The Clinch….. Game 73
The St. Louis Blues’ miracle season continues while down in Tampa, where the Blues secure their spot for the playoffs!
To be the first team to clinch a playoff berth is a wonderful thing, I say. It allows you to regroup and look to the road ahead and determine just how to finish out the season. The Blues? I’d say they look to finish big. They get quite a few days off after this grueling run of games, basically playing every other day for the last 2 weeks.
Jaroslav Halak manned the pipes for his 200th NHL career game, and he came up big, ALMOST a shut-out. So what if it wasn’t? The Blues hit their magic number of 3 goals per game, and while the streak may have ended, the tally still held up. Jaro was solid (again) and really propelled the team to victory.
Jaden Schwartz hit it big in his first NHL appearance as well, scoring the GAME WINNING GOAL for the Blues. While he may not have been as much of a sparkplug as I’m sure he’s going to become, he definitely showed off some of his talent against a defensive club in Tampa Bay. He was awarded almost 14 minutes of ice-time(13:50), with 1:38 of it coming on the power play.
The Blues are now 14-2-2 against the Eastern Conference, displaying dominance at every turn. This SHOULD bode well
whenIF the Blues get to the cup finals.
Recap: The Blues had to muster everything they could to push through the Lightning’s defensive tactics, especially after this extended-play of games over the past 2 weeks. You wanna talk about grit? These guys were tired, but they played hard. They put up some shots, and they made them count. First to tally was Patrik Berglund with a shorthanded goal at fifteen minutes flat of the first period. Berglund and Alex Pietrangelo had Dwayne Roloson faked out, completely, and Bergie put it on the stick-side, giving the Blues a 1-0 edge on the Lightning.
Jaden Schwartz. What a breath of fresh air. Right after Andy McDonald goes down with a deeply bruised shoulder in the previous game, the Blues were able to plug in another guy who is able to put the puck on net. Right at the end of the period (19:24), Schwartz takes a rebound off Roloson’s pads and slaps it in on his first NHL shot. I should also mention this was during a Blues Power Play. I can’t wait to see this kid get some more ice-time, as he looked pretty good out there. He may not have moved around as much as he should, but I can only assume he was assessing the enhanced level of play you get in the NHL, and after a bit of time, he did get the legs going. The Blues lead 2-0 going into the second period. Shots? 13-6 Blues.
Second period? Blues turnover the puck, pass it on over to David Perron, and he puts it glove-side on Roloson to hit that beautiful third goal of the night(2:47) giving the Blues a nice 3-0 lead. David Backes took a puck off his left skate during the period and did not return for the duration of the game(He was seen walking from the arena = good news/total gamer). The rest of the period? You didn’t miss anything. At this point, Tampa Bay Times Forum was pretty quiet, and you could just feel the Blues were turning it into shut-down mode to close out the game. Blues lead 3-0. Total shots = 16-14 Blues
However, in the third period, there was a clash of thunder for the lightning (sorry) when Brendan Mikkelson was able to put a tally up for Tampa Bay at 15:49, making it his first NHL career goal. Otherwise, the Blues kept the Lightning quiet the rest of the game. Total shots for the night: 23-21 Tampa.
Blues clinch! 100 points! Blues win!