Finally. With the excellent season that the Blues’ve had this year, they haven’t won five games in a row… until tonight. The 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets swept the home-and-home, but also helped the Blues win five in a row and Jaroslav Halak win eight in a row. He faced 34 shots on goal, and made 33 saves, some of which accounted to highway robbery.
The Blues pulled ahead of the jackets on this shot by David Perron that was from an extremely sharp angle. Somehow it went under the glove and over the pad of Curtis Sanford, and stands as the game winning goal:
The rest of the period was a bit of a Blue Jackets firing squad — they outshot St. Louis 12-8 in the last period — but Jaroslav Halak came up with a couple outstanding saves, this one being the best by far with a hand from Alex Pietrangelo:
The Blues, with this five game winning streak (and 45 straight penalties killed streak as well) pulled ahead of the Detroit Red Wings for the Central Division Lead — they’re up by six as of now. They’re ahead of the Vancouver Canucks by five, and the New York Rangers by six as well.
Next game is Tuesday night in Chicago as the biggest rivalry in the Central Division meets up again.
As Blues and Blue Jackets games trudge onward, they inevitably get a bit more rough and tumble. It doesn’t help much when the score’s as tight as it is in this one.
The first goal of the game goes to Patrik Berglund, which was his 15th goal of the season. He got the rebound off of an Alex Pietrangelo shot and fired it past Curtis Sanford to put the Blues up 1-0:
Mark Letestu tied the game up ten minutes after Berglund’s goal with a laser from the point:
From there on out, it got chippy. Ian Cole got slammed into the boards by Jarret Boll, which angered Chris Stewart. The two didn’t really fight, per se. I think it’s more accurate to say that they hugged it out:
Stewart wound up with an extra two minutes for roughing, and the fight between Kevin Shattenkirk and Darryl Boyce that was prompted by a slightly high hit from Boyce on Alex Pietrangelo was just about as eventful:
Of course, Shattenkirk wound up with the ton of penalties, which were a double major for roughing and a minor for elbowing. The Blues enter the third period on a bit of a penalty kill, which should be ok. The Blues killed off two more penalty kills, so the Blues are on a streak of 43 straight penalties killed.
The most notable thing that happened during the first period of play was that Chris Stewart and B.J. Crombeen both took penalties. Why is that notable? Because both were killed effectively, leading to consecutive successful PK numbers 40 and 41. The Jackets had a few good looks, but you have to have a great look to get past Jaroslav Halak.
Also notable during the first was the return of Jamie Langenbrunner. Langenbrunner, who hasn’t played since February 19th thanks to a broken foot, took over for Ryan Reaves on the fourth line to limit the amount of time to spend on his foot. The Blue Jackets dressed Jarret Boll, presumably to deal with Reaves if necessary, but since his potential sparring partner isn’t on the ice it puts Columbus at more of a detriment than usual.
The Blues owned the shot totals with a ten to seven lead, and very nearly scored first on an open net if it weren’t for Derek Brassard and some quick stickwork to deflect an Alex Pietrangelo shot.
Last night's game was full of physicality, partially from the Blues' domination of Columbus and partially from Columbus' frustration at how the game was going. Look for some conflicts to be resolved tonight.