You have to give Kari Lehtonen credit. Stopping 31 of 32 shots on goal is a tall order for any goaltender, especially one who was dealing with a tenacious attack. All it took is one goal – a beauty by T.J. Oshie on an assist from David Perron, to break a 0-0 tie that was held for over 50 minutes. Oshie absolutely had Lehtonen fooled on his move as he plowed into the net, drawing the goaltender out to his right side and tapping the puck in the other before falling over the Dallas netminder.
The Blues’ winning goal was T.J. Oshie’s 14th of the year, but even more interesting is that Alex Pietrangelo’s secondary assist on the goal has extended his point streak to seven games. They also built on their already league-best home record, which now stands at an absurd 19-3-3. They proved tonight that Scottrade Center is not a place that the opposition should enter into lightly.
The Blues haven’t held any part of 1st place in the league since the 2000-2001 season, and certainly haven’t played hockey this solid since the lockout disrupted things in 2004-2005. They are technically in second as the Rangers have played two less games than they have, and the Chicago Blackhawks also have 60 points. The Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks each have 59, and six of the top ten spots in the NHL are held by Western Conference teams. In proof that the Central Division is the strongest in the NHL, four out of five of the teams are in the top ten in the league.
No rest for the weary, as the Blues’ homestand continues Thursday night as the also injury-depleted Edmonton Oilers come back. The last time the Oilers were in St. Louis, the Blues mounted a three goal, 3rd period comeback to stun Edmonton. Here’s hoping that won’t be necessary again.