It’s a great feeling when you wrap-up a post game show talking about a victory and not mentioning how “the Blues shut-down Conor Garland or Kuemper was a brick wall”. There were still some story lines that had similarities to the Arizona series but it’s another winner for the Blues.
The Powerplay Won The Game For The Blues
0-8. That is what the Blues stood against the PP for the Sharks in two games this season. That was on top of going 2-23 in the previous 7 games against the Coyotes. The PP has already struggled this season but it also has robbed the Blues of significant points in the early portion of the season. Down by a goal, less than 10 minutes to play and a PP opportunity. Stop me if you’ve heard that before and then was heavily disappointed. The extra-man benefited the Blues in a game where 5v5 wasn’t providing the extra push that Berube’s squad needed. If they can build off of the energy they received from this come-from-behind winner for the rest of the season, this Blues team can be a dangerous team for 60+ minutes.
This Team Is Going To Need Guys To Perform In Bigger Roles
Now Ivan Barbashev is hurt, are you kidding me! I’m sure this is how everyone is feeling today once you learned the news another Blues player left a game due to injury. To make matters worse…it’s a forward, a position the Blues are already struggling with health. This shouldn’t be an issue for the Blues because depth is their strong suit. The struggles last night came late in the 2nd period and the first half of the 3rd. San Jose provided consistent offensive pressure and the Blues searched for answers. That’s when the big players stepped up. With or without Barbashev, Schwartz and others for the near future, the Blues will turn to guys like Sanford, de la Rose, MacEachern and Sundqvist to take over. These players will be the key to carry the load until health starts to turn back in St. Louis’ direction.
Adversity … It’s The Key To The Game
The Blues have been here plenty of times recently, never being counted out of a hockey game. The previous two seasons for St. Louis, the Blues have been the 4th best team in the NHL to win games in come-from-behind fashion. That same thing can be said about this Blues team for this season. 10 overall victories with 7 of those the Blues playing catch-up hockey. Never feeling like they are out of a game has been the area that makes Craig Berube’s teams so dangerous. Last night was a perfect example. The 2nd period was all San Jose stealing momentum with the lead and then stifling the Blues offense with big time saves. Perron said it after the game, “the coaches wanted a response after a tough 2nd period and we delivered”. The respect factor of this roster to their coaches is a real thing and something that fans enjoy, the fact the Blues are always in a game.
A Solid Performance In Their Own Zone
I know this sounds crazy to say but that was another solid performance by the Blues in their own zone. It was the first game in 5 that the Blues gave up more than 30 shots on goal (32) but other than the 2nd period, the Blues dominated the game. Allowed 10 shots on goal in the 3rd period and OT while the Blues put 23 shots on net which means they spent zero time in their own zone in the most crucial part of the game. The Blues still allowed the Sharks to speed, easily, through the neutral zone to create plays off the rush. They also caused havoc when they did have pressure in front of the net (hence the two goals) but what the Blues did well is kill off momentum plays. Binnington would make a save and the defense would be there to clear the zone. They struggled with that aspect of the game against the Coyotes but it seems to be growing with every game the Blues take the ice.
Mike Hoffman Is A Man On A Mission
The player we have all been waiting for, the 4 million dollar man performing like an 8 million dollar man. Hoffman with his 2 point night now has 10 points in the last 10 games for the Blues which is coming at the perfect time. No Thomas, Tarasenko and Schwartz but the Blues continue to find opportunities to get this guy into open spaces. I’ve said before that for the Blues to win they need their top guys to be top guys and that is what Hoffman is doing. Whether it’s playing with Sundqvist on the third line or getting gshort PP opportunities, Hoffman is getting into his prime real estate and teeing up his big shot. Hoffman is giving the Blues the dual threat they have been after and when the Blues return to health, I can see Hoffman becoming a guy that gets favorable matcch-ups in games.