It’s hard to remember the last time the Blues had zero push in a divisional game against the Blackhawks in January. Add in the bonus that a regulation win for the Blues would’ve cut the Hawks lead on the Central to two points and you almost expected the play of St. Louis to mirror their piss and vinegar stench.
Instead, after a first period that was heavily tilted towards the Blues and in which Corey Crawford said no, that was pretty much it. The Hawks grabbed the lead late in the second after they dominated possession for the majority of the period and in the third, the Blues never really had much sustained pressure.
So perhaps the Blues are learning to dial it back in the regular season. Or as McClure said, perhaps they’ve learned they’re never getting out of the division or conference with their current roster.
Either way, another one down and now a comfortable six point divisional lead on the Blues after back to back regulation losses. An excellent palette cleanser from the weekend.
–The pass from Patrick Kane on Panarin’s goal was transcendent but Trevor Van Riemsdyk made a heady play that shows why he’s playing in the NHL instead of toiling away in the ECHL or AHL like so many other undrafted free agents.
As Van Riemsdyk drove the lane, he very easily could have attempted to swat at Kane’s pass and thus ruining any scoring play. Instead, Van Riemsdyk lifted his stick and let the puck through. The Blues defender played van Riemsdyk as though he was going for the puck and further opened the passing lane so that Panarin could lean into it.
This all happened within a split second and it’s a great example of why Van Riemsdyk is playing at the level he is.
–With the all blue pads, you start to see a legitimate NHL goalie in Brian Elliot. Then you look harder and yup, it’s still Brian Elliot.
–By the fancy stats test, the Blues thoroughly dominated. However, with the eye test, you saw a Blackhawk team that was able to close up shooting lanes and thus blocked a ton of shots. Duncan Keith, in particular, had a very solid night of anticipating where St. Louis was going with the puck and was able to get his stick on a few shots as a result. So did Van Riemsdyk and Hjalmarsson as well.
I’ll conclude it was a combination of their instincts and the Blues being a step slow (either through mid-season fatigue or because it’s their normal speed).
–When Ken Hitchcock isn’t busy closing down your local Arby’s, he’s sexting pictures of himself from the former Manitowoc District Attorney’s phone and framing him for it.
–Speaking of fast food diets, if Troy Brouwer was able to catch Brent Seabrook and negate an icing, it was probably a very long night for the staff at Jaimito’s Burritos last night.
–Imagine you’re Kyle Brodziak and you’ve played your entire career with the Minnesota Wild. That’s bad enough. Then when you have a choice to play wherever you’d like, you choose the St. Louis Blues. When he looks back on his playing career, maybe he’ll think he would’ve been better off taking that job as the Kamloops Blazers mascot. That’s assuming he has any kind of cogent thought floating around.
–It’s good to see the Blues are continuing the tradition of defensemen that come complete with a set of hooves by letting Joel Edmundson wear number 6. It’s the natural progression from Jackman’s number 5. Someone should check the Necronomicon to see if this rule was written on the flesh of dead Cardinals.
–The Hawks now embark on a four game road trip coming up with stops in Carolina, Colorado, Arizona and ending in Dallas again. The Stars still have three games at hand as they sit five points behind of the Hawks. 5 points on this trip should keep the gap comfortable as the Stars seem to be slipping, thanks to a well spent $12 million worth of goaltending.