Though ultimately a loss, the St. Louis Blues took a big step towards breaking their frustrating losing streak.
As Anaheim radio analyst Dan Wood put it, “If either of these coaches aren’t already taking blood pressure medicine…after tonight they will.” This game was a coaches nightmare. Blown leads, six shootout rounds, a disallowed OT goal, bad goaltending, and enough open space even Mardi Gras beads found the ice.
The 1st period was about as good as it gets. St. Louis peppered Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth with 11 shots, scoring three. The Blues played fast, and dominated puck possession in the offensive zone. It looked like St. Louis Blues hockey. Aside from Brian Elliott’s gaffe on Bobby Ryan’s soft wrist shot, it was their best period at home in some time.
The 2nd period got ugly. Anaheim probably had a stern intermission message from Bruce Boudreau, and they attacked a passive Blues team up 3-1. Boudreau said before the game the Ducks would eventually need their “top” guys to start scoring. Apparently it was well received. Teemu Selanne, Andrew Cogliano, and Ryan all scored less than two minutes apart, stunning the energized Scottrade crowd. Suddenly Anaheim led 4-3. The Ducks outshot St. Louis 11-6. Brian Elliott was flat-out bad.
The Note found their gear in the 3rd period, twice fighting back from a one goal deficit. When Hitch paired David Perron with Alex Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko, the line created shots and led the offensive surge.
The Ducks scored four times in six shootout attempts, twice with the game on the line to take the 2-points.
Brian Elliott is struggling. Perhaps there were signs of smoke when he allowed 15 goals in four games in the LA Kings series last year. He looks uncomfortable on every shot, and flailing way too easily. He has no chance on the slightest of dekes, something Anaheim exploited all night. His shootout performance was dreadful allowing four goals on six attempts. Jaroslav Halak could return as soon as Monday. If not, Jake Allen will start against LA.
All week, Hitchcock referenced how the “hockey gods” would make the Blues pay for the Nashville game. Be it deflections, strange bounces or bad goaltending — I think its time for those demons to find a new home. Breaking out of a demoralizing slump is hard, but the steps this team took Saturday foreshadow they’re on the brink.
- The Blues honored Wade Redden before the game for becoming the 280th player to reach 1,000 games played.
- The Blues banged home two power play goals extending their league leading PP to 36.6%
- Ian Cole dressed in favor of Kris Russell … Cole played well getting 24 minutes of ice time with Alex Pietrangelo. He registered 1 shot, but had three slap shots fire wide.
- Roman Polak was a -3
- Alexander Steen registered 6 shots
- Ryan Reaves had 5 hits
The Blues play Tuesday at home versus the Kings.