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In a battle of heavyweight contenders from the Eastern and Western Conference, the Western Conference got the upper hand when the St. Louis Blues narrowly defeated the Boston Bruins in a shootout victory.
If you looked at the two teams on paper they were incredibly even matched and when you watched the game on the ice you knew that the statistics didn’t lie. This game was a battle down to the very last shootout goal.
The first period started out as expected with each team flying around the rink and throwing their bodies into anything that moved. Both teams got their opportunities in the offensive zone and fired off shot after shot. Both goalies and defenses were able to hold their own for most of the first period.
Then in the 18th minute, Gregory Campbell fired a shot wide that St. Louis had trouble getting out of the zone. Torey Krug gained the puck at the offensive blue line and fed it in deep to Daniel Paille who then quickly got it to Campbell and he beat Jaroslav Halak for the first goal of the game.
However, the Blues would get the goal back a mere 31 seconds later when Derek Roy tipped in a softly sliding puck. The goal can only be described as soft. The puck had the speed of that which was shot by a pee wee hockey player and was sliding slowly towards Tuuka Rask who had a clear view of it the whole way. Regardless, the puck found its way through Rask’s five-hole and tied the game at one.
The first period ended in a 1-1 tie and it was clear that both teams had brought their “A” game.
The second period saw more of the same. Each team was still playing physically and putting everything they could on the net. It was also a clean game as there had been no penalties called to this point.
In the 16th minute St. Louis was able to take its first lead as David Backes, with incredible hand eye coordination, was in traffic and redirected a shot by Kevin Shattenkirk.
They wouldn’t hold the lead for long as Carl Soderberg snapped a shot by Halak at the 18:41mark.
As seemed to be the theme throughout the night the teams headed into the locker room all tied up through two.
While the game wasn’t short on action, it was short on goals. The action during the third period consisted solely of the only two penalties called, one for each team. That’s just one indication of how evenly matched the entire game was played.
St. Louis with the best power play in the NHL got their first of the night when Matt Bartkowski was called for holding at a little under two minutes into the period. The aforementioned Blues power play was stymied by the just as apt Bruins penalty kill and held to only two shots.
The Bruins got their chance at 8:56 when Barrett Jackman was whistled for interference. Wouldn’t you know it the Bruins were only able to muster two shots during their power play.
As the period wore on it became clear that this one was going to be decided in extra time. It was only fitting as each team deserved at least a point for the way that they were playing.
The overtime period played out exactly like the first three periods as each team played furious four on four hockey only to come up short in the goal department.
It was actually a disappointment whether you were a Blues or Bruins fan to see this one head into a shootout. Watching the game you found yourself wishing that this was a playoff game and that the overtimes would continue until one team mustered that one hockey play to win it. This game was just hockey at its best and a great game for any hockey fan.
However, it went into a shootout and the Blues got the extra point as both Alex Steen and Roy were able to beat Rask while only Patrice Bergeron could solve Halak.
The Bruins were able to maintain their conference lead with the loss but now must set their sights on Carolina who will be in Boston for a Saturday afternoon game. Following that game the Bruins have a tough match-up at home against the always dangerous Pittsburgh Penguins.
Tags: alex steen, barrett jackman, Boston Bruins, Carl Soderberg, Carolina, Daniel Paille, david backes, Derek Roy, Gregory Campbell, Jaroslav Halak, kevin shattenkirk, Matt Bartkowski, Patrice Bergeron, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, Torey Krug, Tuuka Rask