The St. Louis Blues were looking to pick up from right where they left off against the Kings, and they did just that against Anaheim.
Saturday against LA; The entire St. Louis Blues roster played great across the board. Head Coach, Mike Yeo went with the same lineup for Monday night in Orange County. The boys went to work again, but there were also some adjustments to their game.
John Gibson came into this one having won 6 of his last 7 starts for the Ducks. The Blues didn’t register 40 shots on goal this time, but they played an all-around effective game. St. Louis was able to put four pucks past the 24-year-old net-minder. The Blues brought a little bit more physicality in this contest than the game prior, too.
Both teams remained scoreless until just two and a half minutes remained in the 1st Period when Robert Bortuzzo opened the scoring up. He’s done it for the second game in a row. This is the first time in his career that he has scored in back to back games.
He looked great. Robert was throwing the puck on net every chance that he got. The Blues needed that from him. He’s known for his physicality, but brings so much more to the club in my opinion. Bortuzzo is a smart player and seems to be a great teammate. I’m glad to see him get rewarded with some points.
Blues Up 1-0 Going Into The 2nd
3 minutes into the second period; Ivan Barbashev went to the front of the net and he was rewarded with a juicy rebound. Gibson had no chance on this goal. Nikita Soshnikov registered his first point as a Blue with an assist on Ivan’s goal. Soshnikov got a piece of Alex Pietrangelo‘s shot and redirected it before Ivan picked up the loose change.
Throughout the game, the two Russians, Barbashev, and Soshnikov proved to have some good chemistry together. They played really great together in LA in my opinion, too. They’re meshing and I don’t see Head Coach, Mike Yeo breaking them apart. Nikita was actually a +3 in this one. I think it’s safe to say that Blues fans like this kid. He’s made a great impression. I, personally, wasn’t anticipating #90 stepping up the way he has. Like a lot of you, I wasn’t sure what to expect but was hopeful. Now, I’m pretty excited for him.
Shortly after Barbashev’s goal, Ryan Getzlaf fed an extremely pretty pass through Jake Allen‘s goal crease. Corey Perry capitalized back door making the game 2-1 St. Louis. Perry was in the right spot at the right time to register his 15th goal of the year. Ryan Getzlaf recorded his 41st assist of the season.
With nearly 3 minutes left in the 2nd, Vladimir Sobotka received a pass on his backhand from Jordan Schmaltz. #71 pulled a spin move in front of the net and switched to his forehand to beat John Gibson. I jumped out of my seat when this happened. This put the Blues up by 2 goals. Sobotka played one heck of a hockey game. He’s now reached a career high in goals scored in a season with 10. Ivan Barbashev also registered his 6th assist of the season on the play.
The Final Frame
At 13:45 of the 3rd period, Chris Kelly let a shot go from the right circle which was deflected by Derek Grant past Jake Allen. Hampus Lindholm also received an assist on the play. Jake Allen was square with the shooter and was beat on the short side. The Blues found themselves up by one with plenty of hockey left to play. A clutch goal was needed.
Patrik Berglund provided just that. Just over 2 minutes later, Anaheim turned the puck over along the side boards to Kyle Brodziak in their own zone. Kyle made a pass into the slot for Patrik. Berglund sent a wrister to the top corner past Gibson’s glove side. The Ducks eventually pulled John Gibson for the extra attacker, but they were not able to gain any ground on St. Louis. That’s Patrik’s 9th goal this season.
The Blues looked good. Everyone was contributing. The boys were getting through the neutral zone quickly and effectively. St. Louis had a good forecheck going and they were putting their bodies on the line a little bit more than they did in LA on Saturday. The Blues were hitting more and they blocked more shots. Also, the St. Louis was able to win 51% of the faceoffs which is good for a club that is lacking in that department.
Dimitrij Jaskin had a really strong game and I just want to throw that out there. He was really working hard. Jaskin had one particular play where he came in on the forecheck and forced a turnover that resulted in a nice wrap-around attempt. I really enjoyed watching his game last night. Alex Pietrangelo registered 2 assists in this game and held a +1 rating. He’s continuing to play well.
Jordan Schmaltz was very effective and so was his partner Vince Dunn. I’m looking forward to getting Joel Edmundson back in the lineup, but it was great to see Schmaltz get on the board with an assist on the Sobotka goal. Speaking of Sobotka; What a game for him. He was effective everywhere on both sides.
Jake Allen was great and that’s been the story. In fact, He has saved 92 of 97 shots in his last 3 starts. I think he’s found some comfort in the net and I’m happy for him. The defense in front of him has been great and if the forwards can just keep scoring goals, the Blues might just be alright. It’s never been a goalie problem.
Now, the Blues focus on playing Colorado at home. The Avalanche are now 1 point ahead of the St. Louis Blues and hold the second Wild Card spot. Colorado also has a game in hand on St. Louis so this is another must win. The Avs are coming off of a 5-2 win against Arizona.