The St. Louis Blues just cannot find a way to make it easy against Minnesota. Perhaps credit has to go to the Wild.
The St. Louis Blues have played the Minnesota Wild twice this season. Neither game was easy and St. Louis made sure it was as hard on themselves as they could make it.
The Blues came out against Minnesota following the Thanksgiving holiday quite strong. They didn’t initially seem to have that tryptophan hangover.
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The team was outplaying the Wild for the entire first period and outshooting them by quite a bit as well. In what has become a rather bad habit, the Blues let up the first goal of the game when outshooting their opponent though.
Give the Wild credit. It was a good shot from the slot that beat Jake Allen to get the scoring done, but there were opportunities to stop it before it came to pass.
Another thing that has become a habit for the Blues is to give up a goal quickly after scoring. Paul Stastny tied the game up in the second period on one of the few clean goals the Blues could get past Devan Dubnyk.
Two minutes later, there was another puck past Allen. Curiously, there was nobody following the man streaking to the front of the net and the rebound was uncontested.
Allen couldn’t really do much about the goals scored on him, but he did plenty to keep out any more. Though Minnesota’s shots were kept low for much of the game, Allen was really tested once the Blues took the lead.
The Wild had a huge push and were flooding the net with shots. Allen made a huge save in the waning minutes of the game.
Sadly, there was a very poorly timed icing on the Blues toward the end of the game. That forced the Blues to have a poor defensive lineup on the ice for a defensive zone faceoff.
The Wild, of course, won the draw and put in the tying goal. Thankfully, the Blues would get all the points with a shootout win – something that feels quite rare these days.
So, in addition to Allen, the Blues have Jaden Schwartz to thank for the win. Though Schwartzy could not score in the shootout, he did plenty during the game.
His first goal tied the game up at 2 in the third period. It wasn’t your typical Schwartz goal, but it was a big one as he tipped in a David Perron rip from the point.
The second goal wasn’t fancy either. Schwartz got in tight and backhanded a juicy rebound past Dubnyk, who whined about interference, but it was proven to be incidental later.
Schwartz almost got the hat-trick later in the third. It came close, but unfortunately Dubnyk came up with the save and kept his team in the game to at least get a point.
The Blues still have tons of problems going on. They are in the penalty box way too much.
Surprisingly, they only gave up two powerplays against the Wild. Still, they aren’t effort penalties. It’s silly stuff like tripping and what not, that could be prevented by playing smarter.
Also, the Blues line changes are just terrible sometimes. They were not penalized this game, but they have way too many too-many men penalties and the miscommunication also leads to too many rushes for the other team.
In the end, the Blues got the win and they had done enough to deserve it. Minnesota also played well for good stretches, so the Note were fortunate that Allen made the timely saves when needed.
It would be nice to have a comfortable win more often. A win is a win though and that’s what we were saying when the Blues were losing. These extra points gained can be important.