Saturday, February 13, 2010
By Joe Beninati
There were a few points that jumped out with me at me with this game in St. Louis. The most noticeable was the amount of hitting over the course of 65 minutes. Whenever I have seen the Blues this year, I have noticed their willingness to throw the body, and tonight was no exception. The fans inside of Scott Trade Center loved the action and the intensity. It's one of the loudest buildings in the league, and the Mardi Gras party spilled over inside the arena.
This was a better defensive effort from the Caps than we saw in either of the first two games of the trip in Montreal or Ottawa. Jose Theodore was very strong in goal. His glove save on Alex Steen will be on every highlight show for weeks. The Caps were down two men at the time, and Theodore was clutch at the right moment, and the penalty killers around him were determined to succeed. It was a nice job by David Steckel, Boyd Gordon and Jeff Schultz to make sure the Caps arrived at the overtime after 60 minutes tied up at 3.
Let's go back to the beginning of the night. The initial six minutes of the game featured at ugly incident involving Matt Bradley and Blue's tough guy Cam Janssen. Janssen blind-sided Bradley along the boards long after Matt had moved the puck. The Cap's winger was knocked woozey and did not return. It was the type of hit the league is looking to eliminate and Janssen should face supplementary discipline on top of the game misconduct he received this evening. The Caps power play produced a pair of Mike Knuble goals. The big winger was camped in the slot for both tallies, looking very comfortable in the high-traffic area.
We were told this morning that the league had asked the referees to clamp down on interference calls. They took that advice to heart and called 4 of them, plus several other hooking and holding minors tonight. I especially didn't like the one called on Karl Alzner, who barely grazed the forechecker along the boards before he was hit with the interference minor.
This was a fun game to call even if it didn't turn out DC's way. Chris Mason and Theodore were very strong in goal and it easy to see why the Blues are high on people's list for the future. Their youngsters are pretty good.
Best wishes to all the Olympians league-wide. The tournament in Vancouver will be extremely competitive. Let's hope everyone returns home healthy and in the end that they put on a great show. I know I will be watching with interest.