Blues play well in hard-fought loss to Canucks
The Blues didn't leave Scottrade Center in first place Thursday night, as they had hoped, but they were happy with the way they played the top team in the Western Conference.
Vancouver won 3-2 in overtime with Daniel Sedin scoring 46 seconds into overtime, allowing the Canucks to stay on top of the conference with 59 points. The Blues, who earned a point by taking the Canucks to OT, fell to fourth with 56 points.
"I thought we really had a lot of good stuff going," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I thought the second period was exceptional. We couldn't extend the 2-1 lead and then when it was 2-2 and we had all the chances in the second, we couldn't capitalize. I thought the second period was as good a period as we've played in this building all year... I thought it was outstanding."
The Blues lost in overtime, but they are now 9-0-2 in their last 11 home games, not losing in regulation since a 5-2 defeat at the hands of Chicago on Dec. 3. And there's no shame in dropping a home game to Vancouver, which improved to 16-9-1 on the road, the second-most points in the league.
"It's a measuring stick and obviously we didn't quite come up where we wanted to," Blues goalie Brian Elliott said. "We're lucky that we play them one or two more times so we can get back at them."
Before the Blues see Vancouver again, they're next game will be Saturday at home against Minnesota. The way they played Thursday should give them more confidence.
"You've got to walk out of here with a good feeling," Hitchcock said. "They're a good team, a real good team and we were right there the whole way. And at times, we were better."
Oshie's broken stick leads to game-winning goal
Vancouver's Daniel Sedin scored the game-winning goal in Thursday against the Blues on a 4-on-3 power play, as the Blues' T.J. Oshie was skating to the bench to retrieve a new stick. Oshie had handed his stick to teammate Roman Polak, who had broken his stick. After the game, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said the Blues have a philosophy to go after a new stick when they're at a 5-on-4 disadvantage, when the time is right, but not on a 4-on-3 situation. Oshie heard the bench calling him to get a new stick, but he took full responsibility after the game. "It's kind of an area that we recently covered," Oshie said. "It wasn't very clear, the bench was yelling to come. Right away, I hesitated. I didn't want to leave the two defensemen. I should have stayed. I've got to know that I can't leave those two guys. I take that on my shoulders."
The Blues were involved in two fights Thursday against Vancouver, a rarity this season. The club led the NHL with 78 fighting majors in 2010-11, but scraps Thursday were only Nos. 16 and 17 this season. It's a league-wide trend, according to a report in USA Today, which stated that majors are down 25 percent through 41 games. There were 519 majors through the first 41 games this season, compared to 697 last season. "I think the one-dimensional players who fill this particular role are less involved in the game," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong told USA Today.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I did not agree with the penalty at all, not one bit. I saw what I saw... it was a hockey play. I don't agree with the call." -- Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, on a third-period boarding penalty that led to Vancouver's game-winning power-play goal by Daniel Sedin.