Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's No Surprise

...I'm watching the Blues.

Actually it is a surprise.

Who would've thought that St. Louis would be in the postseason conversation as opposed to being in the draft lottery conversation?

Who would've thought that a game against the Detroit Red Wings on April 2nd would matter for either team?

Well it does, and its a great one. End to end action, and lots of goals in a short amount of time.

The Blues are coming off a dismal shutout in Chicago, after being the new rage in the National Hockey League. Coming from last place back in early February, they were a point out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference race before this game started.

They have bounced back from that crappy game, and have given Detroit a run for their money. Babcock, out of pride or madness, has been running his big line of Zetterburg, Datysuk, and Holmstrom almost every other shift. Backes had two goals in the second, but Detroit got one before the end of the middle frame.

The top of the third was very interesting, four goals in the first four minutes of the period. Detroit scored in the first minute from a carryover power play, Lidstrom with a soft shot from the point, and of course Holmstrom in front of the net, screening out Mason. But Backes answered quickly, getting his first career hat trick, with his third but not his last point of the night. The next goal was credited to Andy McDonald on a tip from the point shot, but I actually believe that Backes tipped it after McDonald. If you look closely at the replay, Backes is shaking off a defenseman but it appears that he gets his stick, or at least some body part on the puck before it goes past Conklin.

Where are we at now? 4-2 St. Louis? Yeah, that's it.

Okay, so the next goal is a nifty one from Franzen. The Mule catches the puck right in stride as he crosses the blue line, then makes a quick move to the outside that Polak bites on, and darts back towards the middle. Think Mark Streit's move on Zdeno Chara a few weeks ago in Boston. Polak is helpless on his knees, and sticks his leg out to try and trip Franzen. Franzen goes flying but still has the wherewithall to shoot the puck in the lower left corner. Beauty goal.

About 9 minutes left in the game, and the Blues have just killed a penalty, but Detroit is relentless keeping the pressure on and the puck in the zone. Kronwall drags it right into his wheelhouse as he backs up at the blueline, and just rips it into the high right corner. Tie game.

But St. Louis doesn't give up, they've left that Chicago game behind them, and Backes wants this game. Not the prettiest of goals but Backes just wills it past Conklin, surrounded by red jerseys.

Five-four with about 4 or 5 minutes to play. St. Louis manages to fight the mighty Red off and get the points, and head off the ice to watch the Ducks vs. Canucks game. And probably the Sharks vs. Oilers game too.

Two things to note.
1. Not only judging by the score and the rate of scoring in the game, both goaltenders weren't exactly their best. Ty Conklin had a few deflections go past him, but for the most part, Backes goals were stoppable. Which reinforces my previous reckless statements about Detroit's worrisome goaltending situation. Chris Mason looked exhausted tonight, using every once of energy to lift the blocker, or the glove hand. And this after a proclimation of how tired he wasn't. We'll see if he wears down in the remaining games.
2. I believe Backes got all five goals for the Blues. If they make that official, you heard it hear first.


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