After a crushing loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night, the Blues were looking to bounce back in their second-to-last game before the All-Star Break. Tonight’s game was the second in three that they took on the Ottawa Senators, and for those who can recall Thursday night’s 4-1 win over the Senators, it was expected that the Blues would be able to repeat their performance from Thursday against the struggling Ottawa club. Though this would seem reasonable to believe, Saturday night’s performance may have raised some doubts about the Blues’ ability to continue their success on Tuesday. The Blues dropped a game to the worst team in the NHL, and by a score of 5-2, so the Blues not only lost; they were outplayed. The Blues were looking for some redemption from their evident struggles on Saturday night, and with the Senators’ frustrating season, it seemed that the Blues were facing the right team at the right time.
The Blues would strike first in the first period, with Vladimir Sobotka earning his 9th of the season on his wrist shot. When Schenn received a pass from Robert Bortuzzo in the Blues defensive zone, he caught sight of Sobotka straying down the right side of the ice, open for a pass close to the Blues’ offensive zone red line. Schenn fired a pass to Sobotka, who carried the puck into the zone while being followed by a Senator. He was able to get a wrist shot off that went between the legs of Senators goalie Craig Anderson, giving the Blues the late 1-0 lead in the opening frame. The remainder of the period was uneventful, and the Blues took their lead into the second period, already looking like a better team than they had on Saturday.
Even though the Blues’ power play has continued to be in a drought and has been the entire season, their penalty kill has remained successful. Early in the second period, Bortuzzo was given a double minor for high sticking Zack Smith, ruled a double because Smith was bleeding. Though the Senators were able to ring a shot off of the crossbar against Carter Hutton, the Blues were able to kill off the 4-minute power play for the Senators and were still leading 14-8 in shots on goal for the game. The Blues did have their best power play in quite some time on Tuesday, though, getting four shots after an interference penalty put Bobby Ryan in the penalty box. Though the Blues weren’t able to compute on this power play, it did look better than their first one of the night, in which they were only able to get one shot on goal. Despite the Blues and Senators seeming to be equal in momentum in the second period, neither was able to score on the other, and the Blues carried their 1-0 lead into the third period as well.
The game would remain uneventful until Vladimir Tarasenko would add to the Blues lead in the third period with his 21st goal of the season with about 14 minutes left in the third period. Bouwmeester brought the puck into the offensive zone and passed it to Kyle Brodziak, who made a nifty pass to Colton Parayko on the point. Parayko fired a shot on goal that careened off the pad of Anderson and to the boards on the other side of the ice, where Tarasenko was waiting. He scooped up the puck and fired another shot from the point, and it found a way past the blocker of Anderson and into the net to give the Blues the 2-0 lead. Brayden Schenn would get his 20th of the season to add to his All-Star profile when he scored the Blues’ empty net goal, giving the Notes a 3-0 lead late in the third, the Blues also leading in shots on goal 39-21 at this point. The game would remain this way until the final buzzer, with Hutton getting the shutout, his second of the season.
The three stars of the game were as follows:
Third Star: Vladimir Tarasenko. Tarasenko scored his team-leading 21stgoal of the season in tonight’s win.
Second Star: Carter Hutton, who recorded his second shutout of the season and his eleventh win.
First Star: Vladimir Sobotka, who scored a goal and provided numerous scoring chances for the Blues for the entirety of the contest.
The Blues once again dominated the Ottawa Senators, and it can only be hoped that the Blues’ performance on Saturday was simply a fluke. The Blues have won three of their last four, all with Carter Hutton starting in goal. The Blues will not gain any ground with tonight’s win, whether the Predators and Jets win or not, but their win will keep them ahead of the Dallas Stars if they should win tonight as well, since they are only one point behind the Blues in the standings. The Central Division is becoming a close race, with only 13 points between first and last place. The Blues need to continue playing like they have against Ottawa, only they need to play this way against every team, not just the Senators. The Blues will play one last game before the All-Star Break against the red-hot Colorado Avalanche, who lost their 10-game winning streak tonight to the Montreal Canadiens, and this game will commence at 7:00 PM/CT at Scottrade Center on Thursday.