Backes Goes Down, but Blues Trump Flyers

PHILADELPHIA— The St. Louis Blues journeyed to Philly on Saturday night to take on the Flyers, and they won the game 4-2 with four different skaters lighting the lamp in the victory.

Just 1:48 into the game, Kent Huskins netted his second goal of the year to give the Blues an early burst.  The Blues came out with a vengeance, testing Ilya Bryzgalov repeatedly, and they took a 2-0 lead after the first period when T.J. Oshie scored his first of the year from Carlo Colaiacovo and Roman Polak.

The Flyers came out in the second with a response — just 56 seconds in, Daniel Briere beat Brian Elliott with a goal that cut the Blues’ lead in half — but they never managed to even the score.  Colaiacovo scored his first of the year off a play generated by Alex Steen.  Steen cut to the net and threw the puck at Bryzgalov, allowing Colaiacovo to scoop up and bury the rebound.

Heading into the third, the Flyers became desperate.  They started firing some good shots at Elliott, and held the Blues to minimal chances in the first ten minutes of the third.  Matt Carle helped the Flyers pull within one with a Powerplay goal 13:16 into the third.  The puck was thrown on net, originally ruled no goal on the ice, but overturned once it was determined the puck crossed the goal line.  Just as the team did all game, the Blues responded quickly;  Matt D’Agostini picked off a mishandled puck from Bryzgalov and potted the Blues’ fourth goal, his second in as many nights.

Brian Elliott was given the nod over Jaroslav Halak for the second night in a row and played a strong game.  Elliott stopped 34 of 36 and after the game, Blues’ coach Davis Payne praised Elliott’s performance:  “He was big.  He made those stops, and a couple of them were point blank stops on talented hockey players.”

Is there a goaltender controversy in St. Louis?  Elliott is 3-0-0 on the season, leading the Blues to wins over San Jose, Carolina, and Philadelphia.  Meanwhile, Halak has posted a 3.47 GAA and .835 Sv %.  Halak is still the designated number one, but Elliott has provided the Blues with a consistent chance to win—that’s something that can’t be overlooked.

Blue Notes

  • Despite the win, the Blues are coping with a potentially significant loss:  Captain David Backes was injured in the second period when driving the net.  Flyers Captain Chris Pronger hit Backes shoulder to shoulder.  Backes was escorted off the ice by Blues trainer Ray Barile; the team labeled his malady as an upper-body-injury and he did not return.
  • Evgeny Grachev tallied his first NHL point.  He assisted the Blues’ GWG, scored by Colaiacovo.
  • T.J. Oshie was benched for the entire second period after flubbing a play at the end of the first.  Payne is making a statement to players about work ethic and on-ice expectations.  After Backes’s injury, Oshie rejoined the team in the third period.
  • Matt D’Agostini is hot.  He leads the entire NHL in +/- right now.  He’s a +7.
  • The Blues have won just 13 of 40 regulation meetings against Philadelphia since both teams came into the league in 1967.
  • Barret Jackman became a father for the second time this week.  He and his wife, Jenny, welcomed McKena Paige on Thursday.
  • The Blues travel to Vancouver Wednesday night to take on the defending Western Conference Champion Canucks.
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