they played.
Coach Hitch decided to tinker with the lines after a lackluster effort in a 2-1 shootout victory over Florida, switching Paul Stastny and Jori Lehtera. It didn't do much of anything to jump start the team. The Blues came out ridiculously flat and it only went downhill from there, while Jamie Benn's night shot through the roof.
Benn opened the scoring at 2:47 with this rifle of a shot of a face off win by Jason Spezza:
The Blues pace of play didn't change much after this first goal and wouldn't you know it, it would lead to more and more goals. Benn notched his second goal at 8:18 on a nifty two on one with Spezza and then 20 seconds later this happened:
Although most of this was not Brian Elliott's fault, it was that right call for Hitch to pull him after allowing 3 goals on 6 shots. In all fairness to Elliott, his team had two shots on goal halfway through the first period. The Blues ended the period with 7 shots, a goalie change and a 3-0 deficit.
Unlike the last two times the Blues had given up three goals in the first period, this game would not come back to them. The second period began with a bench minor for too many men on the ice and it was only a matter of time before the Stars would make them pay. Benn completed his hat trick with a blast from the point that Jake Allen never could find. Spezza recorded an assist on all three of Benn's goals on the evening.
The game slogged on through the period before the Blues were given there second power play of the game and there first legitimate scoring chance of the whole game. After a scrum in the corner, Lehtera fished the puck out and snapped a pass cross ice to Tarasenko. But Kari Lehtonen learned from Vladi's past shots against him and swung across the ice to stone the Russian sniper. That was all the Blues could muster in the period yet they out shot the Stars 12-5.
The third started out disastrously for the Blues as Chris Butler and Alex Steen took penalties 18 seconds apart to set up an extended 5 on 3 disadvantage. Although they were down 4-0 at the time, the team never gave in on the penalty kill and even had a brief 2 on 1 break but David Backes shot high over the net. As the game wound down the only thing on fans minds was how can we not let us get shut out. Well the much maligned Patrik Berglund had the answer.
This game was over before the first period ended and it seemed like the Blues knew it too. The fans did get to cheer on Jackman knocking some sense into pesky Antoine Roussel. Dallas helped their playoff cause by beating a really good home team for the second time and putting up 4 goals in each of those games. Dallas also blocked 17 shots and clogged the neutral zone to perfection against the speed of the Blues.
Currently the Stars sit 4 points out of the last playoff spot and every game the can win without Tyler Seguin is huge for them. The Blues fall 6 points back of Nashville for tops in the Central and are only 4 points ahead of Chicago.
The Three Stars of the Game:
#3 - Jason Spezza: 3 Assists
#2 - Kari Lehtonen: 1 GA, 28 Saves
#1 - Jamie Benn: 3 Goals
The Stars head home to host the Sharks on Thursday while the Blues look to rebound Friday night against a Bruins team trying to hold on to a playoff spot in the East. A much better effort will need to be shown if we are to take the win that night.