The St. Louis Blues triumphed over the San Jose Sharks 4-2 Saturday night in a nail-biter. Brian Elliot made his regular season Blues debut and stopped 34 shots to solidify the Blues’ victory.
The Blues came out strong in the first period. Matt D’Agostini scored first on a Sharks’ turnover, giving the Blues the upper hand. However, the Sharks tied the game at the end of the first on a goal by Michael Handzus. Brent Burns netted the only goal of the second, giving the Sharks a 2-1 lead heading into the third. The Blues came out firing in the third period and scored three unanswered goals from Kent Huskins (1), Alex Steen (2), David Backes (1-EN).
Though the Sharks came up short, it was not for lack of effort; instead, Elliot sealed up the net, making several spectacular saves to clinch the Blues’ win. From the beginning of the game, Elliot was clearly finding his groove. Though he did give up two goals, neither happened because he was out of position. The first goal was a poke in resulting from solid Shark persistence. The second goal was deflected twice before it reached Elliot—once by T.J. Oshie and again by Roman Polak. Elliot simply had no chance.
Despite another poor showing on special teams (the Blues were 0-for-3 on the power play and surrendered a power play goal to the Sharks), key individual performances lead the Blues to victory. Kent Huskins is now a +6 in three games this season; he scored the game tying goal that shifted momentum back to the Blues’ side. Matt D’Agostini played a solid game at both ends of the ice, scoring the Blues’ first goal. He skated well, creating numerous offensive chances and getting in the Sharks’ passing lanes.
Alex Pietrangelo played a defensively sound game and logged over 22 minutes of ice time, despite sustaining a hand injury during Friday’s team practice. Whether or not he would dress was questionable.
Vladimir Sobotka zoomed all over the ice, frustrating Joe Thornton and aggressively taking on Doug Murray. Sobotka played an excellent game and was placed on a line with Berglund and Stewart. Sobotka was key in the last ten minutes—he stepped in front of shots, obstructed passing lanes, and made a critical diving poke check to alleviate Shark pressure in the defensive end.
Finally, Brian Elliot was given the nod over a struggling Jaroslav Halak. Elliot played well—without his solid play between the pipes, the Sharks could have run away with the game. The Sharks fired 36 shots at Elliot and he never lost his poise. Overall, Elliot was the difference-maker in this game.
The Blues played Saturday night without Andy McDonald, BJ Crombeen, David Perron, and Carlo Colaiacovo, all out due to injury. Evgeny Grachev and Chris Porter slotted into the lineup to replace McDonald and Crombeen. Following the game in Dallas on Thursday, McDonald was sent back to St. Louis to be evaluated for concussion-like symptoms. Prior to this incident, McDonald has sustained six concussions in his career. If confirmed, this would be his seventh.
The Blues travel to the Honda Center Sunday to match up with the Anaheim Ducks.