St. Louis Blues' Best of the Week

Michael WagenknechtContributor IFebruary 24, 2009

With the St. Louis Blues trying to stay in the playoff hunt, they need their top players to step up.

This week we look at the players who heeded those words and were the best of the week.

On the offensive side of the puck, the player who proved the most is also the man who had to prove he was healthy. Center Andy McDonald came back from a broken ankle this week and provided a huge spark to this Blues' offense.

Starting against the Rangers on Feb. 16, he recorded a goal and three assists. McDonald won a key face-off in the offensive zone back to Carlo Colaiacovo, who buried a slap shot past Henrik Lundqvist.

In a 2-1 victory over Nashville, McDonald took a feed from Colaiacovo from behind the net and beat Pekka Rinne low stick side to tie the game at one. Later in overtime, McDonald's quick hands cycled the puck to Keith Tkachuk, who was wide open in front of the net for the game winner.

If the Blues are going to secure a playoff spot, Andy McDonald is going to have to keep the points coming in droves.

Another important piece aspect to the Blues postseason run is their goaltending.

Chris Mason has taken off with his ascension to the No. 1 spot in goal.

This past week Mason went 2-2, but with only one bad game in that mix. He stopped 82 of 91 shots in 13 periods of play. Mason was pulled after two in Columbus after giving up four goals.

His strong play was coupled with the strong play of the Blues penalty killers. St. Louis killed off nine of 10 power plays. Anything the defenders didn't block, Mason got a pad or stick on it.

The Blues rank 10th in the league in penalty kill percentage at 82.4 percent and have remained in the top 10 all season.

This team gives up its body at every opportunity, which has led to six shorthanded goals compared to three shorthanded goals last year.

While this Blues team is still six points back of a playoff spot, they continue to play valiantly.

If their goaltending and penalty kill can stay hot and McDonald can lead players like Brad Boyes and TJ Oshie to the promised land of goals than they have a real shot of being there at the end.