In tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators, the Blues were looking to take advantage of a struggling team and to tie the Winnipeg Jets for (potentially) first place in the Central. The Predators also played the Arizona Coyotes tonight, and depending on the score of this game, the Blues could be on top of the Central again by the end of the night. The Blues had won on Tuesday night against the Maple Leafs in overtime, and the momentum of this win was expected to be carried into tonight’s contest. The Senators were seventh in the Eastern Conference Atlantic Division through 42 games prior to tonight.
The first period was relatively uneventful, though the Blues did seem to outplay the Senators through the opening frame. However, the Senators and the Blues both had seven shots at the end of the period. The Blues did receive a power play while the Senators did not, but they could not capitalize with the man advantage, though given their recent power play performances, it is safe to say that the Blues power play is more than struggling this season. The period ended with the score still 0-0 for the second game in a row, and it seemed like the game was going to be a close one.
The Blues would score their first goal on Tarasenko’s 20th of the season. Stastny was hounded by several Senators in the corner of the Blues’ offensive zone, and he fought off two of the Ottawa players and was able to get a pass to Robert Bortuzzo, who fired a quick wrist shot towards the net. Tarasenko was cutting through the slot at the same time as the shot was taken, and he was able to deflect the puck past Senators goaltender Craig Anderson for his 20th of the season, his fifth straight season scoring 20 or more goals. The Blues would add another goal by Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo, his 8th of the season. Joel Edmunson’s original shot from the red line was saved by Anderson, but he gave up a giant rebound, and Pietrangelo was waiting. Though Anderson tried to dive across to save the puck, he dove too soon and the captain wristed the puck into an empty net, making it 2-0 Blues in the second period. The Blues would make it 3-0 soon after, when Brayden Schenn cashed his 18th of the season. A long pass to Steen by Vince Dunn was on-side, and though Steen was open and Schenn was guarded by a Senator, Steen chanced the pass when he saw that all of Schenn’s momentum was moving towards the crease. Schenn was able to get a backhanded shot off of the pass, and it went over the glove of Anderson and into the net. The Senators would get one back and make it 3-1, however, on a goal by Bobby Ryan, a notorious Blues-killer. It was Ryan’s 6th of the season. He was passed the puck by Matt Duchene from behind the net, and the right winger was waiting at the top of the zone for the puck. Once he received it, he dangled with the puck for a few seconds before firing a wrist shot towards Blues goaltender Carter Hutton. The puck was tipped somewhere in front, but it was likely off of a Blues player, and it went over the glove of Hutton and into the net. Though the Blues had given up a goal, they were leading 3-1, a comfortable lead for the Blues as they entered the third period.
The third period was a battle of back-and-forth momentum between the Blues and the Senators. The Blues received a 5-on-3 power play, but did not score on it. However, right after a Senators power play, the Blues got a goal from Alexander Steen, his eighth of the season on an empty-net goal to make it 4-1 late, the last blow to the Senators.
The Blues took home the win tonight, doing much better than they did on Tuesday in terms of scoring. The Blues had 37 shots on goal and recorded 4, which is a lot better scoring than when they scored 2 on 42 against the Maple Leafs. They also allowed just 21 Senators shots in the win, showing that the defense has improved as well. Carter Hutton has been the starting goaltender for both wins, and the way that things are moving, it appears as though he will be starting Saturday night as well, when the Blues return home to face the Arizona Coyotes at 7:00 PM/CT. The Blues could be in first place alone by Saturday, and that should help Blues fans sleep well tonight, along with the 4-1 win.