With a little help from former teammate Ben Bishop, who won his 1st game with Ottawa against New York, the Blues win over Anaheim puts them at 93 points and a clear shot at the Presidents’ Trophy.
Now that’s a bit premature with 14 games remaining…but never too early to think about it from this side of the glass.
The Blues had another lackadaisical start Thursday against the Ducks. Anaheim lulled the Blues into playing their style. The Blues really find themselves in a funk when they forget who they are. They are not finesse; spread the ice, end-to-end hockey club. They are big, physical, and want to outwork opponents because they can. A beautiful first period goal by Corey Perry woke the sleeping beast. The Blues scored 3 unanswered goals and kept the Ducks from gaining traction on the 8th spot in the West. Anaheim had been playing good hockey coming in with 42 points attained since January 1st, second to only the Blues’ 44.
The Blues are tied for 1st in the NHL with a .484 winning % when the opposing team scores first.
The once abysmal power play is on fire. Since the All-Star break, the PP is hovering around 30% and up to 17% for the season. Andy McDonald’s speed creates total havoc for opposing special teams.
The Ducks had an opportunity early in the 3rd, game tied at 1, when BJ Crombeen took a hooking penalty at 2:05. The PK unit allowed only 4 shots on goal in 3 power play chances for Anaheim. The Blues responded with a Patrik Berglund tip-in at 4:47 before David Backes buried them with a PP goal at 6:48.
It’s almost become comical with how opposing broadcasters leave the booth each night, “this is a good hockey team, kid”.
The Blues are just a good team. Jaroslav Halak’s emergence in net comes at the best time. Halak is the #1 goalie here. He’s paid like a one, he needed to play like a one…and he is. Halak has won 7 straight. His goals-against-average is 1.86. Halak is fresh heading into postseason play. Thanks to Brian Elliott, the goaltending duo has basically split duties. We all remember 2010 … when Halak was just flat-out sick.
Playoff hockey folks.
Alex Pietrangelo says don’t discount the so-called “lack of experience”:
If the season ended today, the Blues would have home-ice advantage against San Jose, who they swept 4-0 in the season series. San Jose is a favorable matchup for the Blues.
The unfavorable possibility is Nashville. Preds goalie Pekka Rinne is 12-5-3 in his career against St. Louis with a 1.85 GAA. Say the Blues don’t win the central, they would likely own the #4 seed, which plays the #5…likely Nashville.
Right now the Blues feel they can win against anybody, just ask Petro.