Let me tell you something. The Blues 7-3 pummeling of the Colorado Avalanche tonight was one of the best experiences I have had watching this team in a couple years. The Avalanche came in with the best winning percentage in the NHL and the Note greeted them with a beating that turned the game into a boxing slugfest towards the end of the second period. The first period played out like most of the Blues-Coyotes game played at Scottrade on Tuesday. Close, hard nosed, and gritty hockey that marked two top teams going at it. Then, the game took a turn for blowout city. Whatever pride walking in that accompanied the Colorado team, the Blues took it all by the time they left the ice for good this evening.
The Blues wasted little time in the second period, scoring nearly three minutes in on a sweet play by the trio of Derek Roy, T.J. Oshie and David Backes. Then, Alex Steen collected the first of his 2 goals 5 minutes later on a snap shot. Shortly afterwards, Vladimir Tarasenko buried a slap shot to make it 4-1. Finally, around 15 minutes in, Chris Stewart joined the party by cleaning up a rebound with a tap in goal. When this happens in hockey, the losing team will resort to a higher level of physicality to make up for their lousy play. So the fights began. Stewart responded to a high knee hit attempt by pummeling Cory Sarich into submission. Before leaving the ice, Stewart asked the fans to raise the roof. No worries, Stewie, your teammates were just getting warmed up.
Less than a minute later, fan favorite and pound for pound king Vladimir Sobotka was asked to throw down and accepted the duel, throwing Matt Duchene to the ice, picking him up and slugging him three times before dropping him again. The Avalanche opened the SOBE door and got denied, but more so tried to bully the Blues and got their asses handed to them instead. The carnage wasn’t over yet. Cody McLeod stepped onto the ice and asked Blues enforcer Ryan Reaves to dance. So Reaves unleashed the monkey arms and beat the spit out of McLeod, raining down punches on him like the refs weren’t even there. Let me say this. If you ask a man to fight, they are free to punch you until they can be separated. The Blues went all 1970’s Flyers on the Avalanche tonight. They put up a quick 5 spot and then responded to the expected threats by taking the fight right back to the team leaking oil. This was the Blues best overall showing in a game this season and it’s not even close. Against a very good team, they beat them in every area possible.
Sure, Jaro Halak allowed 2 soft goals and shook his head every time. Every goalie should treat big leads like they don’t exist so the focus doesn’t lessen. Halak made some quality saves early and continued with a few more in the last period as the teams traded 2 goals a piece but overall, Halak wasn’t sharp tonight. When it comes to sports karma, I will take this lapse in execution. If our goalie wants to pick a night to be off, choose the night where 7 goals are your backbone and margin for error is near the ceiling.
The boys didn’t stop pressing and that won the game here tonight. Look at Tarasenko dive for a puck late in the third period of a 5 goal game. Very impressive. That’s the right way to play hockey. Keep skating, applying pressure, shooting on net and don’t take your foot off the gas. For such a fast sport, a certain ruthless mentality is required. You don’t run up scores in hockey. You score as many goals as possible to put the other team down and keep them there. Leads evaporate in hockey and tonight was nothing short of domination by the home team.
This has been a season charging home stand. Last Tuesday, the team came back from a 2-1 deficit in Montreal to steal a game on the road. We narrowly beat a feisty Calgary team before dispatching of the Penguins and Sidney Crosby on Saturday. After losing to a very good Phoenix Coyotes team on Tuesday, the Blues responded with a landslide victory tonight against Colorado.
The record is now 12-2-3 on the season. TWO regulation losses so far. This is quite the impressive start and while it shouldn’t be taken for granted, there is room to feel a little pride as a Blues fan. This is the kind of great electric play you want to see from your team after a tough loss 48 hours earlier. Steen’s 16 goal start is very impressive but don’t forget about T.J. Oshie’s 14 assists, 4 of which came tonight. A guy with all kinds of talent and as versatile and strong on his skates as anyone, Oshie is becoming a late blooming playmaker. Derek Roy has been exciting and a breath of fresh air. Backes has 7 goals and 12 assists. Tarasenko has 6 goals. Alex Pietrangelo has 15 points. Production is coming from all over the roster. The goaltending hasn’t been superb but keeps the team in the game and refuses to break.
Can this continue? You never know. That saying is the kiss of bittersweet death in competitive sports. Forget about the rest of the season, focus on Saturday and celebrate what the Blues did tonight on home ice against Patrick Roy’s talented group of players. An impressive feat that deserves attention.
Thanks for staying to the end,
Dan L. Buffa
@buffa82 on Twitter