Recap: Blues spoil Dale Hunter’s debut; beat the Caps in DC
The Blues dominated an uninspired Capitals team tonight. From the first puck drop to the final whistle the Blues controlled just about every second of this game it seemed like. Total shot attempts were 61-30 in advantage of the Blues. Thats absurd! The Blues ended with 30 SOG, missed 11 and had 20 more blocked by the Capitals defense. This may be the best defensive game I have ever seen the Blues play. I dont think the Capitals set up at any point throughout the night and Jaro Halak didnt have to do much of anything all night long but was there when he had to make a save.
- Cade Fairchild only played 10:31 tonight in his first NHL game but if you didnt know any better you would not have realized that tonight was his first NHL game. His passes were smart, crisp, and I dont think I saw him make a mistake all night. If Petro is still sick on Friday I would be perfectly comfortable with Fairchild taking his spot. My only beef is that he only got 10 and a half minutes. I know that it is difficult replacing a guy that plays 25+ minutes a night with a rookie but he needed to play more than 10 minutes.
- I think Patrik Berglund must have read my post from yesterday. He pretty much did everything that I complained about him not doing. He was winning faceoffs, driving hard to the net, used his size to protect the puck. He was great tonight. He needs to keep that up.
- Like I said the Blues defense was awesome tonight. Alex Ovechkin has not been playing great since he was benched late in that game earlier this month but the Blues made him look pedestrian. Ovi only managed to get 1 shot on goal and played less than 17 minutes. Now I’m not familiar with the Caps enough to know how much he usually plays but that seems alot less than normal. He has only played less in one game this season and his one shot is tied for the worst performance of the season.
- My daily bullet that I dedicate to bitching about the officials- David Backes took a baseball like swing across the face when the Blues were already on a 5 on 3 and there was no call. I dont understand how the officials missed it because the puck was right there so what were the refs looking at on that play? Along with that both of the Blues penalties were WEAK!
Other Random Thoughts: With a win on Friday and Saturday the Blues could be first in the conference again….. This is a fun thought!
Preview Review: The Caps offensive blueline didnt perform as well as I expected them to and this was only the 4th game that they did not record a point. Between the 6 d-men they did record 5 of the 19 Washington shots on goal.
Backes and his top line dominated again. He recorded an assist on the Oshie goal and ended up with 5 shots on goal. The only problem I have with the top line playing as much as they do, I think they play to much every game. The top liners played 21:03 (Steen), 22:50 (Oshie), and 23:19 (Backes). This is more than they need to be playing in my book. I fear that will wear them down towards the end of the season. They are the best players on this team right now but someone else needs to be able to step up and play a few more minutes.
I thought the Caps would come out with a lot more pressure than they did and thought they would throw all sorts of shots on goal and win this 4-2. I dont even think they had 4 shots throughout the course of the game that could have gone in, thats how good the Blues were tonight.
1. TJ Oshie- G- Oshie has been playing like a madman under Hitchcock. His awesome hands showed again tonight as he netted a nice rebound off a Alex Steen shot. Oshie, who was on my shit list is now playing back onto my good side and knows that every game could affect what kind of contract he gets or if he even gets one at all. Right now he is proving that he wants to stay in St Louis.
2. Kris Russell- 24:45 TOI, 3 SOG- Russell was going to get the No. 3 star but I decided to bump him up when I realized how much he actually played tonight. Russ has been a guy that will play 20 minutes a night but in the absence of the Blues number 1 d-man, he stepped up the most and took matters into his own hands. He jumped into a play in the second period and almost scored over the shoulder of Vokoun, paying the price on the play and getting drilled into the crossbar. He had 9 total shot attempts on the night and his ice time is the most since he played 28:18 on March 15th, 2010 (!!!) making this the second most time played in a game in his career, most in 104 games.
3. Patrik Berglund- A- Bergie definitely gets most improved player tonight. This was his best game of the season and hopefully he plays well again this weekend and the Blues can take over number 1 in the division.
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