The Blues came out strong in the first period, outplaying and outshooting the Hurricanes fourteen to six in the first period with little to show for it. Even with their strong play, they were unable to get a puck past stingy netminder Cam Ward. They were however rewarded at the end of the period with Vladimir Tarasenko and David Backes drawing penalties, allowing them to start the second period with a five on three power play.
The Blues were able to capitalize on the five on three just thirty three seconds into the second period on a David Backes deflection of a Kevin Shattenkirk shot from the point. Hurricane goalie Cam Ward had no realistic chance of the making the save, something that would become a pattern as the night wore on.
While the Blues continue to carry play in the second period, the line of Mueller, Jaskin, and Paajarvi continued to be the worst. Whether it was Jaskin getting lucky and not getting at least a two minute minor for boarding, Mueller's slow footwork, or penalties, the line was just not good. Jaskin completely blew a defensive coverage, hanging Elliott out to dry but he none the less came up with a huge save only to have the Blues ice the puck soon thereafter. Coach Hitchcock elected not to call a timeout even though his line was a big gassed. The Blues lost the faceoff and Ryan Murphy wristed a shot through a ton of traffic and into the net. Blues goalie Brian Elliott never saw the shot as he was screened by a lot of players, making this a very difficult shot to stop.
The game stayed knotted at one until late in the period when Alexander Steen took a shot that deflected off Joakin Lindstrom and up and over goalie Cam Ward. The deflection took away any chance Ward had at making the save and the Blues ended the period up two to one.
The Blues capped the scoring with just over two minutes left on a beautiful passing play. Tarasenko reminded us yet again that he play a North American game, getting rewarded on driving have to the net with a beautiful primary assist from Alex Pietrangelo and icing the Blues first win of the preseason.
- Lindstrom will be a regular top nine player. Book it.
- Prosser may be the steadiest defensemen we have seen in a long while, think Mike Weaver of old. If Gunnarsson is on IR, Prosser makes the team to start the year.
- Elliott made some good saves and didn't have much chance on the only goal allowed.
- Fabbri has great vision and hands.
- Lindbohm has some good instincts and appears to be ahead of the learning curve for defensemen his age.
- Lehtera continues to impress and show chemistry with Tarasenko
- The top three lines all played well and showed some chemistry
- The fourth line was bad (26 minutes total between the three of them)
- Jaskin had a few good plays but a lot of bad plays - bad penalty, bad coverage in the defensive zone that led to a prime scoring chance.
- Mueller looked slower and slower as the game progressed and took a penalty
- MPS too yet another penalty and seemed to have trouble handling the puck.
- Lindbohm made some questionable decisions and showed his inexperience. I think this game cements that he is gone come Friday. The question is, can the Blues convince him to go to Chicago instead of going back to Finland?
- Fabbri showed that he doesn't have the size yet to play in the NHL. He needs at least another year to bulk and get stronger.
As always, it's a great day for hockey.