The Blues stingy defensive play carried over to tonight's game against Winnipeg but unlike in football the defense can't score points for the offense. While a charity point was picked up by going to overtime, the Blues now sit a point back of Anaheim for the Presidents Trophy. Looking at the box score one could discern that the Blues played a great game and just ran up against a hot goalie. In truth both goalies were really hot but only one team looked like they really wanted this game.
The first period played out exactly like the last five games for the Blues as both teams spent the period feeling each other out. Each team buzzed around the offensive zones in the first five minutes but only accumulated a shot a piece. The lone scoring chance came with about nine minutes to play when Carl Gunnarsson was allowed to walk in from the point on Ondrej Pavelec but was stuffed on his attempt. The period would end with neither team scoring, a feat that has been achieved in five straight Blues games.
The second period started off very well for the Blues as they held control for the first half, eventually drawing a high sticking penalty on Adam Lowry. The power play threw a bunch of shots at Pavelec but it wasn't until the penalty expired that the Blues were finally able to capitalize.
Unfortunately, the game would go straight downhill after that goal as the Blues went on their heels and stopped pushing. Ryan Reaves took a head shot penalty 20 seconds after Backes' goal but Brian Elliott stood his ground. The Jets kept swarming the net, even ringing the post at one point which would be a fore-bearer of what was to come. Late in the second the Blues had an opportunity to drive the knife into the Jets heart with a power play but Pavelec robbed TJ Oshie with a sprawling glove save on the only real solid attempt of the man advantage. Even though the Blues had the lead after the second, you could feel the tide turned in the Jets favor.
The third opened with Alex Pietrangelo and Andrew Ladd in the box for extra curricular activity at the end of the second, so we opened with 4 on 4 hockey. The Jets came out flying, no pun intended, and held the zone for the full two minutes, stinging another post as the two defensemen rejoined the game. Winnipeg continued to control play and five minutes later nailed the crossbar, inching ever closer to that game tying goal.
Finally the dam was broken and the shutout streak ended as Drew Stafford was able to calmly enter the zone and slip this in.
As disappointing as it was to allow the goal with less then seven minutes to play, the feeling had been there for the last two periods that this was probably going to happen. The two teams traded chances the rest of the period with nothing really getting to close to going in, so we headed for overtime.
Overtime provided us with what a truly exciting playoff series this would be as both teams went all out in their attempts to gain the second point. The first half of overtime belonged to Winnipeg as they held the zone and whipped the puck around. Truba got a few whacks in on a rebound off a Frolik shot but Elliott continued his strong play. As overtime progressed the Blues got their chances to but Pavelec was possessed to win this game after giving up the weak winning goal in St. Louis last week.
Just like the previous game in Winnipeg, this one went to a shootout.
The Jets elected to go first and Blake Wheeler was poke checked to set a good tone for the Blues.
Up next was TJ Oshie:
Drew Stafford came up and slid the puck between Elliott's stick and leg pad to knot up the shootout.
Vladimir Tarasenko looked to put the Blues back on top but got in a little to tight and hit the outside of the net.
Andrew Ladd was next and he just blasted a shot high to Elliott's glove side to make it 2-1 Jets.
Alex Steen was the Blues last chance
Even with the loss the Blues picked up a point on Nashville and now lead the Central by two points and still with a game in hand. The Jets bolstered their lead over Calgary in the Wild Card and pulling within one point of Minnesota.
The Blues next game is against those Wild on Saturday afternoon followed by an early morning tilt with Detroit.
#3 - David Backes: Goal, 6th goal in last 12 games
#2 - Drew Stafford: GTG and Shootout winner
#1 - Ondrej Pavelec: 32 Saves