Game 4 was a remarkable game in how unremarkable the teams played. I'm reminded of two bros in a bar fight that don't really have their hearts in it, but neither really wants to back down either. They're ready to do some damage, but they are each waiting on the other to throw the first punch. Lots of posturing, but no spark. In a similar fashion, it felt like both teams were holding back to respond to an attack from the other team that never came. It was a very hollow, empty game.
So **this** was the big response to getting slaughtered in Game 3? The first goal was a gift from Joel Edmundson that stings but doesn't take much away from what has been a pretty good series for the rookie. The second goal was off of a rebound while on the power play - their first PPG after 12 failed opportunities in this series. And of course the game-winner in OT, where Cody Eakin went from zero to hero in a matter of a few seconds.
The Blues can watch game film, and they'll see what was missing from their game just as we do. I expect a renewed vigor on the part of the St Louis Blues, and possibly one from the Stars as well. The Stars got the win, but coach Lindy Ruff can't be happy with how his boys played either. It'll be more important to Hitch that he gives his squad a chance to hit the ice with energy and focus. With the OT on Thursday (albeit short) and the early start today, there might be some lineup changes for the 4th line to boost the energy level. However, we've seen the current one do plenty of damage on their own, so I'm not sure that it matters. The strength beyond strength of the Blues so far this year has be resiliency, and I don't expect that to have changed. They'll be better.
The Stars will be back at home, and there were whispers of a return for Patrick Eaves and/or Tyler Seguin. Eaves has been listed as questionable, and doesn't look likely. Seguin has already been ruled out. He has been skating, but strictly on his own. He has not practiced with the team at all, and that'll probably have to happen at least once before they re-introduce him into the roster. He is becoming healthier by the day, and it would behoove the Blues to end this series before he can make an impact.
Full credit to Cody Eakin for not giving up on his shift and jumping back into the play to eventually score the game winner. The real hero of Game 4 though, in my opinion, is Kari Lehtonen. While Kari has been a sieve for stretches in this series, it reinforced the Dallas resolve when they could trust him to make a save. The Stars were able to play their rush game when they know that they can get a .923 Save Percentage performance behind them. Lehtonen is a streaky goalie, but when he is hot he can really deliver. The Blues will have to continue to send pucks flying at him to get one past him. Or, if we can arrange to have Vladimir Tarasenko to get 5 minutes alone with him on the breakaway like in Game 4, that'd work too.
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Final Verse: A bit of an early start, with the game scheduled for 12 Noon today. This will be the fourth different start time in five games for this series. The GDT should drop shortly before the puck does, so please drop by and join us. The TV broadcast will be on NBC and the radio call will be on Y98 FM (98.1). I know it's early for hockey - this time of day is more for Saturday morning cartoons. The best tie-in I can manage is the cartoon-like laugh of Dallas Stars forward Jason Spezza :