The Blues barely iced a complete roster against the Florida Panthers this afternoon, and that fact probably makes the 4-3 loss sting significantly less. The Blues, were already short David Perron, Klim Kostin, and James Neal to injury, and Tyler Bozak to Covid-19, when they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday night in a shootout.
By the time the team had a rematch against the Bolts on Thursday night, they were also short Jordan Binnington and Justin Faulk. The Blues, in front of Ville Husso, hung around against the Lightning before losing 4-2.
Icing seven defensemen and 11 forwards isn’t what the Blues wanted to do against the league’s best team today, either, but thankfully the team got career performances out of the fourth line, especially Dakota Joshua and Logan Brown Ville Husso, and this guy:
Yep, you are reading that correctly. Robert Bortuzzo’s one man stickless show on the penalty kill during overtime. He was out there for the final minute and 16 seconds, using his body to ensure that the Blues had a chance to make it to the shootout.
You can’t get mad at a team who are short six players for taking it to overtime against the Panthers, especially when you’re getting Brown scoring his second goal in three games and Jake Walman making the most out of his time up. The top talent regulars are out. Their starting goaltender is on the Covid-19 list.
The Blues have responded with the backup doing this:
If you were concerned about Husso starting games for two and a half weeks straight, you should feel a little better. Thanks to Husso and the penalty kill, they forced the Panthers to go scoreless with four power play opportunities.
If you were concerned about the Blues’ defense, well, they have Robert Bortuzzo.
The Blues see the Panthers again on Tuesday evening, but it sounds like Chief thinks they’re in a good place:
Berube: "The goalie played really well. Guys battled, had to kill some penalties in the third and overtime. They battled. We've got to work on some things for sure. We play them again (Tuesday). We'll look at the tape and we'll get better." #stlblues— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) December 4, 2021
All things considered, the Blues are in good shape for the back end of this home and home, or at least as good of shape as they can be in.