The St. Louis Blues welcomed the Carolina Hurricanes for the first time this year and came away with a 4-1 win. Chad Johnson was the story and the Blues rode him and an opportunistic first period to beat a banged up Canes team.
Follow along with me as we relive a game that no one watched with election results pouring in.
Both teams were coming into the game after rather listless losses in their previous tilts. With news that Joel Quenneville got the ax earlier in the day, the hot seat for Mike Yeo may be reaching scorching levels.
Carolina dominated large portions of this period and tested Chad Johnson early and often. Coming into the game as the league leader in team shots, Carolina knows how to throw frozen rubber at the net and Johnson was challenged to make a flurry a saves in the first minute. Jordan Martinook and Lucas Wallmark will be filing burglary charges on Chad Johnson after the game tonight.
With the Blues defense still a work in progress the offense has to be opportunistic and that’s just what they were. After killing a couple early slashing calls a turnover in front of Curtis McElhinney tuned into Ryan O’Reilly’s 5th goal of the year, a slick poke check and a perfect pass found ROR for an easy roofed goal.
Then after a flurry of chances for Carolina that included an Andrei Svechnikov post ringer and a rebound save by Johnson, the Blues sprung. Robby Fabbri scored an emotional goal off of a pretty two on one break with David Perron. Fabbri’s first goal in 2 years.
A play kind of lost in this fevered first was a wrister that squeezed under the arm of Chad Johnson, as the puck trickled in the crease Ryan O’Reilly scooped it out of harm’s way. O’Reilly continues to be the best player on the Blues… #FightMe.
A late power play for Carolina trimmed the deficit when Jaccob Slavin wristed a shot from the point that Johnson couldn’t see through a screen, it seemed like the Blues were headed into the break only up by one. Until a dumb slash by Nicolas Roy on a bad angled shot by Ryan O’Reilly put the Blues and their suddenly deadly Power Play on the hunt late in the period. They didn’t waste any time.
Blues 3 Hurricanes 1
A plodding period with more good forechecking by the Hurricanes. Johnson was sturdy in net making a string of good saves around the seven-minute mark of the period. Blues were hemmed in a lot of this period and struggled to get anything going.
The Blues are struggling to generate faceoffs in the offensive zone, and with that, they lack the ability to sustain pressure. It’s a dangerous game they play and Johnson is keeping them in it.
Finally some life! Fabbri-Perron-Thomas has been the best line and Fabbri set up Vince Dunn with a nice pass late in the second, McElhinney made the stop.
Blues survive the second on the back of Johnson as the Hurricanes led in shots in the 2nd 13-3.
Blues 3 Hurricanes 1
Blues came out stronger in the third able to sustain a fair bit of pressure throughout the first 4 minutes and forcing the Hurricanes to take another penalty. Good time to mention that the penalty kill for the Blues tonight has been really adequate tonight, smart clearances and really steady play by Alex Pietrangelo.
That being said, besides the early O’Reilly goal the Powerplay studdered tonight. Much like the Blues play tonight it seemed disconnected at times and the Powerplay opportunity that the Blues forced early in the third period was sloppy and served only to take 2 minutes off the clock.
Turnover at the 13:18 to go mark had Johnson continue his impressive play as he stoned Brock McGinn.
More bad penalty calls as the NHL continues to trot out replacement referees…. wait they are the real ones?!? Anyway, Johnson continues to shine as the Hurricanes continue to pepper the Blues nets with more volcanized Latvian rubber. Johnson stayed strong throughout and with the Canes pressing they pulled the goalie late.
Mr. O’Reilly put in the empty net to notch his first NHL hat-trick.
- Good win for the Blues and Mike Yeo, he needed this win and though it had its moments of sloppiness and timidness, the Blues put enough good together to win. Chad Johnson was great.
- Jay Bouwmeester sat as a healthy scratch with Mike Yeo adding that it would give time for Jay to keep rehabbing an ailing hip. We have not heard of his hip still bothering him until this disclosure today.
- Ryan O’Reilly continues his 8 game point streak, longest in his career.
- Scheduled off day for Jake Allen
- Tightly called game lots of penalties, NHL has to work with teams and referees to provide better flow.
- Chad Johnson has incredible fundamentals. Very square to the puck and the defense does a better job collapsing to help him clear rebounds. It’s the defense you want to see when Allen is in net. It’s the defense we haven’t seen consistently enough.
- Colton Parayko and Vince Dunn still need to make better decisions in getting the puck out of the zone. Too many turnovers in the neutral zone.
- O’Reilly has 19 points this year, Tage Thompson–Patrik Berglund–Vladimir Sobotka have a combined 7.
- O’Reilly (5,6,7)
- Fabbri (1)