The last time this happened, we saw a very unhappy Jaroslav Halak skate off to the locker room. Tonight, well, FoxSports Midwest was nice enough to not show it if it happened again – though no one could judge Halak if he was upset. He allowed one goal in the first two and a half minutes, and then was perfect through the rest of the game until Martin Erat’s top-shelf goal ended it in the shootout.
This is the second game in a row where the Blues have fired a cannonade on Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne. Tonight, the Blues scored once on 36 shots – to get past him they possibly literally would to have fired a cannonball at the net. When Rinne gets into the zone, there’s no scoring on him. Even the easy tap in goals seemed to just flat-out refuse to go in.
The Blues are just 1-for-17 on shootout attempts this season, and haven’t won in their last five. When you have a goalie finish a game with a .971 SV% and they lose, the blame’s on you, not on them. The Blues HAVE to learn how to score more during games – it’s not all the first line’s responsibility. Chris Stewart and Patrik Berglund are goal scorers too. It’s time to get them off of the sides of their respective milk cartons and back into the game.
Tomorrow night is a chance for the Blues to regain their lead on the Detroit Red Wings. Squandered opportunities won’t be tolerated by the coach anymore, if they even were to begin with.
The Blues power play appears to be back on track, if back on track means back to how it was before the last two games. Following up two games in which they scored two power play goals in each, the Blues are 0-for-3 tonight. Granted, yes, it has improved their shots on goal totals (the Blues are now leading in that category, 25-24), but you don’t win thanks to SOG. You win when one of those go in.
Patrik Berglund has had several solid looks at the net, but has developed Brad Boyes-itis, missing the net and gripping the stick a bit too tight. When Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne can’t hold on to his stick (he’s dropped it four times, according to Darren Pang), it’s helpful to notice these things and get some shots on the net.
David Backes again has taken this team by the collar ad is single-handedly trying to win by himself. I follow several Preds bloggers and reporters on Twitter, and so many of them are commenting more on Backes’ play than their own team’s. He’s plowing over the Preds’ rookie defensemen, and while credited with only two shots on goal he’s had more than that go in the general direction of Rinne.
The goaltending duel continues, though Rinne seems more confident in net. As I mentioned earlier on Twitter, a hundred pucks could go in his direction, and when he’s in full zen-mode, he will stop every single one.
Not the best start to a home game tonight. Just two minutes and sixteen seconds into the game, Matt Halischuk capitalized on a flub-up du jour by Jaroslav Halak. Common knowledge is that you cover the puck when it’s loose in your crease; Halak, however, couldn’t get over to the puck and get into position to cover. Some jamming, and in squeaks the puck.
David Legwand almost made it 2-0 Preds, had is coordination been hand-eye instead of hand-foot. Luckily his soccer-style goal was an obvious mid-air kick, which at least gave the Blues a chance to tie the game. They did, with a T.J. Oshie goal. Out for two games, Oshie really wants to make an impression on the team and the nice people in charge of next year’s contract. Oshie snapped a pass from David Backes past Pekka Rinne to tie the game up.
Shots so far are 14-11 Nashville. There hasn’t been any dominating zone control by the Blues; expect that to be addressed during the intermission by coach Ken Hitchcock.