Blues Starting Lineup:
Vladimir Sobotka - Paul Stastny - Vladimir Tarasenko
Jaden Schwartz - Brayden Schenn - Dmitrij Jaskin
Magnus Paajarvi - Oskar Sundqvist - Tage Thompson
Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Chris Thorburn
Joel Edmundson - Alex Pietrangelo
Carl Gunnarsson - Colton Parayko
Vince Dunn - Robert Bortuzzo
The Penguins celebrated their second Lord Stanley in as many years tonight with a banner raising. After as long as this one was, fully expect the Blues to run a raising lasting at least two hours.
The Blues respectfully declined the offer to watch the above ceremony and didn’t come out until the banner had almost reached the roof. Some might argue that they waited longer than that to show up. The Penguins riding that momentum scored seven minutes into the game. Sidney Crosby found the puck in the corner after the Blues failed to clear it out. Crosby finds Justin Schultz who then fires it at the net. Jake Allen didn’t even move on the play as there was no way he could have seen it. 1-0 Pens.
Moments later, the Blues tie the game at one thanks to a guy named “Not Jori Lehtera”. Brayden Schenn scores his first of hopefully many as a Blue. Schenn finds the loose puck behind the net. He sends it over to Schwartz, who then finds Carl Gunnarsson near the net. Gunnarsson passed it over Schenn who redirected it off his foot and in. There’s a difference between kicking it in and deflecting it in, and the Blues will take it as they tie the game at one.
Late in the period, the Blues found themselves on the powerplay. Parayko also found himself scoring his first goal of the year. (And to the shock of many with an intact stick after shooting it on goal) One of the Penguins defenders haphazardly centered the puck to a wide open Parayko. Parayko wrists the puck past Pens starter Matt Murray and gives the Blues the 2-1 lead at the end of one.
Shots for the period were even at 12.
With the Blues up 2-1 for most of the first half of the period, Jake Allen made a timely stop to keep it that way. Phil Kessel found himself with a prime scoring chance, but Allen made the sliding save to keep it 2-1 Blues. However, moments later, Chris Thorburn failed to clear the puck. This led to the Pens tying the game at one. Olli Maatta’s point shot made it’s way through a traffic jam and front and into the back of the net. Game now tied at 2.
After a Guentzel penalty for slashing, and a Blues penalty for too many men, the teams were four on four. Alex Pietrangelo broke the deadlock with his first of the year. Sobotka came in with the drop pass (that managed to not fail spectacularly) which allowed Pietrangelo to walk into the middle of the ice and score.
The Blues head into the third period with the one goal lead. Shots that period were 13-10 in favor of the Blues. First game overreaction number one, the second period will not haunt the Blues if they played like they did tonight.
The Blues scored goal number four thanks to Paul Stastny. Sobotka collects his second assist of the night (on pace for 164 assists) after finding Stastny open in the middle of the ice. Stastny finds an opening under Murray’s pad and extends the lead to two goals.
The Blues have still not figured out how to keep a two goal lead late in a hockey game. Two boneheaded penalties gave the Pens one of the two goals back. First, Robert Bortuzzo called for a pretty obvious tripping call. Then, just seconds later Brayden Schenn literally catches the puck and throws it out of the zone as if he were an outfielder. (One could argue he has a better arm than most ballplayers but that’s for another SBN blog to cover.)
Giving the Pens a two man advantage is not high on the list of smart NHL things to do. But the Blues did it and you probably guessed it, the Pens score making it 4-3. Crosby is credited with the goal after Malkin got the initial shot on goal.
The Pens completed their comeback when Conor Sheary scores on the one time chance from Greg McKegg (Sidenote: What an awesome name, am I right?). Pens tie the game with five minutes to go. At least it wasn’t with 30 seconds to go?
The Blues pick up the Gary Bettman participation point, and head to OT. Shots were 11-8 in favor of the Pens in the final period of regulation.
It only took one shot in overtime for the Blues to win it. OH CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN WITH THE TOE DRAG FOR THE WIN.
Despite giving up the lead late, the Blues battled and got outta Pittsburg with two points. Next up for the Blues is the Dallas Stars for the home opener. Remember to pick up the first edition of the GT paper while you’re there. If that wasn’t enough, the band got back together as Jeff Jones and Brad Lee bring you a new GT podcast. Check out the site for more information.
Player of The Game:
Obviously the nod goes to the captain, with Schenn getting an honorable mention. Minus the whole “I’m gonna prove I can throw a hockey puck farther than Jon Jay”
Tweet of The Night:
Flyers also traded Brayden Schenn for Jori Lehtera.....who is a healthy scratch on opening night.— Dead BOOsen (@GregBoysen) October 4, 2017