Colton Parayko and The Blues visited the Pepsi Center to take on the Avs. He’d have himself a night.
Robert Bortuzzo suited up to play his 6th of the season after missing the last 16. He and Jay Bouwmeester would partner on the third pairing. Vince Dunn and Colton Parayko for the second, and Joel Edmundson to the left of Alex Pietrangelo.
Alexander Steen was moved up to the first line for this one. He’d partner with Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko. David Perron was also moved up in the line-up. DP57 would play the second right wing across from Robby Fabbri, centered by Brayden Schenn.
The two bottom lines intrigued me. Patrick Maroon on the left side once again, centered by Tyler Bozak and Sammy Blais on the right wing. Nothing against Robert Thomas, but I suppose Blais gets a shot in this one because the rookie (Thomas) had a rough game in Detroit.
Colorado Avalanche had won 6 games in a row.
The Blues have been an inconsistent mess.
The Blues came into this game with their heads on straight and got off to a decent start.
Nathan MacKinnon was slashed by Joel Edmundson early. MacKinnon was flying in on the right wing. It was a good choice by Eddie to slash him because it would have been a prime scoring chance.
Barbashev saw himself a short-handed opportunity but his backhander was denied by Semyon Varlamov. Later, during that penalty kill, Tyler Bozak made a great block in the slot.
Jake Allen made a huge save on Vladislav Kamanev which resulted in a turnaround, and a Blues goal.
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) December 1, 2018
Erik Johnson sent an outlet pass across two blue lines to Vladislav Kamanev who skated it in behind the defense. Kamanev rushed in with speed and was denied by Jake Allen’s right pad.
In the video, you don’t see it, but Ivan Barbashev made a great defensive play to clear the zone at the end of this penalty kill. Have your apple and eat it, Ivan. Without that effort, this goal doesn’t happen. Also, It was pretty helpful that Joel Edmundson had just come out of the penalty box.
Joel then tipped the puck into the middle of the ice to Vladimir Tarasenko who carried it into the offensive zone and scored five-hole on Varlamov to put the Blues up 1-0.
Vince Dunn dropped the gloves with Ian Cole, and Cole got the best of him in a very short bout. Regardless, it’s always good to see your players stand up for themselves.
That Nikita Zadorov is really big. He took Zach Sanford down, and at first, I was thinking, “Somebody, go get that guy”, then I realized how big he was.
Varlamov made a key save on O’Reilly with his left shoulder. He was set up by Tarasenko with a great play that very well could have been a goal. Gotta give Semyon that one.
We saw Edmundson throw a swing at Mikko Rantanen in frustration, and I like it. Not rough enough to take a penalty, but providing that physicality that straddles the line is good in my book. Show me more of that emotion.
With 5:27 left in the opening period, Rantanen was later called for an interference penalty involving Alex Pietrangelo. He was actually the recipient of a pretty good hit on this play, but he’d sit for 2 minutes.
This was St. Louis’ first Power Play, and the Blues were having a ton of trouble entering the zone. They weren’t able to make anything happen, going shotless on the PP. Just a bunch of failed attempts to get in and get set up.
Minutes later, Colin Wilson got a high stick up on Ivan Barbashev. This Power Play looked much better this time around, but the Blues wouldn’t get on the board until just 10 seconds remained in the man advantage. Who other than Alexander Steen to make some magic happen. Many fans were frustrated with the fact he’d been moved up to the 1st line for this game, but he made a difference.
He notched himself an unassisted Power Play Goal. This was just a great individual effort. A well deserved goal for Steener, and it was good to see him come through when called upon.
I’m aware that Alexander Steen is not a 1st line player at this point in his career, especially when considering the other players on this roster. That’s not where he belongs from game to game. But, there’s no reason you can’t throw him up there to make an example out of his veteran IQ from time to time. When the club simply isn’t playing a responsible game, this is an option. Unfortunately, Steen would leave the game, but we’ll get to that later. Here is his goal…
We see Patrick Maroon right there where he should be on a play that Alexander executed quite quickly.
The Blues got off to a good start. St. Louis was getting more on net in the beginning, but the Avs inched their way back to tie the blues in shots on goal (12) before the period was over with.
1:08 into the 2nd frame, the big guy I mentioned earlier, Nikita Zadorov gets on the board. He originally took a shot from the left point which looked to be blocked by Brayden Schenn, Alex Pietrangelo, or an Avs player. Brayden Schenn quickly took a reactionary wack at the puck which would end up back with Zadorov who let a one-timer go through traffic.
Alexander laid a clean and powerful hit on Nathan MacKinnon at the St. Louis blueline. Erik Johnson then chose to retaliate by targeting Alexander Steen’s head with his elbow. Johnson received a 5-minute major and left the game charged with a game misconduct. Steener was off to the locker room and would not return.
Joel Edmundson was involved with Johnson in the scrum that followed the hit on Steen and received a roughing penalty, so we’d see some 4 on 4 play. The Blues then failed to capitalize on the man advantage for 3 minutes. There were good opportunities on this Power Play, but the Blues didn’t finish.
Zach Sanford went to the box for hooking with 4:48 remaining in the period. On the Avalanche Power Play, Gabriel Landeskog looked to score five-hole on Jake Allen who closed up to make the key save. Colorado was unable to capitalize on the Power Play for the second time.
The Blues were able to put 18 shots on goal in this period. Colorado reached the net 5 times.
I saw some great offensive chemistry between Robby Fabbri, Brayden Schenn, and David Perron in the third. They just seemed to know what each other were thinking. They skate as a unit and support one another well. Opportunities were there.
However, it was a David Perron penalty early in the period that would result in a Colorado Power Play Goal scored by Mikko Rantanen.
As much as I applauded David Perron on Wednesday, he’s been directly responsible for both goals against tonight. A turnover on the first one, a penalty on the second after failing to get a puck in when given the chance. #stlblues
— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) December 1, 2018
Here’s the goal…
The Blues had already shut the league’s best Power Play down twice. Now you’re pushing it.
We then saw a wild deflection hit Allen’s post and he definitely didn’t see it. I didn’t note who shot or deflected the puck, but the Blues caught a break there.
About halfway through, Vladimir Tarasenko stole the puck behind the Avalanche net. He created a solid chance in front. I’m pretty sure it was O’Reilly there for the finish but Varlamov was in position for the save.
With 7:44 remaining, Jake Allen made a huge save on Colin Wilson.
The Blues were giving us a game. Patrick Maroon and Sammy Blais were really working well together, cycling the puck, keeping it in the zone and just being at the right spots at the right time for one another. They looked really effective.
Alex Pietrangelo left in the third period due to a hand injury. Joel Edmundson and Colton Parayko really played a lot toward the end of this game. Hopefully Alex is okay and this is nothing serious.
4:45 left in the 3rd, Edmundson was given an interference penalty. The Blues were able to kill the Colorado Power Play, and Jake Allen came up big again, this time on Rantanen.
This One Needed OT
The Blues went with two defensemen and a forward for the 3 on 3 play while the Avs did the opposite. Edmundson and Parayko were out there.
Colton had himself some fun. First, he set up Ryan O’Reilly in front with a great chance, but that was denied yet again by Varlamov.
Ryan O’Reilly then had another chance but fired high. Ian Cole was able to block a shot by Vladimir Tarasenko.
Then, Colton won the Blues their first one-goal game of the season, their first over-time win, and was it a beauty.
Stepping stones. The Blues played a full 60 minutes, and against a great team. There was a willingness to block shots, be physical, and shut down passing lanes. The Blues received fantastic goaltending from Jake Allen. The defense was much tighter, and most importantly, the boys didn’t give up.
Robert Bortuzzo played a responsible 14:31. He and his partner Jay Bouwmeester were even (+/-) for the night. I’ve always thought that Robert Bortuzzo would be the right guy to pair with Jay because their strengths complement one another.
Always great to see Tarasenko get on the board, but to me the goal of the game belongs to Alexander Steen. You just love to see a guy look like his old self for a moment. We know that’s not something we should get used to, but Dan Buffa said it well…
When Alexander Steen first game to the #stlblues ten years ago, he had a rocket of a shot. It was quick and accurate. He shot more often too.
That goal there reminded me of those first few years. Wow.
— Dan Buffa (@buffa82) December 1, 2018
This game consisted of a solid start, effective penalty killing, capitalizing on the power play, standing up for your teammates, big time saves, and all around better defensive play. There was also a dirty hit, and I don’t think the Blues are going to forget about it.
I saw heart in this one. It could have went either way, but that’s what is important. The Blues have finally won a close game. I’ll say it again. Finally.
Am I happy? No, not yet. The Blues need to beat Arizona. Three days off, then beat Edmonton at home. Then I’ll be happy.
Thanks for reading, Blues fans.