– Photo by Ryan Leopando / Arch City Sports
The Blues entered tonight’s game winners of nine out of their last ten games. Tonight’s matchup against the Washington Capitals would wrap up a five game home stand before the Blues travel to New England to take on the Boston Bruins Tuesday to start a four game road trip. The Blues had Brian Elliott in net tonight to combat the sharp shooting of Caps sniper Alex Ovechkin.
Jori Lehtera got the party started in the first period when he received a pass from Jaden Schwartz and beat Washington goalie Justin Peters with a wrist shot. That goal was Lehtera’s seventh of the season.
Washington tied it up in the second period when Brian Elliott appeared to stop to the wrist shot of Joel Ward, but the puck somehow trickled through the grasp of Elliott.
That goal would be the only red mark on the stat sheet of Brian Elliott. Elliott denied 24 out of 25 Caps shots on the night.
At the 12:36 mark in the second period, Kevin Shattenkirk ripped a slap shot from the point and Jaden Schwartz was there to backhand the rebound to give the Blues a 2-1 lead.
With the second period winding down, Tom Wilson found himself on the wrong end of a fight with Ryan Reeves. Both Reeves and Wilson would serve five minute majors for their altercation.
The third period opened up with a nice hustle play. St Louis dumped the puck into the offensive zone and Justin Peters went behind his net to retrieve it. Patrik Berglund met Peters behind the goal, picked his pocket and dished to a wide open David Backes. Backes buried his fifth goal of the year on his easiest opportunity of the season.
Mid-way through the third frame, David Backes would tangle up with Tom Wilson and both would be sent to the penalty box for two-minute minors. St Louis did not allow the Washington Capitals to have a power play all night.
When Wilson got out of the box for the second time, Steve Ott greeted him with back-to-back hits. The first one, Wilson didn’t see coming as he was blasted into the glass into the corner. What bullying the Caps were attempting was shut down after Ott’s physical shift on the ice.
With under four minutes to go, TJ Oshie drifted into the slot and found Patrik Berglund coming in from the wing. Berglund beat Peters to give the Blues a 4-1 advantage on his second goal of the year.
Patrik Berglund is looking comfortable on the first line with Oshie and Backes. We have seen the STL Line (Lehtera-Tarasenko-Schwartz) get the bulk of the credit lately, and deservingly so. However, the difference maker for tonight’s matchup was the first line. Both Backes and Berglund recorded a goal and an assist, while Oshie chipped in with an assist as well. The most impressive thing they did was kept Alex Ovechkin in check. Ovechkin only had three shots on goal and none of them were clean looks.
The Blues’ defense was great tonight. They allowed 25 shots to reach Brian Elliott, and they didn’t waste time getting the puck out of the defensive zone in transition.
Washington falls to 7-7-3 on the season, while the Blues improve to 12-4-1 and remain in first place in the Central Division with 25 points. The win is St Louis’ third in a row.
Tuesday’s game at Boston starts at 6 PM CST and can be seen on FS-MW or heard on KMOX 1120.