Well, so far so good. The Blues rode into L.A. anxious to get this five game trip started. Despite toting a four game winning streak with them there was no guarantee that the Blues would find success in the state of California.
Although there were some doubts of the team’s performance, especially from yours truly, the Blues were able to match the intensity of the Kings the entire night. And the Blues did it while looking calm, cool and collected. Keeping the offensive pressure on the Kings late into the third period. Something that we Blues fans have been begging for all season long.
Former trade partners David Perron and Magnus Pajaarvi led the offensive charge for the Blues, notching goals mid-way through the second and early in the third period. Both goals were a direct result of players going to the front of the net.
Although general manger Doug Armstrong has had some hiccups this year, one move that has paid off in spades is bringing winger David Perron back to St. Louis. After the departure of David Backes and Troy Brouwer the Blues were desperate for anyone who was willing to play in front of the opposing goal. David Perron has turned out to be just that guy. His 14 goals are third most on the team, tying him with the better compensated Alexander Steen and Jaden Schwartz.
Perron has made it his personal mission to setup shop just outside the opposing goalie’s crease and was able to rattle veteran goaltender Jonathan Quick on more than one occasion Monday night. If the Blues hope to have success down the stretch then the physical play of Perron, Berglund and Broziak are going to be a necessity.
However, the real story has been the about-face of Blues goalie Jake Allen. During the months of December and January, Allen’s record was 4-10-0 with a .876 save percentage and a 3.50 GAA. Then Feb. 1st happened. The Blues fired head coach Ken Hitchcock and goalie coach Jim Corsi, Mike Yeo made some tweaks to the Blues defensive scheme and Martin Brodeur took Allen under his wing.
Since that day Allen has went 9-5-0 with a .941 save percentage. During the month of March he is 4-0-0 and has a .957 save percentage while giving up 5 goals in 4 games. Three of which were against the Ducks last Friday night.
Whether you believe that Jake Allen’s play led to the Blues horrible defense or, if you’re like me, you believe that the poor play in front of him led to the abysmal record, there is no question that a turnaround has happened. From February 2nd until today, Jake Allen has become the goaltender the Blues desperately need him to be. And it couldn’t have happened at a better time.
After dropping five straight during the end of February the Blues are taking a five game winning streak into Anaheim and look to widen the gap between the 9th placed Kings.
If it feels like the Blues just played the Ducks, well, that’s because they just did. Not much has changed for the Blues or for the Ducks since their last meeting Friday night except for their respective spots in the standings. The Blues are clinging to the final wildcard spot while the Ducks have slipped from second in the Pacific division to third behind the surging Calgary Flames.
The Ducks are 3-2 in their last five, with wins coming against Washington, Chicago and Nashville and have won 4 of their last five home games. Ryan Getzlaf leads the team with 56 points, followed by Ryan Kesler (50) and Corey Perry (46). Goalie John Gibson is 23-16-8 this season with a .921 save percentage.
As the Blues settle into their long road trip they can expect another playoff style game tonight. Can the Blues make it six in a row? Why the hell not.