A Much Needed Win

A Much Needed Win

chris_mason1Thank you Blues for apparently reading my post yesterday. In case you missed it, I begged the team for a win and begged for some solid play from the veterans Keith Tkachuk and Paul Kariya and hoped for electric play from youngsters such as T.J. Oshie. Check, check and check. Thanks for the two points.

I didn’t care how they arrived there as long as the Blues walked out of the Scottrade Center Thursday night with a win in hand. It took overtime, several brilliant saves by Chris Mason, a spectacular goal from T.J. Oshie and a nice end-to-end rush by Erik Johnson in OT to seal the victory.

The Blues gave up the first goal early, just over three minutes into the contest. Not exactly the way you want to kickoff a game you essentially need to win. Thankfully, Keith Tkachuk found a bit of extra life in his skates, powered around the Phoenix defense, and lit the lamp just a few minutes later to level the game at one a piece.

The second period opened up similarly to the first with the Coyotes notching a goal just a couple minutes in. This time the Blues found no answer and exited the period down 2-1. Fans, such as myself, feared this was yet another close game the team might let slip away.

The early goals to start each period continued, but this time it was the Blues who responded through a fantastic T.J. Oshie goal to make the game a 2-2 tie. Oshie faked his forehand, drew goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov over to the side of the net before slamming on the brakes and backhanding home into the net. A great piece of skill and a perfect demonstration as to why Oshie is loved so much in St. Louis.

Regulation saw no more scoring and the game made it’s way into overtime. Though they had one point secure, the Blues knew they needed to earn a “W” on home ice. Erik Johnson raced from his own end, over the Phoenix blueline, wristing home the game winner just 17 seconds into OT. Game over, Blues get a much needed win.

A few thoughts for your Friday as the Blues prepare to welcome the New York Islanders to town on Saturday:

  • Chris Mason. Wow. Multiple saves of the highest quality kept the Blues in it late in the game. He has been great all season and once again gave a high quality effort for the Blues last night. Some of his saves were simply phenomenal. Check the video highlights below to see a handful of Mason’s magic. The stop on a two on none rush was incredible, yet Mason bested himself just a few minutes later – and then again just a bit later. For those wondering if Mason could play as well as he did last season, watch the highlights from last night.
  • Oshie’s goal was risky, but brilliant. He had a bit of time and space and finished in flashy fashion. The immense talent he demonstrated on this goal is reason enough as to why the fans here love him.
  • The Backes/Oshie/Kariya looked threatening each time it was deployed. Backes and Oshie used their body as Kariya weaved in, out and around the Phoenix defense. This might have been the best line we have seen to date and hopefully they stick together and are used again Saturday.
  • Erik Johnson has an enormous offensive upside. Turns out of his own zone, carries the puck into the Phoenix zone before burying it through a screen to give the Blues the win. A defenseman capable of carrying the puck as fluidly up the ice as Johnson does is tough to find.
  • Paul Kariya eventually will score. He played well last night as a member of the Backes/Oshie line and fired some good shots.
  • Chris Mason deserves to be mentioned twice. You will be hard pressed to find a better series of saves as we saw from Mason in the third.

19 games in, the Blues have a 7-8-4 record good for 18 points. Next up, Saturday against the New York Islanders at home.

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