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Game #35: St. Louis Blues vs. Dallas Stars

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12-27-2011, 12:13 AM
  #151
2 Minute Minor
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The Blues had several important guys out, and you'd never know it from watching the game:

McDonald, Oshie, Sobotka, Crombeen, Langenbrunner, Huskins.

The team depth is really paying dividends. Rather than have to limp through some injuries while treading water, the Blues just keep racking up points.

Chris Stewart can come off life support. It looks like he's playing with confidence and fire.

I didn't post it, but I told my family that Grachev would get his first goal tonight assisted by Perron. To me, it looked like Perron was going out of his way to get Grachev some scoring chances. Anyway, I love watching what that guy can do with the puck.

It wasn't the prettiest game, and I'd prefer not to allow Dallas to start believing they could crawl back into it...but I'll gladly take the 2 points.

Tomorrow's game is going to be pretty tough.

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12-27-2011, 12:24 AM
  #152
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2 Minute Minor View Post
The Blues had several important guys out, and you'd never know it from watching the game:

McDonald, Oshie, Sobotka, Crombeen, Langenbrunner, Huskins.

The team depth is really paying dividends. Rather than have to limp through some injuries while treading water, the Blues just keep racking up points.

Chris Stewart can come off life support. It looks like he's playing with confidence and fire.

I didn't post it, but I told my family that Grachev would get his first goal tonight assisted by Perron. To me, it looked like Perron was going out of his way to get Grachev some scoring chances. Anyway, I love watching what that guy can do with the puck.

It wasn't the prettiest game, and I'd prefer not to allow Dallas to start believing they could crawl back into it...but I'll gladly take the 2 points.

Tomorrow's game is going to be pretty tough.
I love when you get to call things in games. Feels so nice.
Last night i was watching my Packers play Chicago, and my friend and I are sitting on the couch and i just yell "COME ON! THROW THE BALL TO NELSON FOR THE TOUCHDOWN!"
Sure enough Rodgers launches a bomb down the field and Jordy Nelson just took it in. I love those moments.

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12-27-2011, 12:29 AM
  #153
2 Minute Minor
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Dang, I checked and the Blues still have the worst PP. Its going to take more than a couple more goals to budge them out of last, too. Oh well, its nice to see some signs of life there.

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12-27-2011, 12:36 AM
  #154
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Hi all, was with the fam for Xmas dinner and couldn't watch the game. By reading this thread, it appears it was very entertaining! One quick question, saw on Blues official site and on TSN that Coliacovo got an assist. Did Cole play? Was there a last minute decision to bench Cole in favour of Cola?

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12-27-2011, 12:52 AM
  #155
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Oh, btw, thanks spectr17 for all the highlights! Very much appreciated!

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12-27-2011, 12:57 AM
  #156
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Originally Posted by simon in canada View Post
Hi all, was with the fam for Xmas dinner and couldn't watch the game. By reading this thread, it appears it was very entertaining! One quick question, saw on Blues official site and on TSN that Coliacovo got an assist. Did Cole play? Was there a last minute decision to bench Cole in favour of Cola?
Cole didn't play, and hasn't since Coliacovo came back. I think he'll be heading down to Peoria soon, unless the Blues make a trade (which I doubt). Its an embarrassment of depth when a guy like Cole can't crack the line-up.

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12-27-2011, 01:02 AM
  #157
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Dang, I checked and the Blues still have the worst PP. Its going to take more than a couple more goals to budge them out of last, too. Oh well, its nice to see some signs of life there.
I'm still learning, but does that really matter? I understand that the Blues have been terrible at getting PP goals, but they're still pretty good at 5v5. And to me that seems like it's more important.

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12-27-2011, 01:15 AM
  #158
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I'm still learning, but does that really matter? I understand that the Blues have been terrible at getting PP goals, but they're still pretty good at 5v5. And to me that seems like it's more important.
Goals matter, it doesn't matter where you get em. A PP could mean the difference in a tight checking 5 on 5 game. The team needs to capitalize on every opportunity they get.

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12-27-2011, 01:20 AM
  #159
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I'm still learning, but does that really matter? I understand that the Blues have been terrible at getting PP goals, but they're still pretty good at 5v5. And to me that seems like it's more important.
If we end up in a 7 game series against Nashville where every goal matters, then we will need a functioning powerplay or in a series against Chicago when you know they will be able to score a bunch of goals, we will need a functioning powerplay.

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12-27-2011, 01:21 AM
  #160
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I'm still learning, but does that really matter? I understand that the Blues have been terrible at getting PP goals, but they're still pretty good at 5v5. And to me that seems like it's more important.
It matters now because every edge that you can muster counts, especially when the team isn't having its best night or the bounces are going the other way, but it will matter even more in the playoffs where most teams that you'll be playing against are pretty good at ES play and it's really hard to outplay an opponent based on strong ES play alone.

If you have two relatively matched opponents (goaltenders included), the performance of their special teams will usually be the difference between winning and losing, with luck the main influence after that. Superior special teams play is also an equalizer that can keep an inferior ES team in games against a superior opponent...to the point where they can outright steal games, or at least leave it up to whoever gets the lucky bounce that game.

The bottom line is that there's a lot of different ways to win...the more you have working for you, the better your chances are any given night.

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12-27-2011, 01:40 AM
  #161
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The PP doesn't necessarily matter, and it's wonderful to see that we can win without it, but it'd still be a nice crutch to fall back on.

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12-27-2011, 02:05 AM
  #162
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I get that point. As good as we're doing, you'd think our powerplays would work out better. Hopefully tonight was a sign of progress, because that second powerplay was great.

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12-27-2011, 08:31 AM
  #163
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i dont get all this talk about PP goals not mattering. i know the scoresheet is going to decide the 2 points and we are absolutely fantastic at 5v5 but when it comes down to playoff hockey, we are going to need every edge we can get and a lot of teams really get it from the PP.

not only does it provide a spark just getting a PP goal but it puts the other team in a position where they will be a little more cautious when it comes to penalties in the first place. this will give teams like the blues even more of an edge.

im not saying im not enjoying the way the blues are playing right now, ive not been this excited for this team in a long time. the point i would like to make is that we NEED to get our PP on line for the playoff push...bottom line. most of our games are decided by 1-2 goals, a good PP and the blues would surely have a few more wins and a few more blowouts.

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12-27-2011, 11:07 AM
  #164
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Special teams has been significantly better under Hitchcock. With Payne both units were dead last. The PP under Hitch has been 14.1%, which is still bad (and would be 26th were it the rate for the whole season) but at least it's better than the 7.5% it was under Payne. The PK is much improved. Under Hitch, the kill rate is 86.7% which would be 6th in the NHL for the season, only behind LA in the West. Under Payne it was 73.8% and only Toronto is that bad for the entire season.

Their 5 on 5 play has been elite all year. That's going to win you a lot of games but the problem is when you're battling for top seeds against top teams, those teams have their special teams together and it gives them the edge. What we're seeing right now is more than adequate to get the team to the playoffs but less than adequate if they hope to do playoff damage. Yes, there's the Bruins example but Pietrangelo, while great, isn't quite Chara and Thomas turned in a goaltending performance for the ages in that run last year.

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12-27-2011, 11:17 AM
  #165
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the blues have been feeling too much pressure on the PP. I'm not sure why, but I'd certainly rather have a team that dominates 5-on-5 than one that has a good PP. Both would be ideal, obviously, but the blues can build a lead without the PP and then shut the other team down and not take penalties. That's a sign of a really strong team playing playoff-style hockey.

It feels like we're going to make it out of the first round this year!

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12-27-2011, 11:42 AM
  #166
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The Blues are winning a lot of games right now. But I want to see them win a Cup. Teams that are Cup contenders are solid in every phase.

Right now the Blues have glaring weaknesses on the PP (which should be fixable, as opposed to weaknesses like not having the personnel like a good goalie, or puck-moving defensemen). They also are very weak on face-offs as a team.

I'm looking for signs of improvement in both of those phases. I was being a bit facetious about the PP rank, but I also want some evidence that they are improving. My impression is that its been a bit better, but when I look at the league-wide ranks, the Blues are still last by almost half a percentage point. To put it in perspective, the Canucks convert almost 25% of their attempts while the Blues are around 11%.

Contrast that with the PK, which has improved to the middle of the league rankings, which also started near the bottom but HAS improved. That's what I'm looking for from the PP, just average would be great.

I can't understand anyone being ambivalent about the PP. Its a glaring weakness. Other teams can take more liberties with out players if they know the PP is toothless. There are recent signs of life. I think they'll continue converting at a higher rate, but I want to see it in the stats before I believe it.

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12-27-2011, 02:00 PM
  #167
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Originally Posted by 2 Minute Minor View Post
The Blues are winning a lot of games right now. But I want to see them win a Cup. Teams that are Cup contenders are solid in every phase.

Right now the Blues have glaring weaknesses on the PP (which should be fixable, as opposed to weaknesses like not having the personnel like a good goalie, or puck-moving defensemen). They also are very weak on face-offs as a team.

I'm looking for signs of improvement in both of those phases. I was being a bit facetious about the PP rank, but I also want some evidence that they are improving. My impression is that its been a bit better, but when I look at the league-wide ranks, the Blues are still last by almost half a percentage point. To put it in perspective, the Canucks convert almost 25% of their attempts while the Blues are around 11%.

Contrast that with the PK, which has improved to the middle of the league rankings, which also started near the bottom but HAS improved. That's what I'm looking for from the PP, just average would be great.

I can't understand anyone being ambivalent about the PP. Its a glaring weakness. Other teams can take more liberties with out players if they know the PP is toothless. There are recent signs of life. I think they'll continue converting at a higher rate, but I want to see it in the stats before I believe it.
That sounds totally logical, but I don't think other teams haven't caught on to our PP conversion problems, and they haven't been taking too many liberties with our players lately.

If I'm an opposing team, I don't want to give a PP too many chances, even if they are struggling. A man down is a man down.

I get what you're saying tough. An improved PP would help this team out greatly. I'd like to see the guys put away teams early and rest the big guns for the next game. I'd also like to see a powerplay at least swing the momentum of the game in the blues' favor. When they're down a goal and go on the PP, there should be a strong threat of them scoring.

At least they aren't giving up a ton of short-handed goals...

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12-27-2011, 02:55 PM
  #168
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Of course, the PP is important. Think of all the one-goal games The Blues lost or lost in overtime/SO that they would have won or might have won if they had scored just one additional PP goal. With just a handful more, they'd have the best won/loss record in The NHL.

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12-28-2011, 10:50 AM
  #169
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Oh, btw, thanks spectr17 for all the highlights! Very much appreciated!
You're welcome, glad you could catch some Blues hockey.

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