(Jeff Roberson – AP photo)
For the first time since February of 2018, the St. Louis Blues defeated a central division opponent other than the Chicago Blackhawks. The victim on this night was the Nashville Predators, falling 6-2 at the hands of the Blues.
The ‘Preds’, as some folks like to call them, handed the Blues their 3rd straight loss two nights prior in Nashville, but after a little turkey and dressing the boys had a taste for revenge and came out swinging, literally.
Just two seconds after the opening puck drop, Pat Maroon was tangled up with Austin Watson and both were whistled for fighting. If my memory serves me correctly, Watson was the one who put a hit on Vince Dunn in their previous meeting that sent Dunn to the locker room briefly.
One minute and 13 seconds later Brayden Schenn faced off with Ryan Hartman and those two went for a tumble. Schenn’s fight was 3 seconds after a faceoff causing some to say that Maroon won for the fastest fight. But, Schenn had to take the faceoff and skate 15 feet to get to Hartman, so technically it was a draw.
The message was sent that this team wasn’t just going to lay down and roll over for anybody. Interestingly, now that Craig Berube is the head coach, a guy who had 412 NHL fights and served 3,149 penalty minutes in his career, the Blues finally showed some physicality.
They were hitting people all over the place. Everyone was finishing checks and blocking shots. It was good old-fashioned Blues hockey on a night that the NHL deemed “Hockey Fights Cancer” night.
From the looks of things, you’d think Berube had convinced his team that the Predators were the ones responsible for cancer and it was “all their fault.”
Ivan Barbashev opened the scoring at the 9:26 mark with a nice little wrist shot past Juuse Saros. The goal was Barbie’s 2nd on the season and came on a 3-on-1 rush with a perfect give and go from Jordan Schmaltz.
Schenn answered with an unassisted goal at the 15:09 mark when he stole the puck and walked in on Saros all alone.
The Blues led 3-1 after 1 period and outshot Nashville 10-3.
Nashville outshot the Blues in the middle frame 13-8 but Jake Allen kept everything out of the net. In his last five games, Allen is 2-3-0. He has allowed 8 goals on 139 shots for a .942 save percentage and around a 1.6 GAA.
The play by Thomas was a creative play. Finding no room in front of the net, he took the puck behind the goal and found Fabbri all alone in front. These two were chatting all night on the bench and it looks like they are finding some chemistry.
Blues captain, Alex Pietrangelo had a solid game. His play to this point of the season has been anything but stellar. But tonight we saw a different #27. He hit Kyle Turris early in the game with a bone-crunching check along the boards. He dove and blocked a pass as the only guy back on a 2-on-1 break, and in the third period, he scored his 4th goal of the season on a beautiful pass from Schenn at the 14:50 mark. Thomas also assisted on the play.
Hartman added a goal for Nashville at the 16:13 mark for the final score of 6-2.
- I’ve thought the Blues were back on track a few times this season. The Toronto game. When they beat Chicago 7-3 and then Vegas 5-3. When they shutout San Jose 4-0. All of those times turned out to be flashes of good play only to disappoint us at the next game. Let’s hope we are seeing what this team is going to look like for the rest of the season.
- When you see this team play like they did tonight it validates what we have been thinking all along, because we knew this team was better than their record. Now, maybe these players will believe it about themselves and realize what it takes to win. Play like this every night boys.
- Remember, we are without Carl Gunnarsson, Alex Steen, Jaden Schwartz, and Robert Bortuzzo. And we still looked this good. Thank goodness for depth.
- Imagine a line of Thomas, Fabbri and Jordan Kyrou in future years.
- It looks like this team might have woke up. They face Winnipeg tonight. We shall see. Let’s go Blues!