After a record setting October the Blues looked to continue their blistering pace as they hosted a Philadelphia Flyers team on the second night of a back to back. This game had all the markings for a Blues win: tired team, back up goalie and 4 rookie defensemen. What transpired made me feel like I was watching a Cardinals game against a rookie lefthander.
The first period started off promising for the Blues as they came out firing, recording 9 shots in the first five minutes including a two minute power play that owned the offensive zone for almost the entire penalty. In a sign of things to come, though, Michal Neuvirth stood tall and turned aside each and every shot.
Momentum started to swing to the Flyers with just under 13 minutes to go as Paul Stastny went to the box for holding. The Blues penalty kill, which hadn’t been up to snuff as of late, held the Flyers to 0 shots on the power play but the puck movement for the Flyers started to click. Following the penalty, Philadelphia continued to apply pressure in the offensive zone but Jake Allen matched Neuvirth save for save until the horn sounded.
Fans had hardly settled into their seats for the second period when the Flyers seemingly took the lead, didn’t take the lead and then eventually did take the lead. Brandon Manning, the most senior defensemen on the team, threw the puck into the net but it was immediately waved off for goalie interference. Philadelphia challenged the call on the ice and you can judge for yourself if they got the call right.
The Blues would get a chance to even things back up less than a minute later when they went back on the power play. As with their first man advantage there was plenty of pressure and great puck movement but nothing came of it. A mixture of missed shots and Ivan Provorov throwing his body in front of the other shots kept the Blues of the board and the crowd out of the game.
One of the Blues best chances came from former Flyer Brayden Schenn after he was sprung on a partial breakaway with about 12 minutes to go. Vladimir Tarasenko one touched a pass near the blue line that hit Schenn in stride but Neuvirth snagged the shot with his glove.
Schenn’s name came back up again a few minutes later when he surprised Sean Couturier with a shoulder near the head that almost brought the while Flyer team down on him. Couturier carried the puck into the Blues zone but lost control which is when Schenn laid into him. The hit drew a power play for Philly but the Blues were able to shut down the man advantage without allowing a shot.
The third would start with both teams down a man after Joel Edmundson and Provorov were sent to the box after an altercation at the end of the second. The Blues had a few chances early on but once again couldn’t get anything past Neuvirth. As the period wore on Philadelphia began to condense in their zone, clogging the middle of the ice and blocking almost every shot the Blues tried putting on net. When a clear shot was available everyone including Tarasenko seemed to miss the net.
The Flyers iced the game with 5.6 seconds to go as Claude Giroux hit the empty net for the 2-0 winner.
The loss snapped the Blues home winning streak at 5 games, giving them their first home loss of the season, the last team in the NHL to lose at home. After the emotional win on Monday against LA, this game was a let down. The Blues were able to put 33 shots on to the Flyers net but only a few were of a high quality. The loss drops the Blues to 10-3-1.
#3 - Ivan Provorov: 10 blocked shots
#2 - Brandon Manning: Game Winning Goal
#1 - Michal Neuvirth: 33 saves
The Blues host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night as they wrap up a four game homestand.