St. Louis Blues' Up-and-Down Season Continues

Michael WagenknechtContributor IDecember 2, 2008

The St. Louis Blues continue to impress and disappoint fans with their up-and-down play. This was no more evident than during this week's slate of games. The Blues picked up four of eight points this week and sit four points back of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.


Tuesday, Nov. 25: Mason Outduels Ellis in Epic

When a player returns to a city where he had played his entire career, you expect some nerves and his team to play well to get him a win. On this night, Chris Mason returned to Nashville for the first time since his trade to the Blues in January and could not have played a better game.

Mason saw 47 shots in regulation and overtime and, with help from a few posts and some timely blocks, not one got past the goal line. Mason played great all game but really stepped it up in overtime.

With only 43 seconds gone in the extra period, Barrett Jackman went off for tripping and the Predators tried to take advantage. The puck was in the Blues' zone for almost the entire man advantage but never did find the net. Mason made five timely saves, the post made two, and defensemen Jay McKee dove in front of a partially open net to swat away another attempt.

In the shootout, David Perron and Brad Boyes beat Dan Ellis with identical moves to put the Blues up 2-0. Mason stood tall and stoned Ville Koistinen to preserve the victory for St. Louis. Nashville outshot the Blues 47 to 17.


Wednesday, Nov. 26: Blues Fall Flat in Family Reunion

The Blues traveled to Colorado for a family reunion as brothers Paul and Yan Stastny played against each other for the first time as professionals. In the end, younger brother Paul's team skated away with the victory.

Daniel Tjarnqvist took a backhand pass from David Jones and beat Manny Leagce at 11:20 of the first period to give the Aves a 1-0 lead. The goal was Tjarnqvist first in two years, his last came on Dec. 28, 2006.

Keith Tkachuk tied the game in the second period with his 510th career goal and 998th career point. Tkachuk took a centering pass off of Colorado's Scott Hannan and buried it past a sprawling Peter Budaj. It was the only tally Budaj gave up as he stopped 21 of 22 shots against.

Ryan Smith's third goal of the season, came on the power play and gave the Aves the lead for good. The power play goals was only the fifth on 25 chances for the Aves in November but it came at a crucial point in the game as the Blues were pressuring for the lead goal.

With 2:11 to play and down 3-1 the Blues had a six-on-four advantage with which to try and tie the game. But Budaj and his defense snuffed out any chance of a comeback and ended the Blues three game win streak.


Saturday, Nov. 29: Blues Lose Grip on Two Goal Lead.

Patrick Berglund returned to the Blues' lineup and provided an instant spark to the offense. With the Blues already up 1-0 in the first period, Berglund used a second chance at the side of the net to score his sixth goal of the season. David Perron assisted on both first period goals to up his team lead in assists to 13.

With all the momentum after the first period the Blues put the game on cruise control and abruptly lost everything. In an eight-minute span, covering the end of the second and beginning of the third periods, the Blues went from leading 2-0 to being down 4-2.

Andrew Cogliano started things off with a grinder's goal, pushing off a defender as he drove to the net and deflecting the shot over the arm of Legace. With 1:35 left in the second, Sheldon Sourey took a face-off win and blasted a shot, through traffic, past Legace to tie the game at two.

Dustin Penner kept the scoring going early in the third when he banged in a rebound attempt on the power play. The onslaught ended three minutes later when Penner deked the entire team into thinking he was going to shoot and than sliding a beautiful feed to Shawn Horcoff for the fourth goal.

This game could have gotten even more out of hand but Manny Legace stopped not one but two Edmonton breakaways in the third period. Dwayne Roloson made 23 straight saves to stymie the Blues offense who had one of their better shooting nights.


Sunday, Nov. 30: Tkachuk Gets 1,000th Point in Blues Victory

The Blues finished up a wild week the way they started it, with a victory from Chris Mason. Mason played another strong game by stopping 28 of 30 shots and put his name into consideration for the top goalie on this team. Mason's two strong performances earned him Third Star status on

But the day was overshadowed in a good way by Keith Tkachuk. After holding a 1-0 lead on a goal by David Backes, the Blues surrendered two goals to once again fall behind in a game they should win.

Tkachuk rescued the game and the teams poor power play with his 1,000th career point. Tkachuk scored the tying goal the same way he has all his career, flying face first to the ice.

After a very generous celebration from Thrasher fans, the game continued and the Blues carried all the momentum. Brad Boyes knocked in a rebound off a shot by Carlo Colaiacovo to give the Blues two power play goals and a 3-2 lead. Jay McClement notched his first goal of the season with an empty netter with a second to play in the game.

The Blues will look to climb above .500 this week as they play three of the next four at home.