Tonight's match-up withe Washington Capitals was going to be used as a measuring stick on how the Blues would likely fare in the playoffs. The Caps sit #1 overall with 115 points and have been a dominant team all season while the Blues have had their moments but never seem consistent night to night. The Blues did catch a break with Braden Holtby and TJ Oshie out for tonight's game but they still had to deal with Alexander Ovechkin.
Once the puck dropped the Blues didn't seem to care who was out there, they wanted this game more. If we see more games like this from the Blues, than that Cup is marked for a trip down Market this summer.
The first period was a back and forth shot-fest that produced great chances for both teams and required solid play from each netminder. I didn't count but there had to have been less than 6 whistles the entire period. Early on Paul Stastny was set up all alone in front of the net but Philipp Grubauer was sharp early on.
Ovechkin almost put the Caps on the board in the first as well but Jake Allen, in net for the red hot Brian Elliott tonight, stoned him cold. It was a scene that would be repeated a few more times as the game went on. The only real blemish for the Blues in the period was David Backes taking a hooking penalty late in the period.
The number 2 power play vs the number 3 penalty kill figured to be a good match up and it was, for the Blues. They shut down the Capitals allowing only a shot on the first man advantage. All in all it was a great first period, fast paced, shots, saves but no goals.
The trouble with second periods this year is that the Blues tanked in them. Long change, fast skilled team, you almost thought that this would be their undoing. Wrong again! The Blues absolutely dominated this period.
For the second game in a row Kyle Brodziak would open the scoring with an easy tap in. After Backes hunted the puck down not once but twice, he fired a puck that was stopped by Grubauer but slid right to Brodziak unmarked in front the 1-0 lead. Just a great forecheck by Backes and some really sloppy D by Washington.
But the goals wouldn't stop there. After matching minors were handed out to Dmitry Orlov and Stastny, Colton Parayko showed off some moves like Jagger. After shaking the forecheck behind his net the Caps just let Parayko waltz into the zone and he rifled a puck five hole. A routine save usually was not made by Grubauer and just like that it was 2-0. The play was reviewed for potential offsides but inconclusive evidence allowed the goal to stand.
Not to be outdone, Vladimir Tarasenko would notch his 35 goal on some nifty passing between Jori Lehtera and Stastny. It feels like Stastny is FINALLY settling in to his role here and the no look pass to Vlad was a thing of beauty. Grubauer had no shot getting back to his net and stopping the puck.
3-0 after two makes you feel good but when Washington has 27 come from behind wins you can't sit on your laurels. This time the Blues didn't as they took the game to Washington in the third never allowing them much to work with. Oh there were some breakdowns as evidence by Ovechkin getting 5 whacks all alone on Allen after a turnover. But Joel Edmundson made sure Ovie knew what would happen if you messed with one of our goalies.
Edmundson has quietly become one of my favorite players this year and the Blues really need his development to continue.
Jake Allen once again stood on his head in this period when there were breakdowns and it frustrated the hell out of the Caps. Unfortunately not enough for them to take a penalty and give the Blues a break. In fact there were only two penalties called all game, both against St. Louis.
Patrik Berglund would seal the win with a goal with under 3 to play after another gutsy shift by Alex Pietrangelo who played out of his mind tonight. The whole defense did as a matter of fact and considering 3 of them were rookies that is impressive.
For the first time in franchise history the Blues recorded 4 straight shutouts and know await Colorado to see if they will allow another goal this year. While this was a fairly dominant game, there were still some hiccups tonight but when you have goalies like Elliott and Allen you may be able to make it work.
The Blues remain tied with Dallas for first, though due to tiebreaks they are the second place team. Once again the Blues play Colorado next on Tuesday.
#3 - Colton Paryako: Goal and just another overall great gameAlex Pietrangelo: Sheer Domination tonight, Shut down Ovie, Jumping into offense, assist on clincher
#2 - Alex Pietrangelo: Sheer Domination tonight, Shut down Ovie, Jumping into offense, assist on clincher
#1 - Jake Allen: Ho Hum a shutout of the highest scoring team in the league