I usually don't like the word grit. Unlike out coach it doesn't pull a lot of weight with me. I like terms like skill, speed, and hockey sense. These terms are way more likely to help you win a hockey game. But after last night I think everyone can agree this team showed some serious grit. It's not easy to lose your top line center, your top line defense man, and your starting goalie all in the same game. It's not an excuse, this team has the skill and depth to be able to over come any injury, just an observation. Guys like Gunnarson, Edmundson, and Fabbri stepped up when their team needed them. They should have found a way to close out the game, I'm not arguing that, but this game had a different feel to it and deserves to be looked differently than just another blown lead.
This team is in a rut right now. They're inside their own head and that is never a good thing. Earlier in the year when they where always playing from behind and chasing the lead, it forced them to play the way they need to in order to close out a game. They had to keep their foot on the gas and play with urgency because there was no other option. So when Anaheim scored first, on an illegal pick play involving a rookie defender, part of me was happy. Maybe it would give the Blues a chance to bear down and grind out a win, which is exactly what this team needs.
It is always a good sign when you are able to get scoring from your fourth line. Revo was able to notch his second goal of the season by converting a low percentange shot to tie the game. If anybody deserves a little luck it's this guy. He got of to a rotten start this year, due mostly to injury, and has just recently started to look like the Reeves of old. Five minutes later it was Brouwer's turn. This was my favorite goal of the night. Troy took the puck across the blue line, drove hard to the goal, and buried the puck in the back of the net. This was a veteran move by a veteran player. Instead of trying to trying to make some cute little drop pass or panic and turn the puck over, he marched it in and did what the rest of the team should be doing. Shoot the puck.
This is when things started to get a little crazy. Kessler took a cheap shot on a defenseless Lehtera to which Vladi the Impaler took exception to. Instead of letting another teammate take care of the punishment, Tarasenko decided to take matters into his own hands. If there was any doubt about the size of the heart in this budding superstar those worries should have been erased about the time he opened up a tank size can of whoop-ass and proceeded to get it on. This guy has the whole package and as long as he wears a blue note on his chest I will always be a fan.
Next up we have a young Bob Fabbri, who has been hotter than a two dollar pistol. This kid has taken this NHL opportunity and ran with it or ran as far as Hitch's leash will allow. I have no idea what is going on between these two. One minute Hitch is sing the kid's praises and talking about how a better coach would give him more playing time and the next he's keeping him on the bench during overtime and the shoot out. I understand everyone's frustration and if the coach would just give us just one legitimate reason as to why he is doing what he's doing I think most of us would get behind him. This is probably my biggest complaint about this organization, and every other team in the league. They are so worried about not giving away any little piece of information that they end up alienating the entire fan base. I mean come on coach throw us a frigging bone here. Anyways Bob scored his tenth of the season. Woo-hoo.
Ah the dreaded two goal lead. Players don't no whether to keep their foot on the gas or hang back and play defense. Coaching staff doesn't know whether to use their energy line more or throw the kitchen sink at them to get another goal. Well we didn't have to worry about that for long. Corey Perry, aka douche nozzle, used Getzlef who was interfering with Gunnarson as a screen, and made it 2-3. Let me take this time to say I like Brian Elliot. I think he's a good goalie who has never gotten the chance to shine. Having said that, I swear every time he gets scored on he looks around like an inbred deer caught in the headlights trying to find someone else to blame the goal on. It drives me crazy. I don't know if that is really what he is doing or not but just once I like to see him simply skate it off, get back in net, slap the posts, and get ready to make the next save.
The third period was not good by any stretch of the imagination. The blues got out shot, out worked, and out scored, plain and simple. They took bad penalties that kept them on the PK for over a third of the period. Not much to stand up and applaud. If there was a bright spot in this shit storm it was Joel Edmundson. He played his butt of this game. He took control and made Perry and Getzlef his bitch. Mr. Edmundson I salute you. With players like Joel, Colton, and Vlad this team will be just fine. I promise.
Overtime went about like you would expect. Both teams had their chances. Some of the Blues players looked a little tired and slow ( cough Lehtera cough cough) but for the most part they held their own. Time for a shoot out. I agree that this is a stupid way to settle a hockey game but man does it get the heart thumping. Unless you only score one goal. What a let down.
When I woke up this morning and saw Hitch's post game at first I was just as pissed as everyone else. But after I calmed down I realized that this game was different. Anaheim is no slouch despite what their record is. The Blues showed a lot of heart last night. After losing Paul, Jay, and Jake it would have been easy for team to walk away with no points and a bunch of excuses. Instead they decided to dig in and battle on. Yes they should have gotten a win. And no they still aren't playing their best. But I believe the tide is starting to turn. Only time will tell.