St. Louis Blues: A Weekend of Highs and Lows Feb. 18-21

Michael WagenknechtContributor IFebruary 21, 2011

Former Blue Jay McClement chips puck past Alex Kotalik
Former Blue Jay McClement chips puck past Alex KotalikDave Sandford/Getty Images

The St. Louis Blues have had an eventful weekend to say the least, from trading away a top pick and blowing out a playoff team to struggling to keep up in a tight Western Conference.

On Friday afternoon, the Blues got their wheeling and dealing started as they shipped captain Eric Brewer to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a third-round pick and the rights to Brock Beukeboom. This move seemed to lighten up the locker room as it showed in that night's game.

The Blues brought their 'A' game against Buffalo that night and, behind a solid performance from Ty Conklin, shut out the Sabres 3-0. Conklin was in for the injured Jaroslav Halak who had been put on IR earlier in the day retrospective to Feb. 17.

As the Blues were flying back to the Gateway City, GM Doug Armstrong was in the process of putting together one of the most shocking trades since Mike Keenan brought in Chris Pronger for Brendan Shanahan.

At 1:10 AM Central time the Blues No. 1 pick from 2006, Erik Johnson, and penalty killer extraordinaire Jay McClement were dealt to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for power forward and noted Blues killer Chris Stewart and rookie defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk.

The move sent shock waves across the NHL, and it seemed to jar awake the stagnant Blues, at least for one game.

On Saturday night, the Blues faced off against the eighth-seeded Anaheim Ducks and from the get go it looked like the Blues were in for a long night. The Ducks jumped out to a 2-0 lead, and it seemed like that would be all the scoring to be had in the first.

Then the Blues exploded for two goals in seven seconds, just one second off the club record which they also set against Anaheim earlier this season. By the time the first period ended, the Blues were ahead 4-3.

The scoring didn’t stop there, as it seemed like everyone got into the act, and when the dust settled, the Blues had plastered the Ducks 9-3 in front of a raucous sell-out crowd.

The joy did not last long, though, as the Blues were back in action Monday afternoon against hated rival Chicago. The Hawks were coming off an emotional shootout win over Pittsburgh on Sunday.

The Blues took advantage of the jet-lagged Hawks and secured a 2-0 lead after one period and had the crowd fully behind them. But, like the Blues have shown this season, the second period was their undoing again.

Chicago scored four goals in the second, including two exactly one minute apart, and couldn’t be caught. The Blues made it interesting in the third when they apparently scored their third goal, only to have it disallowed on an apparent goalie interference call.

The boys continued to fight and did manage to make the game close with a goal halfway through the third and pushed hard to tie the game, but Chicago closed the lid on defense and not much got through on rookie Corey Crawford.

The Blues have still picked up points in four of the last five games and sit five points out of the eighth spot in the West. But the week ahead will be treacherous, and they will need every point they can get.