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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:09 am 
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While steadfastly refusing to reveal his team's lineup prior to game day, per normal practice, St. Louis Blues coach Mike Yeo joked that goalie Jake Allen might get the start for his team in Game 2 of Friday's first-round playoff series at the Minnesota Wild.

"Still trying to figure it out. We don't discuss our lineup until the next day," Yeo deadpanned after Thursday's practice when asked who would be between the pipes on Friday night while denying that fatigue would affect Allen. "He looked good today, felt good. Obviously, he knows tomorrow will be a new one and that's one thing he's done well for a long time -- he's re-set himself."

One key to Allen's resurgence as one of the top goalies in the Western Conference has been his off-day work with legendary goalie Martin Brodeur, now part of the Blues staff.

"Marty does a real good job with that, too -- helping him prepare and put the last one behind him and focus on the next one," Yeo said.

All Allen did in the opener of the best-of-seven series with the Wild is pretty much single-handedly give his team a 1-0 lead in the series, stopping 51 shots and holding off the home team long enough for his team to find a way to win in overtime.

Perhaps most interesting on Thursday was hearing the winning team talk about the need to play better and hearing the losing team talk about needing to stay the course.

"Fifty-something saves is pretty remarkable," said Blues defenseman Joel Edmondson, who notched the overtime winner on Wednesday. "We relied on him a bit too much. We weren't too happy with the way we played, but luckily (Allen) came to play and he stood on his head and got us the win."

Wild coach Bruce Boudreau, whose playoff struggles are well known, said there was a sense of determination and even anger among his players after Minnesota set a franchise record for shots on goal in a game, but saw the home-ice advantage disappear.

"They were ticked off, which is what you want them to be," Boudreau said. "But I don't think they were, 'Oh, woe is me' type thing. Just let's get back at it, and let's go."

In a pair of meetings since early March, Yeo's team has done a good job of keeping the Wild to the outside, using the Blues' size advantage on defense to keep many close-in pucks away from Allen and swat rebounds away. It's also the second time in the past month that tactic has produced a one-goal St. Louis win over the Wild.

"They did a tremendous job of blocking out and not letting us get those second chances," Boudreau said. "That's two games in a row they've done that to us, so it's a pretty good template for them. But if we want to have success, we have to find ways to get in there."

The Wild, one of the tougher home teams in the NHL, now have a 13-17 all-time record at Xcel Energy Center in the playoffs, including a 4-5 mark in overtime games.


This day in history:
1960 Montreal Canadiens become only team in NHL history to win Stanley Cup five years in a row when they complete four-game sweep in Final with a 4-0 victory against Toronto Maple Leafs
1981 Blues Mike Crombeen scores double OT goal to win Preliminary round vs Penguins
2003 Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche becomes the first goaltender in NHL history with 150 playoff wins shutting out the Wild 3-0 in Game 3 of Western Conference Quarterfinals

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:45 am 
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It will be interesting to see how each team responds. I would expect Minnesota to mostly stay the course- they dominated almost the whole game.

How the Blues' play differs tonight will be key. Do they have the ability to change gears? They won Game 1 largely on luck, but you can't count on that for a whole series.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:58 am 
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After an unforgettable goaltending performance from Jake Allen in Game 1, the Blues have taken a 1-0 series lead for the fourth time in their last six playoffs series. Winning Game 1 has been largely beneficial in NHL history as teams that do so have gone 447-204 all-time. The Blues have now won five of their last seven road postseason games overall and eight of their last 13 after a stretch from May 3, 2012 to April 20, 2015 during which they lost nine straight.

What to Watch

The Blues' penalty kill has been perfect in road postseason games recently. The Blues have dispatched all 25 power-play attempts they have faced over their last eight road playoff games. During the regular season, Jake Allen ranked fourth overall in power-play save percentage (.900) while the Blues went 33-9-5 when keeping the opposition's power play off the scoresheet.

Quick Hits

Jake Allen's 51 saves in Game 1 were the most in a single overtime game in Blues history (reg. + postseason)
St. Louis is 21-14 all-time in a series in which they gain a 1-0 series lead
Joel Edmundson's Game 1 OT goal was just the fifth OT playoff goal from a Blues defenseman in team history
Alexander Steen recorded his 15th career postseason assist in Game 1 and now has a helper in three of his last four postseason appearances
Blues Career Playoff Leaders (current Blues)

Goals
Vladimir Tarasenko, 19
Paul Stastny, 12
Patrik Berglund, 10
Alexander Steen, 10

Assists
Paul Stastny, 20
Alex Pietrangelo, 18
Jaden Schwartz, 16

Points
Paul Stastny, 32
Vladimir Tarasenko, 26
Alexander Steen, 25

Blues Playoff Streaking

Longest Active Playoff Streaks, NHL
11: Pittsburgh Penguins (since 2006-07)
9: Chicago Blackhawks (since 2008-09)
7: New York Rangers (since 2010-11)
6: St. Louis Blues (since 2011-12)

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:52 am 
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Looks like Steen might be out tonight.






And Ivan Barbashev was the only Blues player taking 10 or more draws over 50% (57%) on faceoffs in Game 1. So, no need to limit him any more over Boats for faceoffs. Heck, put him on the #1 unit over Boats who was only 43% on the draw. Lost draws were killing the power play.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:21 am 
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New update from JR has Steen in and Lehtera out. I guess Steen must be banged up and just skipping the morning skate. Interesting that Sanford is taking over for Lehtera though.




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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:06 pm 
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Bortuzzo in for Schmaltz for toughness, grit, and more poise in withstanding The Wild's heavy forecheck.

Steen not skating in practise, but will play tonight.

Sanford will replace a forward (must be Lehterä) - He doesn't figure to knock Upshall out on Line 4, or Sobotka (needed for key faceoffs).

I hope this will be Stastny's last game missed.


I see a completely different game tonight. The Blues will be more aggressive, trying to stand The Wild forwards up at the blueline. They will leave shorter gaps between their forwards and the defencemen. They will make shorter passes, and make a better effort to get the puck out of the D-Zone.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:56 pm 
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Schmaltz looked like shit out there, completely not ready. It's for the better that he's out.

Wild 3
Blues 1

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:57 pm 
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Sanford in for Lehtera means Sobotka is playing C. Outside of Steen's 0-for-4 on face-offs, Lehtera was the worst guy in the dot. I know, most of the team was bad in the dot, but 36% is horrible. I can understand the 40-50 range being on the road and not getting desired match-ups, but sub 40% is really bad. That includes you Broziak - be better there.

And Sanford needs playoff experience at some point. We have to see what he can do. The one thing he doesn't tend to do - turn the puck over or ice the puck. He's very good at moving the puck up ice, which was an area in which the Blues were very weak in Game 1.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:01 pm 
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Then I read this...



Makes zero sense playing the guy who didn't win one face-off at C when Sobotka is already on that same line. We'll see how they actually line up for the game.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:03 pm 
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theohall wrote:
Sanford in for Lehtera means Sobotka is playing C. Outside of Steen's 0-for-4 on face-offs, Lehtera was the worst guy in the dot. I know, most of the team was bad in the dot, but 36% is horrible. I can understand the 40-50 range being on the road and not getting desired match-ups, but sub 40% is really bad. That includes you Broziak - be better there.

And Sanford needs playoff experience at some point. We have to see what he can do. The one thing he doesn't tend to do - turn the puck over or ice the puck. He's very good at moving the puck up ice, which was an area in which the Blues were very weak in Game 1.


Sobotka lost 7 out of 10 faceoffs in Game 1. He won 61.9 % his last season as a Blue (leading The entire NHL). He should be better tonight. And when Stastny returns (let's hope for Game 3), The Blues should be back around 50%. THAT will help even the puck possession time more.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:14 pm 
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Robb_K wrote:
theohall wrote:
Sanford in for Lehtera means Sobotka is playing C. Outside of Steen's 0-for-4 on face-offs, Lehtera was the worst guy in the dot. I know, most of the team was bad in the dot, but 36% is horrible. I can understand the 40-50 range being on the road and not getting desired match-ups, but sub 40% is really bad. That includes you Broziak - be better there.

And Sanford needs playoff experience at some point. We have to see what he can do. The one thing he doesn't tend to do - turn the puck over or ice the puck. He's very good at moving the puck up ice, which was an area in which the Blues were very weak in Game 1.


Sobotka lost 7 out of 10 faceoffs in Game 1. He won 61.9 % his last season as a Blue (leading The entire NHL). He should be better tonight. And when Stastny returns (let's hope for Game 3), The Blues should be back around 50%. THAT will help even the puck possession time more.


It was actually 3 of 7 draws which is almost 50%. 3 for 5 vs Koivu. Needs to take more than 7 if he is on the team to help with face-offs.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:03 pm 
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There was a point there in the second period where they were down I think 12-0 on faceoffs. They can't possibly be that bad again, can they? No place to go but up, which is reassuring.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:13 pm 
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as long as Lehtera isn't playing, it means Sobotka gets that many more face-offs - which should be an improvement. Also, familiarity with opponents face-off tactics should help. The more you play a team, the more you know their tricks and how to counter them.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:42 pm 
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I think part of the issue with faceoffs is simple variance. We're looking at a 1 game sample in which we were 41.2% as a team. Even if we attribute that entirely to skill, 58.8% seems unsustainable to me. To put that in context, Anaheim led the league with 54.7% in the regular season. 58.8% is almost twice as far from 50% as that. That shows just how bad the Blues were at faceoffs on Wednesday, but also makes me think it won't keep up at that rate.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:21 pm 
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It's completely illogical to expect them to be as bad on faceoffs again. Concurrently though, it was also completely illogical to expect Minnesota to get 52 shots and only score on 1 of them. I don't care how good your goalie is, you can't sustain that level of excellence forever. The team could overall play better but get a down-to-Earth effort from Allen and still lose, which is about what I expect tonight. 2-1 with the goalie in and Minnesota score the empty netter to seal it. I do expect the team to play better as a whole, but I also expect Minnesota to get a couple of breaks.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:23 pm 
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Minnesota is on pace for a hell of a lot of shots.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:31 pm 
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That's because the Blues refuse to dump and forecheck while the Wild keep dumping, forechecking, and forcing turnovers that way. All of the Blues lines keep trying to carry the puck in and the Wild simply stop the entry, push the puck up, get it deep, and forechek.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:56 pm 
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Lucky to kill off that penalty without clearing the puck. But, The Blues got the puck out of their zone a lot better than in Game 1, and also played better in the O-Zone. Still, they've got to get a LOT more sustained offence.

Allen looks good again. Maybe he's "crossed The Threshhold", and we'll never have to worry about him again. Maybe he's now The #1 we've wanted for so many years.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:16 pm 
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Eddy!!!! Again!!!! Goal-scorer's goal up high!!! Blues lead 1-0!!!

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:18 pm 
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Scandella bangs one off the crossbar!! Blues lucky again!

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