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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:31 am 
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Last game as division rivals.



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BLUES (20-14-2) at RED WINGS (19-14-5)

TV: NBC, NHLN-CA

Last 10: St. Louis 6-4-0; Detroit 6-4-0

Season series: This is the fifth and final meeting of the Central Division rivals this season. The Detroit Red Wings are 2-1-1 with a pair of regulation wins and an overtime loss. The St. Louis Blues won 6-0, on opening day, and 4-3 in overtime on Feb. 13.

Big story: The Blues and Red Wings are battling for a Stanley Cup Playoffs berth. They are separated by one point with the Red Wings in seventh place in the Western Conference and the Blues in eighth. St. Louis has two games in hand on Detroit, which is trying to make the playoffs for the 22nd straight season.

Team Scope:

Blues: St. Louis put together a three-game winning streak to start April after closing March with a three-game losing streak.

The Blues are coming off a 3-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. They also defeated the Chicago Blackhawks in a shootout and the Minnesota Wild 4-1 in the past week.

Blues captain David Backes has a goal in back-to-back games after scoring three in the first 34. He scored the winner Friday and was identified by coach Ken Hitchcock as the best player on the ice.

"He needed to step up with everything that's gone on here," Hitchcock said. "He really stepped up. Good to see."

Forward Chris Stewart chipped in against Columbus with his first goal in six games. Rookie goalie Jake Allen made 26 saves for his ninth win of the season.

Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, whom the Blues acquired Monday, picked up two more assists in the win over Columbus, giving him three in two games.

Red Wings: Forwards Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk were reunited Friday and it worked as the Red Wings left Denver with a 3-2 overtime win against the Colorado Avalanche.

Datsyuk scored the overtime winner off a feed from Zetterberg with 15.4 seconds left. Detroit's dynamic duo also teamed up for a Datsyuk power-play goal 8:27 into the first period.

"We needed these points," Datsyuk said, according to Mlive.com. "We have tough situation, in fight for playoffs."

The Red Wings' only points in their past five games have come in wins over the last-place Avalanche. Detroit came into Colorado early Friday morning after losing at the Phoenix Coyotes, 4-2, Thursday.

Defenseman Danny Dekeyser made his NHL debut Friday and drew praise from coach Mike Babcock.

"I liked him," Babcock said. "He's going to be a good player in the League for a long time."

Who's hot: Blues forward Alex Steen has an assist in each of the past three games. ... Red Wings forward Johan Franzen has four assists during a three-game point-scoring streak.

Injury report: Blues forwards Scott Nichol (soreness) and T.J. Oshie (lower body) are out. ... Red Wings forwards Damien Brunner (undisclosed), Mikael Samuelsson (upper body), Todd Bertuzzi (back) and Darren Helm (back) have been out of the lineup.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:24 am 
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Let's knock these guys into another conference.
Blues Win.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:25 am 
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Big win!
Then we teabag them... wait they would like that?

:facepalm:

Get the (Frank) out of our conference flying tire fires

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:23 am 
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Glad Bertuzzi isn't playing- he's such a little bitch, but he has an uncanny way of getting the better of our team one way or another.

:detsucks: :detsucks: :bert: :detsucks: :detsucks:

2 points, please.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:55 am 
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Depends on who's in goal. I hadn't even realized this was a day game until just now.

Going with the Wangs 3, Blues 2 (OT)

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:01 am 
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So, Russell is on one of the wings today? I can't see the game cuz I'm at work (unless there's a way to watch it online). But, my dad called me and said Russell is playing RW/LW (forget which) today. That's odd.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:02 am 
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Russell is playing forward?

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:14 am 
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This is available live on nbcsports.com for anybody else unable to be near a TV.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:05 pm 
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Ugly ass win, but SUCK IT, DETROIT! :detsucks: :detsucks: :detsucks:

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:11 pm 
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I'll take it. And props where they're due, Elliott was huge today. He just looked more in command of the net than he did earlier this year. Petro still looks shaky at times. I don't notice Leopold much and that's a good thing for his style of play. Out of sight usually means he's doing his job.

The 4th line was again outstanding. Porter with the garbage goal, gets rewarded for not giving up on the play.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:29 pm 
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4th line has been lights out, maybe extremely random but hell I'll take it!

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:02 pm 
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Great job getting the win in detroit today. I really like our D, 1-6. I don't think there's a team in the league as deep as ours is right now on the blueline.

Now if our forwards could figure out how to create and score with consistency...

Elliot stood tall today. He got some gifts, but when you play well positionally and don't get spastic, that happens often.

Interesting factoid: Chicago's magic number to clinch the Central is 3. Any combination of Chi wins and blues' regulation losses that totals 3 and chicago clinches the division. Amazing how far out in front they are from their epic start.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:54 pm 
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The best thing about this win (aside from shutting out Detroit in Detroit) is we leapfrog the Wings in the standings, and we STILL have 2 games in hand on them... :okman:

Have to hang on to that 6th spot now. Don't want to play Chicago or Anaheim in Round 1.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:54 pm 
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I'll give Elliott credit for coming up huge today. This was a necessary two without surrendering the bonus 3rd point and there were a few times where it could have easily been going to overtime, or worse. Ells stood tall and made the saves he had to make.

That said, however, I believe 100% that if Allen wasn't playing so well, Elliott would have played like crap today. He (Elliott) only plays good when he has someone pushing him.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:38 pm 
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And for those counting, with a win tonight Chicago clinched a playoff birth and their magic number to clinch the central is any combination of Chi wins and Blues losses that total 2.

So um, let's make a run and hope they forget how to play?

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:56 pm 
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gaijin wrote:
Ugly ass win, but SUCK IT, DETROIT! :detsucks: :detsucks: :detsucks:


Ugly?
I think they played a damn good defensive game.
They outplayed Detroit. They shut down their offense, kept the shots to the outside and didn't give them many good scoring chances down low...and the handful they did have, Elliott was the man.
They played very well and deserved the win.

Here come the Blues.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:48 am 
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I agree with curt, besides that to me, in the 3rd, it was a little too much, just relying on the D. A little more offense would not have hurt. There was almost no forechecking anymore allowing Detroit to get through the neutral zone almost without any Blue trying to prevent them to do so. They almost played a 5-0-0 when Detroit had the puck, just standing up at the blue-line.

Not that I did not like it, but what uf the Wings score in the 3rd? the game slips away, not sure if the Blues would have been able to react.

Anyway, nice W! :goblues:

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:12 am 
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cprice12 wrote:
gaijin wrote:
Ugly ass win, but SUCK IT, DETROIT! :detsucks: :detsucks: :detsucks:


Ugly?
I think they played a damn good defensive game.
They outplayed Detroit. They shut down their offense, kept the shots to the outside and didn't give them many good scoring chances down low...and the handful they did have, Elliott was the man.
They played very well and deserved the win.

Here come the Blues.


Agreed. I thought we played a really good game as a team and Elliott was big when needed.

Bolded is a good way to put it. I knew we had the ability to put it together, but I was starting to worry about whether we actually would or not. It's only 4 games, but the season has a whole new feel to it now, especially with the 3rd period road comeback in Chicago and then the road shutout in Detroit. Hopefully they keep building on this and live up to their potential.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:44 am 
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Yeah, I thought we played a really good game in the first and second periods...we just went into a 'prevent' in the third.

Petro had a couple big blocked shots late in the third, but I really thought he struggled yesterday. I thought putting a legit left defenseman with him would help him find his game a bit more but it really hasn't kicked in yet. If I get's his game together defensively this is the best group of 6 d-men in the league.

I really like the way the team is playing right now, It's funny what a difference it makes when Backes get's going. He's been one of our best players the last few games and the entire team seems to be better for it. It's as if the other lines feed off of it.

"So basicly if out two best players play well we're a great team".......now there's some deep insight for you! :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:41 am 
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Some things about Elliott getting the shutout compared to when he was supposedly struggling very early in the season. Yes, he was struggling in between.

The early season stuff when everyone said it was Elliott, the only thing he was struggling with was rebounds. The Blues were not getting to those rebounds on top of the Blues giving up ridiculous scoring opportunities - breakaways, 2-on-1s, 3-on-2s, along with being out-manned near the net down low due to forwards standing around and reacting late.

On to last night.

1) The Blues only gave up one odd man break that I remember - the lone Detroit breakaway, which Elliott stopped and deflected into the stands. That is the team supporting the goalie by not giving up numerous odd-man breaks which had been happening way too often - in all games. The Blues improved on this vs Minnesota, Columbus and especially vs Detroit. I am not going to count Chicago, because the Blues gave up plenty of breaks in that game.

2) The Blues did not get out-manned down low ever vs the Wings completely eliminating any 2nd chance opportunities for Detroit. This was not the case vs Chicago, Columbus or Minnesota when the goalies actually had to be better and were for the most part.

3) Elliott gave up very few rebounds and due to #2 the Blues got to all of the "bad" rebounds first. That was not happening in Elliott's early starts this season and were resulting in goals against. I went back using the condensed videos of Elliott's early starts when everyone was blaming the losses on him. Over 75% of the goals he allowed were 2nd chance or odd-man break goals when the defense tried to stop the shooter - which is supposed to be the goalie's responsibility - and Elliott would get beat by the pass. Allen vs Columbus made saves on those very same type of plays that Elliott was struggling to make. Even then, had Columbus beaten Allen on those chances, no one would have blamed Allen - that is how good the saves were.

When the Blues play defense and only allow opponents that one shot on net, out-man the opponent in front of the Blues net, and take away 2nd chance opportunities, they flat out win games. That is how they beat Detroit last night.

One thing they did not do which they had down vs Howard in the past was just fire pucks at him. That first game of the season, the Blues fired puck after puck after puck at him and Howard failed. Last night, the Blues were not shooting at him near enough. Tarasenko, several times, had chances to shoot, tried to make an additional move for a better angle, and that one move (or delay) was just enough time for a Wing to get a stick on Tarasenko's stick screwing up the shot. Blues need to shoot more and skate for rebounds.

Overall, that was an excellent defensive game for the Blues and most of the shots Elliott faced were of the easier variety because of the strong defensive play.

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