St. Louis Blues Get Road Win in Ottawa
The Blues came out of Ottawa tonight with exactly what they needed. A win, a 3 – 1 win. After losing their previous road game in Nashville, tonight’s game was of utmost importance. As we discussed before, the games remaining on the blues schedule are lopsided when it comes to home games and away games, with many being played away from the friendly confines of the Scottrade Center.
Keeping their record at even through the two games allows the Blues the opportunity to come out of this mini three game road swing a game over .500. Their next game comes on Thursday evening in New Jersey, where the surging Devils will provide a formidable opponent. They have won their last five games, including wins against the East leading Rangers twice.
The win last night in Ottawa gives the Blues a much needed win on the road, and much needed points in the heated Western Conference playoff race. Wining goalie Brain Elliot earned himself his first win in just as many starts since his all star appearance. And on his return to the Scotiabank Place since his last game in a Sens uniform, Elliot received a heartfelt ovation at the announcement of his name to start the game.
"I haven't played in a little bit, so just getting back out there and trying to do my best for the guys and give us a chance to win — that's what it meant," Elliott said. "You really want to get back in that winning feeling and ... doing it here is pretty big for me." (stltoday.com)
The Blues started off strong, showing why they are one of the top guns in the west. They scored two quick goals, minutes apart to start the first, and seemed to coast through the rest of the first, second, and third periods.
Neither Steen, McDonald, or Arnott were back in the lineup. Steen and McDonald are still listed on the injured reserve but the word is that they should be returning before the trade deadline. Arnott is nursing a bruised left shoulder and was thought to be a go for the game last night in Ottawa, so it is expected he will be returning in the upcoming games.
The Blues came out on fire and caught the falling Senators, who have now lost seven straight, off guard with their speed, short, crisp passes and control of the puck.
The first goal of the game came from the stick of Chris Porter. Porter's fourth of the season came from a shot from the back end by Roman Polak. Polak made the smart follow up and pinch on the sideboards and made a quick shot on goal. Porter was waiting, wide open, for the quick tip.
"Porter chips in again," Hitchcock said. "Porter is really helping us right now. He's really playing well." (stltoday.com)
Right afterwords the Blues second goal of the night was scored by David Perron on a giveaway by Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson right in front of his own net. Patrik Berglund brought the puck into the Sens defensive zone and got the puck to the net, where Perron quickly went and buried the rebound. Anderson was relieved from his duties following this goal in favor of Alex Auld.
After this goal the Blues went into defensive mode but seemed to give up more chances through this style of play. It seemed if they kept trying to score goals they dominated the Sens that much more. The Blues, however, are very strong on the puck and getting to the puck. They constantly have a guy on the puck or the puck carrier, initiating the body whenever they have the chance. Even though this style of play continued when the Blues fell back into a more defensive play, they seemed to be using their legs less and less as the game went on.
David Perron Broke Out for 2 Goals in the Blues' Win Against the Senators Last Night in Ottawa 3 - 1.
(Photo: The Canadian Press, Fred Chartrand / AP)
After the first period the Sens went on to dominate the game out shooting the Blues in that time frame 20 – 10. The Sens had their chances hitting a few posts and a blotched two on none, but Elliot played strong and made 28 saves on route to the win. The Senators managed to squeak one by him at the early stages of the second period when Daniel Alfredsson tipped in a point shot, on the powerplay, by Sergei Gonchar.
Although the Sens pulled within one to start the second period the Blues quickly responded on what would be considered the play of the night on a second goal by David Perron. Breaking down on a three on two captain David Backes sent a sweet through pass to rushing Perron, again going hard to the net. He quickly picked the pass up turned to his backhand and absolutely roofed the puck over Auld's shoulder.
"It was a very nice play by Backes to get it over to me," Perron said. "I got across to my backhand and shot it at the blocker, so it was nice to get a couple of goals finally and it's even better to get two points like we did tonight.” (NHL.com)
After not scoring a point in his last four games prior to this Perron broke out of the slump with his two goals tonight. Since coming back in early December from his concussion injury, Perron has been a huge aid in the Blues offense. And you could definitely see why tonight. He was buzzing all over the ice and for all the talk that the Blues need offense it might be a little stretch. They have a few players injured and if they come back and play like they can the Blues offense may be in fine shape.
With the Blues win tonight, and three goals scored on only 18 shots, the Blues may be getting rid of their road struggles. The test will come later in the week when they travel to New Jersey to take on the Devils. Goals will be needed in order to come out of that one with a victory. If the Blues are able to play like they did for the first 10 minutes of tonight’s game for the whole game against the Devils then there should be no reason why they can not come out with a a big W.
"Hopefully, we're back on track with a little more depth in scoring," Backes said. "We're not going to complain how it happens. The fact is, we got two points out of the night, and we'll move on to another tough place to play in New Jersey." (stltoday.com)