Blues Battle Their Game 1 Demons for Series Lead

What we’ve seen from the St. Louis Blues in the 2016 playoffs is nothing short of amazing. A team that’s been known for earlier-than-expected Rd. 1 exits, has defeated two of the top Western Conference teams to get to where they are today. It was no easy task either, getting through both the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars in seven games.

At points, Game 1 of the Western Conference Final looked to be a repeat of the Blues’ first game versus the Stars. That game was one of the worst they’ve played this postseason, seemingly one step behind Dallas from the get-go. As they’ve shown through the last month, this St. Louis squad knows how and when to capitalize on their opportunities and still come away with a win.

Opportunity, With a Capital “D”

The big man on campus, captain David Backes, is one of the many players who has elevated his game in the playoffs. Just moments after a goal was called back against this team, losing a coach’s challenge and timeout in the process, he scored in what can only be known now as the “Backes Office.”

It was another example of how the Blues know to come together and elevate their game when it matters most. The captain’s seventh of the playoffs was answered just 34 seconds later by Tomas Hertl, proving it’s never a one and done scenario in the playoffs.

Brian Elliott needed to be big in net once again. After St. Louis had a goal disallowed, scored on the power play, and had a goal scored against them all in two minutes, they had very little offensive pressure. San Jose outshot the Blues 16-5 in the second period alone and 32-23 overall. Once again, the home team heroes were able to capitalize on those limited chances.

Jori Lehtera blasted a knuckler past Martin Jones for the 2-1 lead. Other than that, it was all Moose, all defense, and all special teams the rest of the way.


What to do, What to do…

Maybe it’s first-game jitters, maybe it’s just the fact that the Sharks were more prepared for Game 1 like the Stars were in Dallas. Either way, if the Blues want to continue this great run in the 2016 postseason, they need to play a full 60 minutes.

It’s hard to argue that St. Louis is doing something “wrong,” seeing as they’re up 1-0 in the Western Conference Final. A team like San Jose will jump on the chances they’re given. Lucky for the Blues, they have the league’s hottest goaltender in net, and one of (if not the) best penalty-killing units.

After shaking off a somewhat scary Game 1 win, it’s now time to play the game they played versus Chicago; sound defensively, while continuing to capitalize on their offensive chances. There’s no doubt they can play as a team and make it happen; they have for 11 wins thus far.

Now, they aim to sink the Sharks.