Just like last season, the Blues got off to a 2-0 start. That's about the only similarity, however.
The 2009-10 Blues beat the hated Red Wings the first two games in Sweden. Both games were high-scoring affairs where the Blues had to come from behind to win. This season has been different.
For one, the Blues' 2-0 start has come at home — a place where the team struggled a year ago. The Blues also dominated both games, beating the Flyers 2-1 in overtime and demolishing the suddenly-terribly Ducks 5-1 on Monday.
During the season around these parts, we will take a look at a block of games and see what's going well, what's going bad and what is just too ugly to talk about. Today: the good, the bad and the ugly of the first two games of the season.
Jaroslav Halak: Holy cow has this guy been fun to watch. He plays goal like a ninja. You can't see his face through the mask, but I wonder if he even sweats. My favorite goaltender of all time, Curtis Joseph, used to play a dynamic style. He was out of control and all over the place — constant motion. It worked for him. Halak is the opposite.
Jaro plays some of the most patient goaltending I've ever seen. No wasted movement, no hurried movements and no hesitation. Shoot comes, he gets in position and makes the save. No diving, no flopping, just in control.
Matt D'Agostini: The Blues fourth-liner has two goals this season, or as many goals as he scored in 42 games last year. Dags was acquired for a former second-round draft Aaron Palushaj in a move that many questioned. Two games doesn't justify the trade, but we're beginning to see why the Blues liked D'Agostini.
His first goal on Monday was a bottle-popping lazer — a beaut of a shot. He has some skills and if the Blues are playing a fourth-liner with skills, that's OK by me.
The PK: Right now the Blues are seventh in the league with a 88.9 PK percentage. The Note have only allowed one short-handed goal. The Blues PK was great last year and the key players are back this year. It looks like the penalty kill will be strong in 2010-11.
Alex Pietrangelo: He belongs. The former fourth overall pick has played with confidence and skill. He hasn't been afraid to jump in the play on offense and his outlet pass on D'Agostini's goal was a sight to see. Dude can play.
The fourth-line players not named Matt D'Agostini. Maybe I'm expecting too much, but the fourth line has been rather uninspiring. Dags has been fine, but Brad Winchester for two games and Cam Janssen and Ryan Reaves for one game haven't done much.
Winchester has no points and 21 penalty minutes in two games. His big highlight, so far, was taking out Cam Janssen. That's right, Winchester took out his own teammate. Again, he hasn't used his size and just doesn't seem to be that good. He's even gotten some power play time, and, well, he hasn't done anything with it.
As previously mentioned, Janssen is injured. The Blues' tough guy has a concussion and a sternum injury. The concussion is a huge problem for a guy who takes punches to the dome. When he comes back, will he be able to take a blow to the head? Is this the start of a long-term problem? No one knows.
Janssen's replacement was Ryan Reaves, and his first NHL game was something else. He played only 1:55 before being tossed. He had no shots, no points no nothing. Is he talented? Don't know. He decided to get into a fight and didn't have his jersey tied down — an automatic ejection. If you're going to fight, and that's the role he was brought up to fill, you gotta strap down. He didn't. Not a good start.
David Perron's time in the penalty box: Perron is too talented to already have six PIMs in two games. Less time in the box, more on the ice.
The power play: Through two games, the power play was downright awful. The Blues have had a league-best 18 power play chances and have converted just two goals. That's not very good. In the season opener, the Blues were 1-for-10 against the Flyers. Again, not very good.
I'm not an expert, nor do I play one of the internet, so I'm not sure what the problem is. Personally, I would like to see the point men shoot more and less forwards at the point — keep Alex Steen and his cannon shot, lose everyone else.
An 11 percent power play success rate is not going to get it done. Had the Blues netted two more goals, the 2-0 start would have been even more impressive.