(Photo Credit: USA Today Network / USA Today Sports)
The Blues Came into This One Looking for Their 4th Win in a Row.
Vancouver had just 1 victory in their last 8 games. Throughout those 8, the Canucks have averaged a goal and a half per contest and have accumulated an ugly goal differential of -10. St. Louis looked to take advantage of this and collect some very much-needed points.
Vladimir Tarasenko was cleared to play and made his return to the Blues’ Roster. Vladi had sat out the last 2 after taking an elbow to the head against the New York Rangers on March 17th. The Blues adopted a shoot-first mentality. They really buckled down and played well without him the last few games. Regardless, St. Louis was anxious to get their sniper back.
Who’s Been Hot?
4 particular Blues players had played phenomenal in the last 3 games against the Rangers, Blackhawks, and Bruins. Captain, Alex Pietrangelo came into this one having collected 7 points in that span. Fellow defenseman, Vince Dunn, 5 points. Forwards, Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz both had registered 4 points in their last 3 games.
The Blues didn’t waste any time and got on the board quickly. There was a great pass across the ice from Alexander Steen to the tape of Alex Pietrangelo in the neutral zone. Petro then set up Patrik Berglund with a nice feed who capitalized on a beautiful backhand over the blocker side of Canucks goaltender, Anders Nilsson.
That’s the Big Swede’s 11th goal of the season. It’s been a rough one, but he sure has been playing well lately. This happened just 40 seconds into the 1st period. Also, Pietrangelo registered his 51st point of the season on the play. Carl Gunnarsson sustained an ACL injury in the 1st period and is done for the season. The Canucks were able to put 12 shots on goal in the first frame to St. Louis’ 4.
The clubs swapped goals in the 2nd period. Patrik Berglund did it again at 4:44 for his 12th. This time shorthanded. Kyle Brodziak made an impressive play to set this one up and Patrik beat Nilsson five-hole. This was Patrik’s first 2 goal game of the season. He’s done it 15 times now. About 10 minutes later, Henrik Sedin set up Sam Gagner who scored his 8th of the season and 150th of his career, but that’s all that the Canucks would get past Allen.
The Blues picked it up a notch in the 3rd period. Jaden Schwartz created a turnover in the corner and put the puck on net from the angle. Vladimir Tarasenko picked up the loose change and snuck one underneath the Canucks goaltender. That’s Vladi’s 28th goal of the season and it came just 14 seconds into the 3rd period.
With 2:29 remaining in the game, Dmitri Jaskin scored his sixth of the season. That sealed the deal giving the Blues a 3 goal lead. The Blues, however, went 0/3 on the power play. Still room for improvement there.
Jake Allen has won 6 of his last 7 starts. He played a great calm game. He looked confident as can be saving 19 of 20 Canuck shots on goal. There weren’t a lot of great opportunities for the Canucks in this game, but they played a good game against the Blues. The 1st period was theirs but Bergie capitalized early, and luckily, the Blues made a difference in that 3rd period to really twist the dagger.
The Blues now have 87 points on the season and there are 8 games left to play. 1 point out of a playoff spot, but that changes daily with how close everything is. Right now it’s win win win. One shift, one period, one game at a time. Next stop, Columbus.
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