Blues Steal One Late
Tired this morning? Chances are you stayed up late to catch the Blues taking on the Sharks and were handsomely rewarded for your lack of sleep. In a hard fought contest, the Blues escaped with two points thanks to some very last second heroics and more outstanding goaltending, this time from Ty Conklin. The Blues were on the positive end of a blown late lead and finished the Sharks off in a shootout to claim two points from a tough opponent on the road. Details, thoughts and video inside from what could be a pivotal game this season for the Blues.
Finally the Blues gave their fans something to scream about in the last minute of a game. After allowing late leads to slip away in the final seconds to both Dallas and Detroit, the Blues stole one of their own last night in San Jose.
The Blues were put in a hole early as Dany Heatley continued his scoring pace with a blast that found the back of the net (his 19th) just over a minute after the puck dropped. Here the Blues could have done one of two things – fall apart after giving up an early goal on the road, or work hard and fight for every inch on the ice. They chose the latter and were rewarded with a Jay McClement goal off a floating shot that found the top corner midway through the first.
The score remained 1-1 until Joe Pavelski of the Sharks tipped in a shot five minutes into the second to give the Sharks the lead once more. The Blues went on to have a couple chances, but were mostly relying on Conklin to make tremendous save after tremendous save on a flurry of chances.
San Jose retained their lead into the third, where the Blues continued to grind in the corners and survive some potentially costly penalty calls.
With under a minute to go, the Blues were on the PK but pulled their netminder to make it five a side. A brilliant pass by Mike Weaver found Paul Kariya across ice, who on a two-on-one, flipped the puck over to defenseman BarretJackman, who was robbed by Evgeni Nabokov to keep the game at two to one. This appeared to be the Blues best (and last) chance to tie the game, but a no-look desperation shot from Carlo Colaiacovo somehow slipped into the net with under seven seconds remaining in the game to level the affair.
The Blues best chances were turned aside but the one where the shooter isn’t looking and is literally just heaving the puck at the net ignites the red lamp. That’s hockey for you.
OT failed to break the tie and it was off to the shootout.
For the Blues it was all about the five hole. Andy McDonals tallied through the legs of Evgeni Nabokov to give the Blues the lead in the shootout right off the get go. Ty Conklin turned aside two Sharks’ chances (with a little help from the left post) before allowing Patrick Marleau to level the shootout at one a piece. With a chance to win it, T.J. Oshie was set to take the Blues’ third shootout chance and threaded the puck through the legs of Nabokov to end the game and give the Blues a much needed win. Oshie’s goal looked pretty strange as Nabokov appeared to be set to poke the puck away with his stick, but Oshie shot before he entered Nabokov’s range, leading to what looked like a frozen San Jose netminder.
So that’s a brief recap in case you chose sleep over watching what was one of the most exciting games this season.
In case my words don’t do it justice (and really, when it comes to the excitement which was last night, they don’t) here is the last minute of play in the third period.
Awesome. Well worth screaming and waking the neighbors.
So what does this big come from behind win mean? Besides the obvious two points and confidence boost, I’m hoping it has a similar effect as the last second win against Boston had that started the Blues rampant run into the playoffs. We will have to wait and see.
The Blues are back above .500 at 11-10-5 with 27 points. They remain 12th in the Western Conference but at least have given themselves some room over the team’s trailing them such as Edmonton (26 points) who have played two more games than the Note.