In three days, we’ve seen the Blues score seven goals, the Rams ending their losing streak, and the Cardinals showing off their magic once again on the brink of elimination. It’s sure been an amazing three days in St. Louis.
First came Blues game on Saturday. Coming off a win against the Predators, the Blues were looking to make quick haste of Florida. They did, but no one could’ve predicted the outcome of the game. Jaroslav Halak netted his 17th shutout, giving him the franchise record, passing Blues’ legend Glen Hall. Halak only had to make 19 saves as the defense kept Florida away from the goal, killing all four power plays, while the offense manhandled Tim Thomas, routing the Panthers 7-0. Derek Roy and Brenden Morrow scored their first goals as members of the Blues. The seven goals scored by St. Louis was the most they had scored in over two years. Morrow’s goal was his 250th career goal as well. On all aspects of the game, the Blues played well, although penalties became an issue late during the game. The win moved St. Louis to 2-0 with a key matchup against Chicago tomorrow night.
Sunday rolled along, and it was the Rams turn to show what they were made of. It was expected they would win, as it was against the worst team in the NFL (statistically, although their play has shown it as well): the Jacksonville Jaguars. The game saw the return of Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon, whom many thought the Rams would draft a couple years ago, from a four game suspension. Less than five minutes in, Parkway West grad Blaine Gabbert launched a 67-yard touchdown to Blackmon to put the Jaguars ahead by 7, much to the chagrin of the Rams’ faithful.
The Rams got onto the board when safety Matt Giordano returned a Gabbert pass 82 yards for the score. Aside from a few glimpses of life from Jacksonville, the game was all St. Louis. Quarterback Sam Bradford was fed up with losing. Bradford went 19-for-34 for 222 yards and three touchdowns, two of which went to Austin Pettis, who has really improved as a receiver in recent weeks. One issue for the Rams, however, were penalties. Tavon Austin had at least two very good punt returns called back due to holding and/or illegal blocking by his special teams’ blockers. If the Rams want to be successful, they need to reduce their amount of penalties big time, especially if you cost yourselves great field position. Rookie running back Zac Stacy started over Daryl Richardson and did not disappoint, rushing 14 times for 78 yards. The win improved the Rams to 2-3, as they travel to Houston and Carolina the next two weeks.
Two days later after the Rams won, and on the brink of elimination, the St. Louis Cardinals put their 22-year old rookie Michael Wacha onto the mound hoping for the best. To say he pitched well would be a complete understatement. Allowing only one hit (a home run) in the 8th inning, Wacha’s stellar pitching kept St. Louis in the game all afternoon, and, with help from Matt Holliday, blasting a two run shot over the center field wall, the Cardinals beat Pittsburgh 2-1 in front of a taunting crowd at PNC Park.
It was the second time Wacha was close to having a no-hitter, being one out away against Washington two weeks ago in the regular season. The Cardinals’ had not played well in Pittsburgh, only winning three game prior to Monday, but none had as much on the line as Monday afternoon’s game.
It wasn’t until Holliday’s two run shot that either team garnered a hit. After allowing a home run to Pedro Alvarez in the 8th, Wacha was taken out, and the bullpen took over. Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal got the job done, despite allowing a couple walks, and closing out the game for the Redbirds, in typical Cardinals’ fashion.
Tomorrow is the decisive Game 5 of the NLDS, and ace Adam Wainwright will face rookie Gerrit Cole, who shut the Cardinals down in game 2. This isn’t the first time in the past five years St. Louis has been in this situation, and in front of the hometown crowd at Busch Stadium, expect St. Louis to fight like never before.
With the Blues, Rams and Cardinals all winning within three days of each other, St. Louis has plenty to be excited about. With the Rams in the middle of their season, the Blues starting theirs, and the Cardinals in the postseason. Media outlets have predicted the Blues to win their first Stanley Cup this year as well. While it seems unlikely all three major teams win the championship in their respective leagues, anything is possible. And even if they all don’t, the talent each team possesses gives the city of St. Louis hope for the future (Photos By Getty Images and AP).