The St.Louis Blues have started the season on a positive note. They rallied to beat Detroit twice in Sweden. So that has put them in first place (2-0) sending the Red Wings to the bottom at (0-2). St.Louis are one of seven undefeated teams in the NHL at the moment.
Andy Murray looks for his team continue their winning ways against Atlanta in their home opener in St.Louis tonight at Scott Trade Center. But the team must realize that they need a better 1st period.
In the first two games St.Louis started slowly in the first period. The Blues managed only 16 shots total for both games in the 1st period. They scored two goals total for both first periods.
But there was a definite glow on the ice when Paul Kariya, or Eric Johnson had the puck. Paul Kariya has posted good numbers for the first two games. He has four points (2g 2a +1) Eric Johnson is looking in top form also with two points (0g 2a +4) Johnson's +/- is ranked second among NHL defenseman.
Keith Tkachuk has provided his scoring touch with 4 points (2g 2a) both goals coming on the powerplay. Keith received the NHL 3rd Star honor for the week.
The things that St.Louis needs to improve on are still very obvious. They are taking to many penalties. They were forced to kill off 8 of 10 Detroit power plays in the last 2 games.
In order to fine tune this new machine the Blues must get shots on goal from their defense. St.Louis defense only managed 10 shots (six shots were by Eric Johnson)and they produced no goals from any of these shots.
The St.Louis powerplay did look much more dangerous than last year. They recorded four goals on nine opportunities. The likes of Kariya,Johnson,Tkachuk, and McDonald have played an early role in this success. Tkachuk, and McDonald have three of the four powerplay goals.
Split goaltending was a huge factor in the two victories over Detroit. Chris Mason (1-0 3.00 GAA on 34 shots .912 save%)was outstanding against the 11 time Stanley Cup Champions. Chris was no less than stellar in his first victory of the year. Ty Conklin(1-0 3.00 GAA on 33 shots .909 save%) was victorious in his first start against his old team.
Let's rewind to the Blues record thru the first five games of the last two seasons. In both seasons the Blues started well going 4-1, and last year the Blues went into their 1st game against Detroit with that record. They lost, and went 2-7-1 the next 10 games.
Moving towards the next three games against Atlanta, LA, and Phoenix. I believe that if St.Louis responds in correcting the mistakes that are visible; the Blues will win these 3 games. Which would improve them to a 5-0 record.
" Besancenez Bottom Line "
1) First period play must improve: the team needs 60 minutes of solid play.
2) Fewer Penalties: St.Louis killed off eight of 10 power plays the last two games.
3) Physical Play must continue: St.Louis outhit Detroit 73 to 60 in the two games.
4) Puck Transition: the defense needs to make clean outlet passes to limit shots, and produce attack time.
5) Solid goaltending: Chris Mason, and Ty Conklin need to continue making timely saves that keep their team in the games.
"Lets Go Blues"