Tonight the Coyotes welcomed long time Jet/Coyote, Blue Keith Tkachuk into the Ring of Honor at the Jobing.com Arena to go along with other great like Thomas Steen and Teppo Numinen just to name a few. After a great speech by Big Walt the Blues and Coyotes trading chances most of the game with the Coyotes having a slight edge in the play. Brian Elliott made a whole highlight reel of big stops and was helped out by the post on a HUGE first period miss by Langkow which fooled everyone in the building. In the end the Blues managed to hang on and record their 20th win of the season. That’s the quickest they have gotten to 20 wins since the 2003-04 season when they won 20 of their first 29.
- Brian Elliott was great again tonight as usual. He recovered from a rough game in Colorado and made a lot of big saves to keep his team in the game.
- Matt D’Agostini was moved to center tonight in hopes that it would put him in a better position to be around the puck more often and I think that was a move that paid off for the Blues. D’Agostini played center when he was younger so he is familiar with the position and knows what it takes in his own zone to play the postion well and he was rewarded with a goal tonight. However, he did not win a faceoff and went 0 for 3 on draws.
- Jamie Langenbrunner played a good physical, aggresive game tonight. I thought this was the best he has played in a month or more and put a few good shots on goal in the 3rd period and I was hoping he would get on the score sheet but he was held pointless but finished with 3 shots on goal and was the best penalty killer paired up with either Scott Nichol or Alex Steen.
- In hopes to get the second line jumpstarted, Coach Ken Hitchcock moved TJ Oshie down to the second line in exchange for Chris Stewart. This is good for 2 reasons. 1. This will give Stewart more action and hopefully with his chemistry with David Backes he can start performing a little bit better. 2. TJ Oshie can play pretty much anywhere and can lift the second line to another level hopefully as he is back together with Perron and Berglund as the Kid Line is reunited once again.
Other Thoughts: David Backes is a great captain…. but you can’t take 2 offensive zone penalties dude.
Preview Review: I hate when I get my previews done on time because I never remember what I wrote about. I know I had Whitney for Phoenix who was held to no points and just 2 shots. He does have some pretty good speed for an old guy though. No clue who I picked for the Blues but everyone played pretty well. No glaring mistakes tonight and the Blues continue to roll and go about their business. This team looks ready for a long postseason run (fingers crossed)
My 3 Stars:
1. Matt D’Agostini- G, A- D’ags scored on a complete cannon from his hot spot and also helped out in his own end of the ice as well. While the score was still 3-1 Elliott lost a puck in the crease and Matt was the first guy diving into the crease to make sure the puck stayed out. Also set up a great screen on the Arnott goal which was just changed and he was also just awarded an assist on that goal as well.
2. Alex Steen- G- Steeners scored a hell of a goal to open the scoring in the second period. After getting hacked repeatedly on the hands by a Phoenix defenseman, Steen managed to fight off the slashes and after losing a glove still beat LaBarbera which gave him his team leading 12th of the season. He is also up to a +22 which is first of crazy as hell and also good enough for a 3rd place tie in the NHL. Other than Backes and his +32 last season, the last time the Blues had any skater finish a season with a rating of +22 or better, Barret Jackman in his rookie season in 2002-03 who was a +23.
3. Evgeny Grachev- A- Grachev did have 2 assists before D’Agostini was given the other assist but still on the assist Grachev did get, the Blues had got pressure which was negated by a bad turnover made by Grachev but instead of getting down on himself he made up for it, got on his horse, forced a turnover back to Roman Polak who hit Dags in his sweet spot while the Yotes were changing and D’Agostini let it rip for a 2-1 lead.
Have a Merry Christmas and we’ll be back in action Monday at Scottrade.