That was a bit more like it. Playing as a 5 man unit and getting solid goaltending, the Blues were able to snap a two game losing streak in a 4-0 win over the San Jose Sharks. Yes the team still had some lapses, <cough> taking two straight penalties on a 5 minute major <cough>, but the Blues played fast, forwards dropped back defensively and Carter Hutton made the saves he had to make. This could be and should be a game the Blues should build on.
Recently the Blues have had a penchent for allowing the first goal of the game, 7straight to be exact, so the focus of the first period was play a sound defensue game and get some momentum rolling for the rest of the game. In the early going it looked like that wasn’t going to happen. The Blues were a bit over aggressive in the offensive zone and allowed a couple of odd man rushes to the Sharks but a crossbar and forward response in the defensive zone allowed the Blues to keep the Sharks off the board.
Hutton was on his game early as well which only allowed the Blues confidence to grow. Hutton stopped Mikkel Boedker and Joe Thornton on point blank shots early in the first to keep the game tied. While the Blues never got much sustained pressure in the San Jose zone in the period they did do exactly what they should be doing every game, peppering the opposing goalie with shots. After their abysmal shooting performance against the Kings, the team knew they had to get pucks on net and look for rebound opportunities. While it didn't lead to any goals in the first, the mindset set the stage for the rest of the night.
If you were watching the game last night you might have watched the first and thought man this is going to be a boring game, I hope I can stay awake. Well the refs and the Blues heard you loud and clear. The second period featured 5 minor penalties, a major penalty and two goals for good measure.
The period started inauspiciously for the Blues as Alex Steen and Alex Pietrangelo would take slashing penalties back to back to give the Sharks an extended two man advantage. One could question if the Petrio penalty really should have been called but nevertheless the Blues were in a bind. The one thing going for them was that they had kiled every two man advantage they have faced this year.
San Jose got one clean look as Joe Pavelski stood a cross ice pass and had a wide open net to shoot at but he put the shot wide off the side of the net. As the penalty was winding down the Blues would get the makeup call when Pavelski got tangled up with Colton Paryako near the crease and got called for interference.
For the first time in a long while the Blues were able to take the momentum of a good penalty kil, and translate that to success. As the team went to the power play they were able to enter the San Jose zone and get set up rather easily. Kevin Shattenkirk would get the puck to Paul Stastny who found Parayko at the point. A stutter step by Parayko gave him some room and he took advantage.
After not scoring in the first 40 games of the year, that's Parayko’s second this week. I think it is safe to say he has confidence in his shot again. And as crazy as this sounds, the Blues weren't done scoring in the period.
Lone of the hardest working lines for the Blues on the night was the Robby FabbrI, David Perron and Patrik Berglund line. They were quick, physical and we're creating chances every time they touched the puck. It was that effort that led to the Blues second goal.
The line got the puck deep in the offensive zone and started cycling the puck. Perron, under pressure, laid the puck off to Fabbr who found Parayko at the point. A wrist shot from the first goal scorer truck a skate of a Shark and slid to the side of the net. Perron just so happened to be there and swatted the puck between Martin Jones skate and the post for the 2-0 lead.
Then things got really fun. Over the course of just a minute of gameplay the Blues would get the chance to put the game away, give up that chance and almost swing the momentum back to San Jose. First the opportunity, frustrated with something Stastny did in the faceof circle Jumbo Joe decided to spear the Blues center earning him a 5 minute major and game misconduct. This set the Blues up nicely with a hot power play and one of the Sharks best players out of the game. But alas this is the Blues.
After breaking up play in their zone the Sharks broke out on a two on two. One of the Sharks got inside leverage on Shattenkirk as they approached the Blues zone and Shatty decided hooking him was the best idea despite having support coming in the form of a back checking forward. The penalty eliminated two minutes of the Blues major but it was what happened next that had Blues fans shaking their heads again.
As San Jose was exiting their zone again the Blues decided a line change was in order. Line changes have been the bane of the team this season and this one was no different. Some confusion on the bench led to a player hitting the ice early and the refs caught it for the tenth time this year. So a five minute major turned into an extended 4 on 3 power play for the Sharks. Only the Blues. Thankfully the San Jose power play is struggling and without Thornton it only made it easier to kill to off.
A wild and crazy second period saw the Blues holding a 2-0 lead on the road, the last two times the Blues have led 2-0 they lost the game. Oh and they only have 5 road wins. So the third period should be great.
But it turns out the Blues were up to the challenge and they weathered a small storm put on by San Jose. The Sharks controlled the first half of the third period but blocked shots and timely saves from Hutton kept them off the board.
As crazy as the game was it only got crazire when The Scholarship put a beautiful redirect on an Alex Pietrangelo shot.
I think we can definitely call this luck more then skill but it was stil a nice redirect and it gave the Blues what they needed, a 3-0 lead late. Peter DeBoer would pull Jones with just over 5 minutes to go, down 3, but the Blues would end their comeback chances quickly. Alex Steen would net his 3rd empty net goal of the year to seal the game and get the Blues back in the win column.
Carter Hutton picked up his first shutout as a Blue in the same arena he earned his first career shutout. It was the Blues first shutout since October 29th. The Blues will look to make it two in a row tonight when they face the Anahiem Ducks at 8pm. Hopefully they can use the positives from this game and fix the lapses and put together a second cohesive game.