Meeting the Legion
So, the St. Louis Blues were in the midst of a two-game win streak
and started to find some offense to replace both Brett Hull and
They tried to extend that winning streak when they traveled to
Philadelphia to take on the Flyers in a very important game for
Blues fans who live in the Philadelphia area who constantly get
taunted whenever the Flyers decide to beat St. Louis. (Believe me,
The Bluenotes illuminated the First Union Center scoreboard first
when Scott Young fed Pierre Turgeon for the opening goal just 4:16
into the first.
The game stayed that way until 16:28 left in the opening stanza when
Rod Brind'Amour finished off the rebound of a Eric Desjardins shot
to tie the game, but Lord knows the Blues gave Philly plenty of
chances. The Blues committed three penalties, including a Tony
Twist double-minor, but none of the ensuing power plays turned into
The next goal of this game proved to be the final score of the
night. Colin Forbes deflected a shot past Blues' goalie Jamie
McLennan only 28 seconds into the second to give the Flyers a 2-1
And somehow they held on, thanks in a large part to the Flyers'
free- agent signing of the off-season, John Vanbiesbrouck.
"Beezer" stopped 30 shots, including a save on Scott Young that made
all of the highlight reels, and the Philadelphia Flyers held on to
beat the Blues, 2-1.
"He made a couple of really spectacular saves," Philadelphia captain
Eric Lindros said. "He has a real calming effect on our club."
The Flyers won despite going just 1-for-9 on the power play. Jamie
McLennan stopped just 18 Flyer shots.
Back on the Homefront
After dropping a game they should have won against the Flyers, the
Blues returned to the Kiel Center to try and beat Norris Division
rival Detroit for the first time all season. (Of course, this was
only the second time they met so far this year, but it's still a
The Blues started off the scoring in this big game a second past the
midway point of the first when Scott Pellerin slid a shot past Red
Wings' goalie Chris Osgood for the 1-0 lead.
Pavol Demitra almost made it 2-0 when he swatted a puck into the
goal, but it was ruled to have been hit with a high-stick, thus
wiping out the goal.
2:45 later, just 19 seconds after Pellerin went to the box for
tripping, Doug Brown tied the game at 1-1, with the help of
teammates Martin Lapointe and Slava Kozlov.
Nothing happened in the second. But something big happened in the
Scott Young fed a pass for Geoff Courtnall, who broke away from the
Detroit defense and skated in on Osgood, but he didn't get there.
Aaron Ward hooked Courtnall down to the ice...or that's what the
"Personally, I thought he really embellished it by diving, and he
actually hit the post," Red Wing associate coach Barry Smith said.
"So, it wasn't like not getting a shot. It was a gimme call and that
That opinion didn't matter as referee Bill McCreary awarded St.
Louis a penalty shot, which Courtnall converted to put St. Louis up
"Anytime you score, it's exciting," Courtnall said. "But to get a
penalty shot and have 20,000 people watching you, it's a big relief
when it goes in."
Al MacInnis added an empty-net goal as the Blues beat the Red Wings
For once, the Blues didn't commit a load of penalties, giving up
only five power plays. That always helps.
Grant Fuhr turned away 25 of Detroit's 26 shots for his second win of
Thank God for Al
So, the Blues just defeated the defending Stanley Cup champions, but
their toughest task came two days later when they took on Paul
Kariya and Teemu Selanne (collectively known as the Mighty Ducks of
Anaheim). Ok, maybe Anaheim is the toughest team in the league, but
nobody told the Blues that.
Teemu Selanne put a backhand past Grant Fuhr with 2:02 left in the
first to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead.
Four minutes into the second, Paul Kariya intercepted a pass inside
the Blues' zone and skated in alone on Fuhr to push the advantage
With 5:09 left in the second, the Blues finally decided to score when
Scott Young accepted a pass from Geoff Courtnall and beat Anaheim
goalie Guy Hebert.
And things stayed that way until the third.
The Blues desperately needed a goal, but who would they turn to?
I'll take a guess as to what would happen. I'll put my money on Al
MacInnis with a slap shot for one of the two lines, either red or
So, with 12:36 left in the game, Al MacInnis skated just over the
blue line and slapped a shot past Hebert to tie the game at 2. The
last 7:24 of regulation and the five minutes of overtime didn't
produce anything as the game ended in a tie.
The Blues should have won this one, outshooting Anaheim 45-27, but
they got behind early and were lucky enough to force a tie.
Grant Fuhr stopped 25 shots in the effort.
So, the Blues finish up their two-game home stand with a win and a
tie. Now, they have to get ready for a three-game California road
trip. Game one was against Anaheim, the same team the Blues tied
four days earlier.
Would there be any hatred between the two sides?
Uh, I doubt it. It was only a tie.
St. Louis goal-scoring sensation Tony Twist (that's sarcasm) opened
the scoring 14:44 when he skated alone on the Anaheim goal and took
a pass from Michel Picard for a 1-0 lead. Obviously Anaheim decided
that Twist's scoring capabilities weren't that awesome.
The only action of the second came when Paul Kariya was skating in
on the St. Louis goal. Al MacInnis hooked down the Ducks'
superstar, but a penalty shot was not awarded to him.
"He (referee Dennis LaRue) told me afterward that he should have
called one, but it was such a quick play and he was so far back in
the zone, it was a tough play to call," Kariya said.
With two minutes gone by in the third, Pierre Turgeon, standing
behind the Anaheim net, passed to Pavol Demitra, standing inside
the left circle. Demitra's shot beat Guy Hebert to give the Blues a
Anaheim narrowed the deficit to 2-1 when Tomas Sandstrom finally got
a shot past Grant Fuhr, but it wasn't enough.
Pierre Turgeon added an empty-netter with 49 seconds left as the
Blues beat Anaheim 3-1.
Grant Fuhr was almost unbeatable throughout the entire game stopping
28 of Anaheim's 29 shots.
The Rematch (Of What Happened Last Season)
The second game of the road trip was in Los Angeles against the
Kings, the team St. Louis dismissed in four straight to win their
The Kings got back at the Blues for their troubles with them last
Luc Robitaille put the first goal on the board 6:16 into the first
and Glen Murray added another one 5:13 later to give the Kings a
commanding 2-0 lead in the first.
The Blues got back into it in the second thanks to two power plays -
a part of the Kings game that was one of the best in the league.
Coming into the game with St. Louis, Los Angeles had allowed only
one goal in its previous 56 shorthanded situations.
The Blues paid no attention to that statistic.
Just 28 seconds into the second period and Rob Blake already gone
with a slashing penalty at 20:00 of the first, Sean O'Donnell
cross-checked Pierre Turgeon and was sent off for two minutes,
giving the Blues a two-man advantage for 1:38. (Wait a second a
Sean O'Donnell penalty possibly costing Los Angeles a game against
St. Louis??? Where have I heard this before?)
Pavol Demitra scored on the two-man advantage :41 into the second
and Al MacInnis slapped a shot from the right circle 1:39 later
helping the Blues tie the game at 2-2.
And that's how it ended.
For St. Louis, this was the second time in the past three games that
they fought back to earn a tie after trailing.
Kings' goaltender Manny Legace stopped 26 of 28, while St. Louis
goalie Jamie McLennan stopped 31 of 33 shots to earn the tie, his
first of the season.
Well, it looks like the Blues were on a little winless streak,
having not lost in the previous four games, taking over control in
the Central Division.
The Blues looked to add to that streak as they traveled to the
"Shark Tank" in San Jose.
The Blues jumped out to an early advantage when Todd Gill and Geoff
Courtnall set up Pierre Turgeon 14:42 into the game for a 1-0 lead.
After a scoreless second, the Blues increased their lead 5:27 into
the third when Michel Picard moved in alone on San Jose netminder
Mike Vernon. Picard got the puck around Vernon to give St. Louis a
2-0 lead and send them well on their way to a win.
But hold on a second.
Sharks' forward Patrick Marleau put home the rebound off of goalie
Jamie McLennan's stick to move the score to 2-1 with 12:35 left in
With the Sharks pumped and looking for the tying goal, former
Bluenote Joe Murphy fed a pass from behind the St. Louis goal to
Marco Sturm, who finished of the goal and tied the game at 2-2,
almost seven minutes after Marleau's goal.
And that's how it ended as the Blues blow a two-goal lead in the
third and settle for a 2-2 draw.
If blowing the lead wasn't bad enough, the Blues got worse news as
starting goaltender Grant Fuhr left the game midway through the
first with a groin injury. He is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.
The bulk of the work in goal will be placed on the shoulders of
Jamie McLennan. And what a load it will be.
The Blues have, for some reason, decided to become an undisciplined
team, committing no fewer than five penalties in each of their last
McLennan is going to have to be strong between the pipes on the
penalty kill for the Blues to stay on top of the Central Division
and among the NHL elite.
Good luck, Jamie. If the guys in front of you continue to go to the
box with the same frequency that they have been in the past couple
of weeks, you're going to need it.