The St. Louis Blues ALMOST lifted the monkey off their back on Friday night, but Bo Horvat had different plans and scored the game-winning overtime goal to give the Vancouver Canucks a 2-0 series lead.
Here are three key takeaways from the series thus far that can help propel the Blues to a victory:
1). Stay out of the box. I think it’s safe to assume that everyone saw this key coming. The Canucks finished the regular season with the fourth best power play in the league, and haven’t slowed down since entering the bubble. St. Louis needs to stay disciplined for game three, and continue to sustain pressure in Vancouver’s zone. Our eyes aren’t deceiving us; it’s very apparent that the Blues are the better team 5-on-5, and need to keep it that way.
2). Play physical, and play the body, not the puck. If the Blues are going to come back in this series, it’s going to turn out to be a long one. The Canucks are a young and inexperienced playoff team, who have yet to be tested physically. St. Louis will need to finish checks and play a hard full 60 minutes to force Vancouver to go the distance in the series.
3). Know where Bo Horvat is at all costs. Bo’s two goals in game one proved to not be a fluke, as he showed the same performance in game two. His confidence is at an all-time high and isn’t afraid to shoot the puck or dangle around our defense. The Blues will need to put more pressure on Horvat and force other Canucks to step up under pressure (ie. Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser).
Here is one silver lining to the Blues’ current situation. This is St. Louis’ chance to end the hopes of a team up 2-0, as previous Stanley Cup Champions have done to us in the past. In 2013, the Blues were up 2-0 against the champion Los Angeles Kings before the Kings came back and won the series 4-2. Same as in 2014, when St. Louis was up 2-0 against the champion Chicago Blackhawks before the Hawks came back and won the series 4-2. Now it’s our turn. Let’s turn this series around.