Blues Even Series with Two Goaltenders & Physical Play
Game 2 featured just about everything a fan of the St. Louis Blues could ever hope to see in a game. They saw the Blues jump out in front early thanks to a blunder that saw San Jose score in its own net. Fans saw the Blues kill off three penalties while converting on one of their own. There were big hits, a broken team bench, local celebrities (Freese, Carpenter, Hull) in attendance and a brawl after the final horn that had to be seen to be believed.
That’s how you respond to a disappointing 2 OT loss.
The Blues needed to jump out early against San Jose in order to reclaim some of the momentum they lost in the disappointing defeat in Game 1. With a little help from Marc-Edouard Vlasic, that’s exactly what happened as the San Jose defenseman hit the puck into his own net in the opening minutes of the first period.
A rather frightening moment occurred at the start of the second period when St. Louis defenseman Barret Jackman accidentally collided with goaltender Jaroslav Halak. Halak was removed from the game, summoning Brian Elliott into action for the first time in the series. The good news for the Blues is that their biggest strength might be at the goaltending position. Elliott performed remarkably well, showing no signs of an injury he was dealing with last week. He made sprawling saves and looked extremely relaxed and poised in net.
The Blues tacked on a second goal in the second period (Backes) and then a final tally late in the third period (McDonald).
The most memorable image from Game 2 might have been what occurred after the final horn sounded. If you ever wondered what pandemonium looked like, you saw it at the end of this one. When all was said and done, 88 penalty minutes were handed out after the 3rd period concluded as several fights took place.
To some fans, Game 1 seemed rather timid given the history of the two teams and the fact it is a playoff series. That idea was put to bed after Game 2. Things got chippy several times in Game 2, with both teams getting in the face of one another. One incident that really seemed to bother the Blues, and rightfully so, was when Brent Burns tried to punch/elbow Scott Nichol in the head as he skated by. The attempted hit mostly failed to connect but it was vicious enough to earn the Shark a roughing minor. This incident didn’t resonate well with the Blues as it was seen Burns was trying to injure Nichol through a rather dirty hit.
This aggression from the Blues emerged after the final horn with Vladimir Sobotka and Roman Polak dropping the mitts and decidedly winning their scraps. Sobotka broke the nose of Dominic Moore before showing mercy. Polak landed several huge blows, giving Justin Braun a black eye that swelled up almost instantly.
The Blues made a huge statement in Game 2. They pitched a shutout using two goaltenders. They endured numerous San Jose attacks while scoring three of their own. Perhaps most importantly, they showed that if you try to push them around you will pay the price as we saw at the end of tonight’s game. The Blues showed the grit and tenacity needed to win a playoff series.
Looking ahead, Game 3 already has plenty of stories emerging from it. The Blues will have to determine how healthy Jaroslav Halak is and determine whether he or Brian Elliott should be the started. After his display in Game 2 I’d personally select Elliott. Also, one has to imagine San Jose won’t be too happy with the brawl at the end of the game. To be fair, they took part in it and just happened to emerge the loser. Don’t be surprised to see Ryan Reaves back in the lineup in Game 3, assuming he is healthy, as San Jose is going to want redemption.