posted on January 24, 2012 23:13
For one night Patrik Berglund played like the center the Blues and their fans believe he has the potential to be. The question now is when will he consistently play at that level?When asked what he liked about Berglund’s game, Ken Hitchcock replied, “Everything.” Not that you’ll catch me disagreeing with Hitchcock too often, but I couldn’t agree more. From the moment he scored his first goal, it looked like Berglund shifted into a higher gear. He was everywhere, nearly ending the game with a nice shot in overtime but for an even better save from Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Penguins took the lead on the power play. James Neal one timed a pass from Paul Martin in the slot through the legs of Blues’ goalie Brian Elliott. It was Neal’s one-hundredth career goal.
The Blues would come close to tying the game later in the second. Patrik Berglund transitioned the puck off of a giveaway springing Chris Stewart and Jamie Langenbrunner on a two on none break, but as Stewart was shooting Deryk Engelland caught up to Langenbrunner on the back check and sent him into the net to break up the play. Later David Perron shot a rebound high and wide over an empty net. On his way back to the bench Perron slammed his stick against the end-glass in frustration.
Pittsburgh would quickly add to the frustration with Steve Sullivan’s ninth goal. Engelland’s shot from the point appeared to go up off of Carlo Colaiacovo’s foot and off of Elliott. Sullivan then batted the puck out of mid-air to give the Penguins a two-goal lead.
Late in the second the Blues cut the lead in half. Stewart was able to find Berglund on a 2on1 in the slot; Berglund did the rest with a nifty fake to his backhand before finishing it with his forehand past the stick of Penguins’ goalie Fleury.
Berglund would tie it up on a penalty shot after being hooked by Kris Letang while in the clear. It was his second of the game and twelfth of the season.
The Blues entered the overtime period on a power play after Matt Cooke boarded Barrett Jackman. While logic dictates that the multiple repeat offender may get some supplementary discipline for the hit, we’ll have to wait until Brendan Shanahan spins the NHL Wheel of Destiny to get the verdict. If not for Fleury’s greatness (or “go go gadget legs” as David Backes called them), the Blues would have entered the All Star Break with two more points. As it is, the Blues lost a familiar game in the shootout. However, the night belonged to Patrik Berglund.
He’s shown that he can be a major threat in the offensive zone. He’s shown the ability to possess the puck down low and use his body to gain time and space in the zone. He’s even shown the ability to score when driving to the slot and taking a defenseman with him. He can be a prototypical power center with net presence and a scoring touch, but so far he hasn’t been able to replicate dominating performances for long stretches of time. Going into the break Berglund has a lot of time to think about the positive reinforcement he should have received from a game like Tuesday’s; it’s up to him to bring it on a nightly basis.