Believe it or not, the Carolina Hurricanes lost last night. The team with the best start in the NHL fell to the Philadelphia Flyers last night 2-1, giving the team just their second loss all season. The Blues also lost their last game, a 4-3 overtime loss against the Nashville Predators, who the Blues haven’t beaten since the Obama administration (at least it feels like it).
Neither team was particularly happy with their performance, but it was the Blues who blew a two-goal lead to the team whose backup was in net. The first period was all about capitalizing on chances but - stop me if you’ve heard this before - the second and third period they took their foot off of the gas and allowed Nashville to dictate the pace of play. As Jordan Kyrou put it:
“We were forechecking hard, we were all over the puck making plays. I think the second period, we kind of let off the gas a little bit. We gave them some leeway and they scored those two goals.”
That quote could come from any selection of games last year, and from a couple this season. Despite the stumbles on Thursday, and the fact that they couldn’t cleanly put away the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, the Blues still sit atop the Central Division by a point.
Tonight’s opponents are tied with the Washington Capitals atop of the Metro. It doesn’t matter how good you are in today’s NHL - there will always be someone nipping at your heels.
if the Blues want to still be atop the Central after tonight’s game, they can’t afford to take their foot off of the gas even for a moment. Team points leader Andrei Svechnikov (7G, 8A) can easily make the Blues pay for even the slightest defensive lapse. After a bit of goaltender confusion this summer where GM Don Waddell let Petr Mrazek and James Reimer go and traded young upstart Alex Nedeljkovic to the Detroit Red Wings, many people worried that the weakest part of the Hurricanes lineup would be in net. Not so - Frederik Anderson is having himself a season, going 9-2-0 this year with a teeny 1.78 GAA. Thankfully, he played last night, so the Blues will be seeing former Shark Antti Raanta in net.
The Blues have won four of their last five games against the Hurricanes, but Carolina has turned up their play since the Blues saw them last. It’s going to be a tough return for Justin Faulk, but maybe he - and the rest of the Blues’ defense - will be motivated to get that win.