Who says hockey can’t be exciting without scoring?
The St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers went 65 minutes without a goal Tuesday night and it required a shootout in order to decide a winner. The Blues would win the shootout after going 2-for-3 on Flyers goaltender Ray Emery, but on both goals there wasn’t much that Emery could have done.
It’s known nationwide how skilled T.J. Oshie is in the shootout after his heroics in Sochi and Tuesday night he proved himself once again. Oshie fooled Emery with a deke to his backhand and was able to lift it over his right pad for the goal. Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk had the game on his stick and rifled a wrist shot off the post and behind Emery on his blocker side to seal the victory.
Blues goaltender Ryan Miller made two miraculous saves in the shootout – a toe save on Vincent Lecavalier and a glove save on Claude Giroux – and pretty much stole the two points for his team. He also made the save of the night on Jakub Voracek with just under one minute to play in overtime.
Even though someone had to leave the ice as the loser, both teams have to be pleased not only with how their defense played, but especially pleased with how their goaltenders looked.
Many times when a game ends 0-0, there isn’t very much offensive action and it usually means that both teams played quite passively in all three zones of the ice. That was not the case in this game; both teams had great scoring chances throughout the game.
Miller has taken advantage of his chance in St. Louis after being traded from the Buffalo Sabres, who are currently the worst team in the NHL. The Blues and Sabres have an astounding 56-point difference in the standings.
The Blues are now one point shy of the Boston Bruins for the best record in the NHL and if Miller continues to play the way he has as of late, it’s difficult to see any team defeating them in a best-of-seven series.
The Flyers on the other hand must have finally gained some faith in Emery, who will more than likely be Steve Mason‘s backup if the Flyers find themselves in the postseason. Last year’s Pittsburgh Penguins are a perfect example of how important a solid backup goaltender in the playoffs can be and it appears that Emery has found his game at the right time.
Both goaltenders deserved to leave the ice with a victory, but when you have to face arguably the best shootout artist in the world in Oshie, sometimes things don’t always work out.
Perhaps the most exciting 65 minutes of scoreless hockey that there has been in a long, long time.