1st Period. Jets Strike First
The Blues came out strong but they were jammed in a little bit of a rough area when the Jets get a break from the pack and Jay Bouwmeester wraps his stick around Mark Scheifele to draw the first minor penalty for the Blues this year. Only thirty seconds into the PowerPlay for the Jets Scheiffele barely crosses over the blueline and then passes it over to Patrik Laine. Laine puts a wrister right over Allen’s glove. After the first goal in the game, We get to see a very impressive game from Jordan Kyrou, Samuel Blais, Ivan Barbeshev, and Robert Thomas. Although they did not score they showed that they had some grit and tenacity to their game. They also showed us one of the best shifts from the team all game in the offensive zone. They had incredible chemistry on the ice as they were able to find each other very quickly and efficiently on the ice. It seemed as though it would be a very defensive game between the two teams as they went into the 2nd Period.
What about Fabbri?
Fabbri, as everyone knows, is out for a little while with a pulled groin injury. I recently heard from Jamie Rivers and his crew on Blues NHL Podcast that this could be from the knee injury that has kept him out of an NHL game for the past two years. This freaked me out too. When I first heard it, I thought that he might have potentially tweaked his knee as well. However, this was not the case because he has been rehabbing that knee so much that the rest of his body may not be in as great condition as that knee is from the rehab. This means that the knee is strong as ever but the rest of his body may not have been ready to jump on the ice and play in a game-time situation.
A defensive battle ensued and Jake Allen looked very solid in the second period. The only problem was, so did Connor Hellebuyck. The Blues came out frustrated by their performance from the first period and really tried to lay the shots onto the Jets. The Jets being a very skilled team that made it to the Western Conference Final last year showed up to play and shut the Blues down, despite the strong attack in the second period.
8:35 remaining in the Second Period, Vince Dunn takes a tripping penalty which gives the Jets a chance on Allen but he stands tall against them during their Power Play. The Blues then get their first Power Play of the season at 5:01 as Trouba trips up Blais. The Blues put a lot of pressure on the Jets but, Hellebuyck would not let anything past him during the entire Power Play. This would not be the Blues final attempt at a Power Play during this period. They would get another opportunity at 52.3 seconds remaining as Tyler Myers ends up shooting the puck over the glass in the defensive zone for a delay of game penalty. The Blues would finish the period still on the Power Play but still putting together some very good interesting scoring chances.
These Shiny New Lines.
The Blues rolled out all the new lines tonight against the Jets with Kyrou, Thomas, Blais, Patrick Maroon, Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, and Tyler Bozak. We have not seen what they can fully do yet, but I think it is coming. All these new players on our offense need time to gel together. This may not happen in the first couple of games, but once it does I have a feeling we will see some explosive offense. I look forward to the big body of Maroon in front of the net similar to Backes, but potentially better. O’Reilly is one of the best faceoff players in the league and will help solidify us down the center and give us more chances to score in the offensive zone. Perron coming back for his third stint with the Blues is coming off of a 60 point season with the Golden Knights. I’m hoping that he will bring that same game to the Blues for the entire season to help us push for the Playoffs. Bozak, in my opinion, is a hidden gem. He was nowhere on anyone’s radar in St. Louis with all the hype about John Tavares, and O’Reilly. He brings a great faceoff percentage from the Toronto Maple Leafs and a nice grit to his game as well. Kyrou, Thomas, and Blais; I will bunch them together because they have a ton of potential to be amazing hockey players and they showed that in the preseason, which is why they made the opening night roster. I believe that once they find their game in the NHL this season they will be standout players for the entire season.
The Crushing Third Period.
Although the Blues came out on a Power Play they were unable to score a goal. The Blues then put some pressure on the Jets but then get another Power Play chance when Connor trips Alex Pietrangelo. I know every fan is thinking the third time is the charm! I wish I could say this was the case. The Blues get a wonderful chance against Hellebuyck but he lays down on his back and keeps the puck out of the net where it gets pushed out of the zone. Pietrangelo tries to make a diving play to keep it in, but it trickles past his stick and into the Neutral Zone. Lowry then picks it up and Pietrangelo does his best to chase him down, but can’t get ahead of him so he tries to make another diving play that goes wrong. Lowry then dangles Allen out of position and puts it five-hole to make it 2-0 with 14:09 remaining. As soon as the Blues Power Play ends Connor works a 3 on 2 down the ice and makes a pass across to the slot where Wheeler tips it past Allen’s glove side. to make it 3-0 at 13:05 The Jets right off of the faceoff put pressure on the Blues and the defense struggles to handle it. Trouba would then put a hard shot on net and Connor would catch it high and knock it down past Allen’s glove and into the back of the net to make it 4-0 with 12:25 remaining. The Jets and Blues would then bounce the puck back forth in each other’s offensive zones Tanev would put a shot on net while Jake Allen is out of position due to the play around him but Thomas made it look as though he kept it out. The NHL would actually call it a goal which makes it 5-0 with 9:55 remaining in the Third Period. The Blues would then get one last Power Play with 7:57 remaining in the third period.
The Blues come out and look very determined to score a goal. Maroon puts up a fight in front of the net but would be denied by Hellebuyck. Bozak right as the Power Play comes to an end makes a pass towards O’Reilly in the slot which bounces off his skate and goes to Dunn who rips a shot into Josh Morrissey‘s shin guard and bounces below Hellebuycks glove making it 5-1 with 6:50 remaining in the game. The Blues and Jets would battle it out for the remainder of the game but no other goals would be scored.
Post Game Thoughts…
I wanted to do nothing but blame Allen for this loss. However, this is not his fault due to the fact that defense fell apart on Allen in the third period. In a lot of areas, they could have been tighter especially in front of him. Allen did everything he could to keep the Blues in this game just look at the first two periods. Allen other than the third period had a very strong game and I hope to see them play better as a team on Saturday. I think once our offense starts gelling as well we will be able to make a big difference in the score compared to this one.