Best Start in Franchise History

Best Start in Franchise History

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 20: Ty Conklin #29 of the St. Louis Blues keeps his eye on the puck against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on March 20, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey. The Blues defeated the Devils 1-0. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The injuries continue to pile up. The power-play looks like it needs a complete overhaul. These points aside, the Blues are off to their best start in franchise history through 12 games, going 9-1-2 for 20 points following another shutout win against the New York Rangers.

With key skaters out and a power-play that looks dreadful, how are the Blues continuing to win games and pile on the points? Unbelievable goaltending, relentless effort, pressure and determination are the current keys to success.

Ty Conklin more than answered the call against the New York Rangers, shutting the door on all of the 27 shots thrown his way. This included a few barrages late in a third period that saw the Rangers fire 12 shots to the Blues three. Conklin’s shutout marked the team’s fourth shutout in the past six games.

Alex Steen provided the offense, scoring one nifty wrister and an empty-netter and that’s all she wrote – new team record.

For more info and stats on the streak, check out the team’s official site.

Here are a few thoughts taken away from the Blues winning streak:

- The youngsters are playing extremely well and are skating beyond most expectations. With plenty of injuries, the new additions have done a great job learning the system and playing at a high level each and every shift. Hopefully this lasts.

- Goaltending – wow. I anticipated some rust when Conklin came in tonight, but he played well between the pipes. Granted, the Rangers did not make the most of their chances but Conklin loomed large when he needed to.

- Pressure. I think back to games in recent memory where the Blues seemed to be content hanging around the neutral zone while the opponent dictates the play and with ease breaks into the Blues’ zone. Those days seem a distant memory. Relentless pressure has marked each and every victory this season as Alex Steen, Andy McDonald, Vladimir Sobotka and many others hem the other team deep in their own end. Gone are the days where the enemy could take their time, set up their attack and buzz their way around our net.

Twelve games in, 20 points in the bank. It doesn’t get much better. The scoring may not be coming in waves and the injuries could be a major concern, but this team continues to find ways to win.

I keep expecting something to give, some bounce to not go our way or some opponent to figure a way out of their one end, but so far so good.

Obviously, all good things must come to an end and while this new record is pretty remarkable, we shouldn’t let ourselves get too caught up on it – a message that I’m confident Davis Payne preaches.

Things to Work On

– The power-play. Thankfully so many other things are going right for the Blues as this one couldn’t be going any more wrong. Few chances, allowing shorthanded rushes and limited shots are just a few of the negatives. It appears that while playing with the man advantage, the Blues are searching for the perfect play, the perfect pass and the perfect shot.

I’m not sure what the coaching message is for the team’s plan on the power-play, but I’d suggest a new one. I had thought it might be a personnel issue, what with the numerous injuries, but that notion should be quickly brushed aside as the normal faces on the power-play are (for the most part) still out there.

I’d recommend starting from scratch and keeping the plan as simple as possible until a new power-play unit gels.

– Offense. That’s a pretty broad area to work on, but it is pretty tough to narrow it down. Currently, the Blues are getting goals from plenty of unlikely places. Matt D’Agostini has scored five goals. Jay McClement has three. The guys you’d expect to light the lamp such as Brad Boyes and Andy McDonald have combined for just three.

It is great to see goals coming from unexpected places but this team will not be able to run the course of a season unless they start getting some goals from the guys that get paid to score them.

David Perron has gotten off to a great start (5 goals) and hopefully his concussion-like symptoms won’t derail him.

Alex Steen had one goal coming into the game against the Rangers where he buried two more. Hopefully the team can get a few more of their cannons firing or we may see some ugly boxscores if and when the goaltending springs a few leaks.

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Off Topic

As you may notice, this blog continues to transform. Gone are the old headers and old ads, in are the new ones as Frozen Notes continues on solo now that the network it was apart of shut down.

Ideally, I’d like to make Frozen Notes one of your best stops for analysis, conversation and home for Blues fandom. Obviously, there are numerous of other sources/sites you could choose, but I hope I bring a unique angle to the party.

I’d like this to be a place where the community is just as involved as I am. Sound off with what you think of the current changes and what you’d like to see down the road. Currently, the options are very limited, but I’d like this to be a place where the reader has as much input as the writer.


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