(Photo Credit: Jeff Curry-USAToday)
The St. Louis Blues played a fantastic road game against the Los Angeles Kings.
First thing’s first. The dynamic line of Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz, and Vladimir Tarasenko is back together. I’ve been waiting for this since Jaden Schwartz returned from injury. Blues fans everywhere are stoked. Especially, after yesterday’s performance. Vladimir Tarasenko hadn’t played with his favorite linemates in a good while, but they’re finally reunited. #91 looked excited about it.
The rest of the team responded, too. Everyone played very well. There was a big surge of energy that came from all angles. In fact, the Blues scored 7 goals on the Kings. It was a breath of fresh air to see this club bring the heat for once. They’ve had a rough go recently, but the fans were given a little hope after watching this game.
A Solid Start
Two goals came from the defense in the 1st period as Robert Bortuzzo and Colton Parayko gave the Blues an early lead. St. Louis jumped right into this contest and didn’t waste any time. Ivan Barbashev set Bortuzzo up with a beautiful backhand feed. Robert showed no hesitation and beat Jonathan Quick under his glove arm. Parayko was set up by Patrik Berglund with a diving pass from in front of the net. Colton’s goal was an absolute blast from the right circle.
The Second Period
Los Angeles answered with a goal from Drew Doughty about 13 minutes into the 2nd period to make it 2-1 St. Louis. Doughty’s goal was a great play. He attacked the net with speed and was set up by Anze Kopitar in front of the net for a one-timer. The Blues, however, answered with two goals of their own. One more coming from the defense, again.
Alex Pietrangelo received a great pass from Jaden Schwartz. He made his way to the front of the net and capitalized on a give and go with Kyle Brodziak. Shortly after, Vladimir Sobotka sent the puck to Ivan Barbashev in the neutral zone who made a speedy individual effort to get on the board. The Blues found themselves up 4-1 going into the 3rd period.
Jack Campbell came into the game for the LA Kings starting the third period. This was actually only his 4th career appearance in the NHL, and he buckled under pressure. Just 26 seconds in, Vladimir Tarasenko one-timed a puck past Campbell after receiving a great pass through the slot from Jaden Schwartz. Just 32 seconds later, Alexander Steen assisted Kyle Brodziak who also beat Campbell with a nifty backhander to put the Blues up by 5 goals.
It wasn’t over yet. Just over 12 minutes into the final period, Tarasenko left a drop pass for Jaden Schwartz who carried it in and sniped top corner. Schwartz now has 49 points in 48 games played. The only answer that the Kings had for the Blues was a power play goal near the very end of the game. Anze Kopitar originally fed Jeff Carter a pass who’s shot was blocked by Colton Parayko. Dustin Brown found himself wide-open and capitalized on Jake Allen.
A Team Effort
Seven different St. Louis Blues players scored goals yesterday against the Los Angeles Kings. Now, that’s something to be excited about. Also, 12 different Blues were able to register assists. Alex Pietrangelo was an extremely impressive +5 in the plus/minus category which is a career best. Schwartz had himself a 3 point performance. Also, Barbashev, Tarasenko, and Brodziak put up multi-point games.
Jake Allen put on a show yesterday, saving 41 of 43 shots on goal. He’s looking extremely confident. I’m so glad to see him finally receive some goal support and I’m hopeful that the Blues can carry this trend over to the next game. Jonathan Quick allowed 4 goals and Jack Campbell allowed 3 on a total of 40 shots by the Blues.
A Closer Look
Believe it or not, there were some areas that the Blues were lacking in. Despite winning the game by 5; St. Louis was unable to capitalize on the power play, going 0-3. The Note was able to win just 38% of the faceoffs yesterday, but that’s expected with how thin the club is at center-ice.
St. Louis registered 13 hits to Los Angeles’ 30, but the Blues really held control of the game, and I don’t feel there was much urgency to become physical. That’s still something that they’ll want to look at and improve on for the next stretch of games.
St. Louis did allow 40 shots on goal, but I think it’s smart to let a goaltender see pucks. The boys did a great job of that yesterday. It’s one thing to put your body on the line and block shots for your goaltender. It’s another to trust him enough to give him a clear view, and that’s the approach that they were taking. It was a recipe for success in yesterday’s win, but won’t always be. The Blues will have to balance that out a bit in my opinion.
The Saint Louis Blues are now 3 points behind the Colorado Avalanche who sit in the last Wild Card spot. The Avalanche have won 5 of their last 10, but have lost 2 of their last 3. Colorado will be playing in Minnesota on Tuesday. That’s a game you’re going to want to watch if you can.
If The Avs lose to the Wild, and the Blues can pull off a win in Anaheim; St. Louis will find themselves just one point out of the second Wild Card position. The Ducks have won 6 of their last 10, but have lost 2 in a row. The Blues will look to take advantage of that and carry this momentum into the next few games. St. Louis will play Colorado Thursday at home. That’s going to be a very important matchup.