(USA Today Sports photo)
St. Louis, MO – As the Blues attempt to start a new winning streak, the Boston Bruins come to town trying to extend their own stretch of 7 straight wins to 8. The Bruins are red-hot and have notched points in every game since the All-Star break going 9-0-3.
St. Louis fell 5-2 in Dallas on Thursday and will look to play the spoiler to the Bruins in the 3 PM start.
February has been a brutal schedule for the Blues with games every other day and no more than one consecutive game at home all month. They will travel back to Minnesota after this one for their third back-to-back weekend this month.
We expect to see Jake Allen again this weekend in one of the two games. Although Binnington shutout Minnesota last weekend, it looks like he will play at home against Boston and Jake will get the nod Sunday against the Wild.
Boston would seem to be the more rested team based on schedule, but they are playing their last of a 5-game road trip. They beat the Blues 5-2 in the first meeting this season back in January in Boston. But, the Blues hadn’t yet found their stride at the time.
This should be a good matchup if St. Louis can play like they have been playing and can bounce back from the loss in Dallas. Last minute changes were made to the Blues lineup due to a flu bug going around. Apparently, some guys played even though they were sick but others could not go. Absent from the lineup were Robby Fabbri and Robert Bortuzzo. In their places were Samuel Blais and Chris Butler.
- Blues: 32-23-5, 69 pts, 3rd in Central
- Bruins: 36-17-8, 80 pts, 2nd in Atlantic
Boston – Tuukka Rask: 20-8-4, 2.45 GAA, .918 Sv%
St. Louis – Binnington: 13-2-1, 1.75 GAA, .931 Sv%
Goals Scored: STL- Alexander Steen (7), BOS- Chris Wagner (9); Shootout: STL- Tyler Bozak, Samuel Blais, BOS- Charlie Coyle
- Sammy Blais (SO Game-winning goal)
- Jordan Binnington (saved 31 of 32 SOG in regulation and OT, stopped 5 of 6 shootout attempts)
- Tuukka Rask (saved 28 of 29 SOG in reg and OT, stopped 4 of 6 shootout attempts)
This game was a story of two goaltenders, possibly the two hottest goalies in the league. Tuukka Rask was 6-0-0 in his last 6 games, while Binnington has played lights out ever since getting his chance a little over a month ago.
Both men defended their team’s goal about as well as anyone could have expected, each only allowing one puck past them in 65 minutes of play. The game would go all the way to a 6th round of the shootout in order to finally determine a winner.
The Blues got on the board first at the 7:15 mark when Boston turned the puck over just outside their own blue line. St. Louis’ Oskar Sundqvist was the one who picked off the pass in the neutral zone. He found Alex Steen on the left wing. Steen went high on the short side, blocker side and beat Rask to give the Blues a 1-0 lead. It was Steen’s first goal in 27 games. He last scored on Nov. 30, 2018, but now needs just 2 more points to reach 600 career points for his NHL career.
— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) February 23, 2019
Colton Parayko was whistled for slashing late in the first, putting Boston on the power play. But, Ivan Barbashev wouldn’t roll over and play dead. He led a short-handed 2 on 1 with Sundqvist and never gave up on the puck and drew a tripping penalty. The hustle play got the Blues back to a 4 on 4 situation for the final 31 seconds of the period.
Vladimir Tarasenko nearly scored as the period ended when his deflection got past Rask and hit the pipe or crossbar, but fell harmlessly to the ice in front of the Boston goalie.
Boston evened things up when Chris Wagner scored at the 5:12 mark. The goal was the result of a defensive breakdown by the Blues. As Boston entered the zone there were plenty of Blues back on defense but nobody picked up Wagner and he beat Binnington high on the glove side.
Boston turned up the pressure in the period and had some great chances to score. The only problem was that Jordan Binnington was standing in the way. He absolutely robbed former Blue, David Backes when he got his glove on a shot that seemed destined for a wide open net.
— John Smith (@NJviDs) February 23, 2019
The 2nd would end with Boston leading in shots on goal 19-16, but the score was 1-1.
Both teams traded blows in the third period but nobody flinched, especially not the goalies. Boston outshot the Blues 11-7 in the final frame but neither team could find the game-winner.
Jaden Schwartz had the most chances in overtime as the Blues outshot Boston 6 to 2 in the 5 minute period, but a shootout was needed to determine who would get the 2 points and who would have to settle for 1.
Tyler Bozak was the first Blue out for the shootout, and he found an opening on Rask. Tarasenko and O’Reilly failed to convert for St. Louis. DeBrusk and Marchand were turned away at the net for Boston, but Charlie Coyle beat Binnington to keep the shootout going.
Rounds 4 and 5 didn’t see any goals, but Samuel Blais outmaneuvered Rask in the 6th round and scored from a near-impossible angle. Boston’s Danton Heinen’s attempt went wide of the net and St. Louis was back in the win column.
Watch this sequence. pic.twitter.com/ZN9AiPL6LR
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) February 23, 2019
- With the mixed up lines and guys apparently playing sick, this was a quality win over a quality Eastern Conference opponent.
- It was a good sign to see Binnington bounce back from his poor outing in Dallas 2 nights earlier.
- Barbashev and Sundqvist are 2 examples of what hard work will do for a person. These two guys work hard and it’s always fun to watch someone play who hustles. Even without the most talent, hustle is an exciting thing to see.
- This team is not the same without Brayden Schenn. He will not play again tomorrow in Minnesota, but I think we will need him for the Tuesday game against Nashville.
- Will David Perron ever get back?
- The power play needs some help. Blues were 0 for 4 tonight.
- The more you see of Jordan Binnington, the more you gotta believe he’s the real deal