Blues Rise from the Dead WCF Deadlocked at 2-2
The St. Louis Blues finally played like the St. Louis Blues we've come to know in these playoffs. They did what they needed to do last night in San Jose. Dominated from the early going and never looked back.
After over 150 minutes of scoreless play, Troy Brouwer kicked off the scoring for the Blues with a tic-tac-toe goal on the Power Play. After hitting the post numerous amounts of times throughout the series he finally put one home and he didn't stop there. He ended up adding a second goal later on in the campaign. Another player that easily had his best game of the series was Kyle Brodziak. After going scoreless for the first 17 games of the post season, Brodziak stepped up in a big way. 2-0 was the score and the Sharks were on the power play looking to get back into the game. Joe Thornton made a boneheaded blind pass across the ice that caused all four of the Sharks forwards to get caught in the offensive zone. With speed Jaden Schwartz picked up the puck flew down the ice with Brodziak on a 2 on 1 and made a slick pass to Brodziak who put it top ched for his first of the playoffs. This was basically the dagger, I know that a three goal lead is the worst lead in hockey, but giving up a shorty is one of the most deflating things for a hockey team. Brodziak ended up scoring a second goal later on in the night as well.
What do the Sharks need to do? The sharks haven't played a game this poorly in these playoffs yet. After posting back to back shutouts in games 2 and 3 Martin Jones got yanked after the fourth Blues goal. He obviously needs to be better but you can expect him to be sharp in the critical game 5. As for their top guys, they all had bad nights. Brent Burns, Logan Couture, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Joe Thornton, and Joel Ward were all in the penalty box last night at some point. If the top guys are in the box, the Sharks aren't scoring goals. Plain and simple. Expect San Jose to come out fired up and pissed for game 5 due to the fact that they got embarrassed on home ice.
Side Note: Even though the Blues played well there are still some concerns. Vladimir Tarasenko was held off the scoresheet for another game so that's a problem to say the least. David Backes as well has been quiet the past three games of this Western Conference Final. Granted the Blues won last night, but if the Blues top forwards don't show up they won't be able to withstand the Sharks so they also need to be better.
Game 5 of the Penguins Lightning series is tonight at 8 on NBCSN. Marc-Andre Fleury gets the nod tonight as Matt Murray has basically lost the starting job in these playoffs to the seasoned and more experienced Fleury. Pens head coach Mike Sullivan rode the hot goaltender all the way until game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Hat tip for 21 year old rookie Matt Murray who played his ass off throughout these playoffs. Don't expect to see him between the pipes for the rest of the playoffs unless Fleury becomes swiss cheese.