The Blues could really use Kevin Shattenkirk back any day now. For the second weekend this year the Blues were back on the ice less then 24 hours after suffering a 6-3 loss in Minnesota. That it came against the hated Red Wings didn't help matters much either. For the seventh straight game the Blues failed to put a puck in the net in the first period and the fourth game in the last seven to record one or less goals in the game.
The first period was a bit of a microcosm of how the game would likely be decided as the penalties came early and often. Two minutes in Chris Butler took a holding call against Darren Helm but thankfully it was cancelled six seconds later by a Justin Abdelkader high stick. The two teams traded a few chances 4 on 4 but the almost matching minors expired with no real threat. Shortly after Patrik Berglund would take his own high sticking penalty to put Detroit on its first "real " power play. Jake Allen, though, would stand tall and keep the Wings off the board.
Late in the first, Vladimir Tarasenko would get lose on the offensive zone and would draw a tripping penalty as he put the puck on a string and danced through the Detroit D somehow never losing the puck even as he was knocked down repeatedly. The Blues would get a few good chances on Jimmy Howard but the period ended with no score and Detroit holding a 10-8 shot advantage.
The second period was the Blues best of the game as they dominated play through out and happened to find a goal as well. On the second power play of the period for them, the Blues held the zone for the majority of the penalty and Alex Steen, with David Backes doing what he does best, cashed in as the man advantage wound down.
The goal was Steen's 23rd of the season and was also his 300th career point. Going into the third the Blues had an .824 winning percentage when leading after two, but once again they couldn't hold the lead.
The unlucky bounces for the Blues continued at the start of the third as Butler took an Abdelkader shot right in the face and the puck bounced right to Erik Cole who tucked it high to Allen's glove side. After that goal an old school Blues/Wings game erupted as 14 combined penalties were handed out over a ten minute span of hockey minutes. Drew Miller and Petteri Lindbohm would go toe to toe six minutes in to the third, TJ Oshie and Gustav Nyquist would follow 8 seconds later with unsportsmanlike conducts and finally Tomas Tatar, Abdelkader, Butler and Backes would scrum at the 10:38 mark.
As the game wound down, the proverbial goat of the Blues Patrik Berglund would take an offensive zone tripping penalty and you could just feel like the winning goal was coming, in Detroit on National TV. Allen once again threw himself into getting the Blues at least a point, including a glove save with under a minute to go to send the game to overtime.
But the penalty was just too much as the Wings controlled the opening draw and entered the Blues zone to set up. With Pavel Datsyuk out for the third straight game Justin Abdelkader became the Blues killer and he ended things quickly with his net front presence.
Jake deserved much better from this game but as it always seems to be the Wings "found" a way to win a game on National TV against the Blues. Thankfully they were able to at least secure a point and now have a one point lead on Nashville with no games left in hand. The Blues wrap up the six game road trip in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night looking to salvage a winning record.
#3 - Jimmy Howard: 23 saves
#2 - Erik Cole: Game tying goal
#1 - Justin Abdelkader: GWG and assist on tying goal