Blues Look To Even Series.
The Pacific Division was looking to be one of the weaker divisions in the playoffs with the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, and Phoenix Coyotes having the least amount of points in the Western Conference. The Kings have a 2 game lead over the President Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks, and both the Sharks and Coyotes have won the first game in their series with wins against strong teams. These Pacific teams are getting hot at the right time.
The St. Louis Blues peppered Antti Niemi with 42 shots, but could only manage to get 2 goals. Patrik Berglund and his line with Alex Steen and Andy McDonald was dominant. Berglund picked up the Blues only two goals and the 2nd line clicked. Jaroslav Halak played a solid game and made big saves, but allowed some weaker goals. The Sharks stuck it out in the first OT after the Blues dominated and came back in 2nd OT to get the game winner. Martin Havlat has found his scoring touch at the perfect time. Chris Stewart had a weak game and even admitted that he had the opportunities but didn’t play well.
Tonight, the Blues are looking to even the series at one a piece. Stewart, Ryan Reaves, and Kent Huskins are all scratches for tonight’s game. Matt D’Agostini, BJ Crombeen, and Carlo Colaiacovo are being called up. Colaiacovo will be paired with Alex Pietrangelo and the Blues are hoping Colaiacovo can make those crisp passes across the ice. Crombeen can be a little more reliable than Reaves in some situations and D’Agostini will be joining Crombeen and Scott Nichol on the 4th line. The veteran line of Jaime Langenbrunner, Jason Arnott, and Vladmir Sobotka will make the 3rd line.
The Blues need to solve Niemi quickly, and a couple goals in the 1st period would do wonders. Constant pressure and traffic on the net will help the Blues shake up the Sharks netminder.
The 1st line of each team is looking to break out, and are both equally as dangerous. TJ Oshie only registered one shot and even though they are matched against the Shakrs first line, they still have the ability to put up points. The Blues need all 4 lines to have a consistent game. The Blues depth is probably one of the best in the playoffs, but their lines never seem to get hot all at once. The Philadelphia Flyers have shown that when all 4 lines click they can become a threat on any level; from the power play to killing penalties. If the Blues can get this spark, they will have a huge advantage.
If Halak gets the loss tonight, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brian Elliot in goal for game 3. Usually when the Blues change goalies after a loss, the entire team picks up their game.
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