posted on April 15, 2013 07:00
St. Louis Blues goaltender Brian Elliott saw another shutout yesterday afternoon at the Scottrade Center.
Unfortunately for Elliott, he was on the wrong end of it as the Chicago Blackhawks downed the Blues 2-0.
The Hawks are now 3-1 against the Blues on the season with the teams meeting one more time in St. Louis on April 27th.
The Blues brought out the physicality in the first period as they attacked anything that wore red. With a little more than three minutes left in the first period, Blues captain David Backes delivered a hit to Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews that knocked Toews out for the remainder of the first. Toews ultimately returned to the game.
Then the second period came and the Blues stopped playing the tenacious brand of hockey they brought in the first twenty minutes of the game.
A little over four minutes into the second, Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko was tripped up by Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook. The puck was then grabbed by winger Bryan Bickell on the transition as he found Viktor Stalberg streaking down the right wing. Stalberg then fed it back to Bickell who made a nifty play and slid the puck past Elliott for the first goal of the game.
The Blues who were 0-3 on the power play, received a prime opportunity to tie the game a little over six minutes into the third as former Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith was called for tripping. Fifteen seconds into the man advantage, Blues defenseman Jordan Leopold got called for a high stick as he batted the puck out of the air trying to keep it into the Hawks zone.
On the ensuing faceoff in the Blues end, Toews won the draw from Andy McDonald and Marian Hossa blasted a puck that deflected off Alex Pietrangelo and through Elliott which was the final dagger into the heart of the Blues.
The Blues were able to get 30 shots towards Crawford, but he had a relatively easy day as the Blackhawks did an excellent job of clearing rebounds and protecting their net.
With their goose egg on the power play, the Blues are now six of their last 72 when they have the man advantage which equates to an eight percent success rate.
Over their past eight games, the Blues have scored 16 goals or an average of two per game. Here are the numbers of their leading scorers over that span:
Chris Stewart-1 goal, 1 assist
Alexander Steen-1 goal, 3 assists
David Backes-2 goals, 2 assists
David Perron-1 assist
Kevin Shattenkirk-2 goals
Patrik Berglund-1 goal, 2 assists
Alex Pietrangelo-1 assist
Vladimir Tarasenko-1 assist
If the Blues are going to have success in the playoffs or much less make them, they are going to have stop expecting their goaltenders to bail them out every game. At some point, the responsibility has to fall on the shoulders of the offense which has been inconsistent all season. When they drive the net and plant themselves in front of opposing goalies, they create scoring opportunities. When they stand around looking for “cutesy” plays, the end result is what happened yesterday.
The Vancouver Canucks come to town tomorrow night. Going into tonight's game against Nashville, the Canucks are winners of seven of their last 10. The last time the Blues faced Vancouver, they were ousted 3-2 in British Columbia. The contest will also mark the NHL debut of rookie Dmitrij Jaskin, who scored 46 goals and 99 points for Moncton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Jaskin stands 6'3 and weighs 205 pounds. If he can display the skill he showed in the QMJHL, the Blues might have a valuable asset to wreak havoc on NHL goalies.