ST. LOUIS, Mo. – I’ve run out of good things to say about this team. They just don’t play bad games anymore.
After Tuesday’s 5-1, emotional beat-down of the rival Chicago Blackhawks, Blues fans were concerned about a letdown tonight against the 12th place Anaheim Ducks. But not only was there no letdown, the Blues played one of their best 3rd periods of the year and picked up another 2 points. In the process, coupled with The New York Rangers’ loss to Ottawa (with Ben Bishop picking up the win) the Blues moved into sole possession of first place in the NHL.
Today’s date is March 8th. There is less than a month remaining in the regular season. And the Blues are the best team in the NHL. Let that soak in for a minute.
Tonight, it was about surviving the first 2 periods against a desperate Ducks team. Anaheim took a 1-0 lead on a Corey Perry snapshot over the blocker of Jaroslav Halak early in the 2nd period.
Anaheim was out-skating the Blues and beating them to loose pucks. But it was the Blues’ (suddenly red-hot) power play that bailed them out. David Perron let a shot fly from the left wing, David Backes got a stick on it, and it snuck through the legs of Jonas Hiller. The Blues tied the game at 11:38 of the 2nd.
It was still tied heading into the 3rd. Early in the 3rd, the speedy Andy McDonald sped into the offensive zone, had a give-and-go with Ian Cole, and then fired a pass right onto Patrick Berglund’s stick, which poked the puck through Hiller’s 5-hole for a lead.
The Blues put the game away with another power-play goal 2:01 later, when Kevin Shattenkirk took the face-off, got the puck through traffic, and into the back of the net.
The Blues moved to–brace yourselves–35-0-0 when they score at least 3 goals. The penalty kill has killed off 35 consecutive penalties. And in their last 24 home games, the Blues are 20-1-3. Those stats tell the story.
The Blues are in first place in the entire league at 43-18-7. The next two are a home and home against the last place Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday and Sunday.