Last night’s 3-2 Blues win was their strongest game yet in a tournament that has seen the Blues dominate even strength but falter at special teams.
No one wants to stay up until 12:50 to finish a hockey game, so hopefully the Blues can build on last night’s success and finish this late starting match in regulation.
Last night’s game was, one by any account, a game that the Blues would’ve been forgiven for slipping in. No Alexander Steen on the fourth line to start sent the line combinations akimbo, and no Vladimir Tarasenko could’ve potentially neutered the offence a bit, if he was supplying any of that. It’s difficult to tell if it’s a matter of Tarasenko needing to find his game or if he’s being ginger with his shoulder, but last night he was deemed “unfit to play” and Jordan Kyrou was slotted into his place.
The results of last night’s scratches were unpredictable, but the players who carried the game were not: Sammy Blais and Robert Thomas were credited with assists on Justin Faulk’s second period goal, Ryan O’Reilly and Zach Sanford were credited on David Perron’s fourth goal of the postseason, and the game winning goal was netted by a member of the top six that fans have been looking at for production, Brayden Schenn.
The players who need to contribute contributed last night, including Faulk, who could be in the process of removing that monkey that’s been on his back all season long. Notably the penalty kill limited the Canucks to one power play goal, and it came from J.T. Miller, not Bo Horvat. Horvat was kept off of the scoresheet, and Quinn Hughes, the other thorn in the Blues’ side in games one and two, was limited to one secondary assist.
Schenn’s game winning goal in overtime should look familiar - it’s the same get behind the defense play that Hughes and Horvat pulled off in game two.
It’s nice to be on the good side of that kind of play in overtime, isn’t it?
“We feel the qualifying round (the round-robin) wasn’t great. But in the playoffs, each game we’re getting better. Hope it’s still a long series and we can keep building our team game.”
Which goaltender starts tonight is anybody’s guess, and the same goes for Tarasenko and Steen. Right now they’re both listed as “day to day.” If the team can get the same level of play tonight out of who they iced last night, these two key players being out may not matter much.