St. Louis Blues Escape With Crucial Victory Against Vancouver

Michael WagenknechtContributor IFebruary 14, 2011

Jaroslav Halak makes one of his 23 saves in a victory Monday night against Vancouver.
Jaroslav Halak makes one of his 23 saves in a victory Monday night against Vancouver.

An untimely error by Roberto Luongo, two goals from the power play and solid defensive play helped lead the Blues to an impressive victory over the top team in the Western Conference.

Andy McDonald opened the scoring at 5:10 of the first period on the Blues' first power play. After winning the face off in the offensive zone, Alex Pietrangelo swung a pass to Nikita Nikitin, who snapped a shot on net that McDonald deflected past Luongo.

The Canucks got on the board on a deflection of their own. Henrik Sedin’s shot kicked off of BJ Crombeen’s boot and past Jaroslav Halak to tie the score up halfway through the first.

But a misstep from Luongo led to the Blues lead two minutes later. Luongo came out to play the puck to his defenseman and proceeded to pass the puck to a streaking Alex Steen. Steen lifted a backhand to the roof of the net to give the Blues the lead.

The Blues would have had more of a lead if not for the play of Luongo after that. Stops on TJ Oshie and Brad Winchester kept the Canucks in the game until late in the second period.

On another power play, Alex Pietrangelo showed off his smooth hands. Pietrangelo entered the zone and proceeded to dance around three Vancouver defenders before sliding the puck to a wide open Patrik Berglund, who buried the shot in the back of the net.

The goal was Berglund’s fourth goal in the last five games and, coupled with his increasing physical play, is showing signs of his rookie season re-emerging.

The Canucks made it a game again early in the third when Jannik Hansen slipped the puck past Halak at 1:47 of the third. The momentum started to swing back to the Canucks after that, and it looked like another Blues collapse.

But a few timely saves and a discipline not shown in the last home game enabled the Blues to take the momentum swing and weather the storm.

With under a minute to go, though, Vancouver looked like it had tied up the game when Ryan Kesler threw a shot to the net and, after a scrum in front, it went in.

Referee Mike Leggo waved it off and, after review, it was determined that Alex Burrows used his foot to kick at the puck and Halak.

This was the Blues' third win since the All-Star Break and moved them to within six points of a spot. With Calgary leading 5-0 against Colorado after the first period, it will be seven by the end of the night.

Three Stars of the Night:

#3 Jaroslav Halak: Twenty-three saves and second win in four games

#2 Alex Pietrangelo: Two assists, both on the power play

#1 Andy McDonald: One goal and one assist gives him six points in six games since his return.

Notes: Barret Jackman played in his 500th career game as a Blue...Brad Boyes had his three-game point streak snapped...Luongo’s streak of non-regulation losses ends at 21, was 16-0-5 on that span.