By Roderick M. Wilbon, Sports Editor
The Saint Louis Blues hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs on November 4. The Blues were coming off of their first shutout and home loss of the season on November 2 to the Philadelphia Flyers. A game in which the Blues lost sight of how they play the game and simply beat themselves. “We’re going to have to come to the rink focused and prepared to play our game for 60 minutes,” said Blues Head Coach Mike Yeo.
The Maple Leafs coming into this game were 8-6-0. They were a dangerous team especially on the power play and penalty kill. They are a team that scores multiple goals on the power plays and are 12-for-48 on the season. The Maple Leafs have successfully killed off 39 of 48 penalties this season.
They started the game aggressive against the Blues—bullying and knocking the Blues around until 9:16 in the first period Andreas Borgman scored a goal for the Maple Leafs. “Toronto really pressured us, and caused some of our guys some frustration in the first period,” said Yeo. “We really had to collect ourselves in that first intermission.”
The Blues regrouped after being 1-0 in the first period. The Blues ramped up the action to match Toronto. They interrupted passes by jumping in passing lanes and plainly taking the puck from receivers. Then it seemed the Blues just swarmed the net of Toronto from every angle with movement. The defense of the Blues strengthened with key saves from Jake Allen and the defensemen. The Blues quickly scored three goals by: Vladimir Tarasenko, Joel Edmundson, and Alex Pietrangelo. Brayden Schenn assisted with all three goals ending with 4 total.
“I just try and do my thing offensively,” said Schenn. “It’s easy to assist the team when Tarasenko is roaming and looking for his shot.”
The Blues played perfect hockey for the entire second period. “It’s always nice to help the team get on the board,” said Edmundson. “If it’s there I’ll try and put it in the net.”
The third period began and a 1:22 in Magnus Paajarvi of the Blues scoring a goal. The game was 4-1, and should have been out of reach for Toronto. The period had plenty of time left on the clock. Fans quickly figured out that Toronto was not going anywhere. At 2:07 in the third, Tyler Bozak of Toronto came right back and scored. The defense seemed to slacken, but the Blues did not make any adjustments. At 2:24, Vladimir Sobotka scored for the Blues. After some scary moment shortly after the goal, Sobotka went down hard after a forecheck. Toronto was called for interference and face-off violation-bench; causing a 4-on-3 power play for the Blues. At 7:52, Alex Pietrangelo scored his second goal of the game on the power play.
Fans thought for sure that Toronto was down and done now at 6-2. Then at 10:10, Connor Brown for Toronto scored a goal. The crowd went silent and Coach Yeo called a timeout. “I like what we were doing, but we just needed to gather ourselves,” said Yeo. “We started getting too loose out there.”
The Blues needed to regroup to solidify this win and end the game. Toronto was not done. At 13:13, Tyler Bozak scored another goal. The Blues would play it safe the rest of the game and finish the game 6-4. “We had our team meeting and I was confident that we would have a break-out game today,” said Yeo. “Good teams bounce back.”