Once upon a time, Pat Maroon was headed out of town prematurely.
In early January, Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic wrote a piece about an upcoming home game against Dallas potentially being the Oakville native’s last game in St. Louis. After a rocky start to his season that was about as timely as a jog after eating a slinger at a diner, Maroon was getting close to the trade block.
Thankfully, he never left.
Maroon caught fire right as the Blues did, becoming the net front presence the team paid for when they brought him home last summer. He ended up with 10 goals, 28 points, and peace of mind in knowing his role on the team. Truth be told, he settled in with the young Robert Thomas and the pesky Tyler Bozak, forming a trio of disturbers other teams weren’t ready for.
It was Maroon’s resourceful third line that landed the biggest blows during Game 3 in Dallas on Monday night. Bozak scored earlier in the game, but Maroon’s second goal of the playoffs would prove to be the equalizer the Blues needed to charge ahead in this series.
With 1:38 left in regulation, Maroon gathered the puck from behind the net on a dump-in pass from the blue line, took it in front of the net, and planted a nifty shot above Ben Bishop’s right shoulder. Those baby soft hands came in handy on this one. Before he could score, though, Maroon had to deal with some drama in front of the net.
It was hard out there for a Blue, because the Stars were flopping like MLS soccer players. Esa Lindell got an early start on the 2020 Academy Awards with his flop in front of the net on Maroon’s game-winning goal. Maroon got himself into position for the pass behind the net, shoving off Lindell, who proceeded to collapse to the ice like a White Walker would after eating some Valyrian steel.
Check out the play.
From nearly being released or traded in January to scoring the deciding goal in the second round of the playoffs, the Pat Maroon story gains resonance by the week. Sometimes, things take time. Perhaps Maroon’s back surgery required more time than initially thought, causing him to not execute his game on the ice. Like Jaden Schwartz, he could have simply been saving his goals for the right time.
What else? Let’s do five.
*Robert Bortuzzo is a polarizing defenseman. Some think he is a necessary brute while others thing he’s a unnecessary penalty taker. I currently sit with the latter crew. He gets a rise out of opposing players, but his methods aren’t always practical. Don’t be stupid, Bob.
*Schwartz added his sixth goal of the postseason. 12 days ago, he had zero. Nice turnaround.
*One of Craig Berube’s greatest strengths as a coach is making necessary changes during a playoff game. He’s done that a few times this month. Sign him up already.
*Jordan Binnington wasn’t great, but made the big saves when he needed to. 28 saves, including more point blank attempts that a guy named Snake Ballen may have allowed.
*I like Vince Dunn’s game, even if it’s still raw and requiring polish. He’s learning on the fly, and becoming a top defenseman in this league rather quick. Some nights are better than others, but remember he is just 22 years old.
Tomorrow night’s game is at 8:30 p.m. CST, so prepare yourself. Get your rest, stock up on alcohol, and be prepared to walk into work Thursday morning a little hazy. Hopefully, a 3-1 lead will be the cure for your tired eyes.
Good day, Blues loyals.