The St. Louis Blues finally got head coach Ken Hitchcock his 600th win, and it came thanks to a huge goal from defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. The goal was Bouwmeester’s first since coming to the Blues at the trade deadline, and tied the game up to eventually force overtime and a shootout. The Blues used the win over the Vancouver Canucks to move within one point of the Minnesota Wild (sixth place) in the Western Conference standings, and they will need to continue to get clutch scoring in their final six games of the regular season. They hold only a three-point lead over the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets, who are currently fighting for the eighth spot.
The win was the sixth of April for goaltender Brian Elliott, but perhaps more important for the Blues was finally seeing a contribution from Bouwmeester on the offensive end. The veteran defenseman had six goals for the Calgary Flames before being traded, and had gone five games without a point after dishing out three assists in his first two games with the Blues. Goals have been hard to come by for the Blues in the past few weeks, and with the news that T.J. Oshie won’t return this season, they’ll take scoring any way they can get it.
While Bouwmeester was the only Blues player to find the back of the net in regulation, the team’s veteran forwards stepped up in the shootout. Andy McDonald and Alex Steen scored, while Elliott turned aside both Canucks shooters he faced. Bouwmeester had proven to be a solid addition at the defensive end of the ice, and if he starts to contribute on the other end as well the Blues are in great shape heading into the postseason (after all, their new defenseman has waited his whole career to get there).