(Photo Credit: Bill Boyce / Associated Press)
The First Period
In a game that does not really decide our fate for the playoffs, it was mostly like watching a tennis match. The Blackhawks and the Blues went back and forth for almost the entire first period. Both teams had some solid chances. The Blackhawks almost got a break when Carter Hutton came out of his net and lost the puck to a Blackhawks player who then would pass it to Alex DeBrincat. DeBrincat would try to hit what was an open net, but Hutton would quickly shut him down. Late in the period, Alexander Steen would work the puck from behind the net out to Kyle Brodziak. Brodziak would then pass it out to Joel Edmundson, who put a wrister through a crowd of players where Patrick Berglund would tip the puck between the legs of J-F Berube for the game lead at 18:17. This would be the only goal scored for the first period and the Blues walk into the locker room with the lead at 1-0. The Blues also lead the Blackhawks in shots 10-5.
Carter Hutton Is Back
Although Jake Allen had many solid games during this final home stretch, he had played 14 consecutive games in a row and needed a break. Finally, we get to see Carter Hutton with an impeccable 2.13 GAA and a .930 Save% which is absolutely incredible for a backup goaltender. He has yet to disappoint us in this game. He has been an absolute brick wall all season long. I hope to see the Blues lock him up in the off-season. I think he will be able to benefit us for a few more years in the future.
Not sure if we should be excited or bummed out by the fact that there were no goals in the second period. Both Goaltenders had to make some great saves during this period to keep the game at 1-0. I can guarantee a lot of fans got on the edge of their seat when Vladimir Sobotka took a penalty at 10:08 in the period. Especially after the last game when the Blues did not kill penalties all that well. They were able to kill it off, though, and keep the lead going into the third. Something that should be noted for the Blues during this period is that they took shots from all over the ice. Whether it was from a weird angle or a tip on the net they were putting everything on goal. The Blues lead the Blackhawks in shots during this period as well 9-7. The grand total of shots thus far is 19-12.
Brodziak showing up in his last 10 games
Brodziak usually plays on the fourth line and does not see much ice time. Now he has been moving up into the third and even the second line. He was able to set up Patrick Berglund to take the lead at 1-0. He has been helping push this team over the hump and has made a huge difference. I look forward to more games like his past 10 especially if we are able to make it into the playoffs.
Well, the slow start turned into a red-hot third period! Before it became a one-sided game, the Blues would have a small breakdown where the Blackhawks would score. The Blues defense would collapse into our zone, and Patrick Kane would pass it out to Nick Schmaltz near the blueline. Nick Schmaltz would then pass it to Erik Gustafsson. Erik Gustafsson would then beat Carter Hutton blocker side to make the game 1-1. Now here is where the game really turns up the heat for the Blues. Sixteen seconds later Robert Bortuzzo would put a high wrister on net that would bounce of Brodziak and just as the puck hits the ice, Patrick Berglund would swat it past Berube on the Blocker side.
Later on, in the third period Brayden Schenn would dump the puck into the zone. The Blackhawks would try to snag it up but Brayden Schenn would grab it from the behind the net. Brayden Schenn then would pass it out to Jaden Schwartz who would put a wicked wrister past Berube’s glove to make it 3-1 at 12:40. The Blues were not finished even though they had a very solid lead. In the final 3 minutes of the period, the Blackhawks would pull Berube in hopes to make a comeback. Although this a very good idea to try and get more pucks toward the opposing goaltender, it would not work in the favor of the Blackhawks. Patrick Berglund would end up battling Duncan Kieth down the boards for the puck. Patrick Berglund would slap the puck over Duncan Kieth’s stick from the side boards and it would roll into the net to make it 4-1 at 18:49.
Patrick Berglund scored a Hat-Trick in this game in Chicago. He has 4 goals and 1 assist in his last 3 games against Chicago. This is incredible considering that he has been so dominant against this team this year. Patrick Berglund does not always score goals when we think he should, but when he does he is always able to amass a good amount of goals when it matters!
Game 82: For all the Playoff Marbles
The Blues will go marching into Colorado with the Wild Card Spot Saturday Night. The Blues will need one point tomorrow night. Meaning that they will need to either win in regulation or take the Avalanche to overtime to punch their tickets into the playoffs. I do believe that the Avalanche will come out battling for their season, but the Blues will need to shut them down. The Avalanche are 27-11-2 at home this season. The Blues are 20-14-6 while away from Scottrade Center. So it will make for a very good matchup between the two teams. I do, however, see the Blues riding the momentum created against the Blackhawks on Friday night. The Blues will be going with Jake Allen in net on Saturday. The Avalanche will be going with Jonathon Bernier due to Seymon Varlamov being injured.
Although the Blues are riddled with injuries, so are the Avalanche. The Avalanche just lost their best defenseman Eric Johnson and Semyon Varlamov. They have kept the team glued together down the stretch and now that they are out they have struggled to keep it going. Hopefully, the Blues will be able to pounce on this opportunity and make the playoffs! If the Blues do happen to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs it looks like they will be going up against the President Trophy winning Nashville Predators.