I had to check my calendar to make sure yesterday wasn't April 1st. A win at home? This team knows how to do that? The Blues did indeed win at home last night for just the fifth time in 17 attempts. It couldn't have come at a better time. Honoring Hall of Famer Brett Hull prior to the start of the game, many former Blues graced the ice including a man that is a legend to the game itself, Wayne Gretzky. Gretzky's career with the Blues may have been brief (understatement) but it was nice to see him show up for Hull along with others such as Grant Fuhr, Al MacInnis and many more. As for the current Blues, the team finally showed up for their fans (12th sellout of the season) and delivered a much needed victory thanks to a late period goal courtesy of T.J. Oshie. Things went much better than they did the last time the team had a celebration for Hull (retiring his jersey) when the Blues went on to get crushed by Detroit. If you remember back, that game was also the last in the "Kitchen era" and I firmly believe another loss at home would have signaled the end of the Murray era in St. Louis. However, this time around, the Blues looked inspired and brought energy to the Scottrade that they usually save for the road. I think some credit should go Cam Janssen's way, as he got into a scrap just into the first, setting the tempo and energy level early. Say what you will, but a fighter's job is to give his team a spark and inspire them with big hits and timely fights, and Cam is good at what he does. The win last night wasn't an easy one as Calgary brought one of the best records on the road into St. Louis. The matchup was hard fought (another thing we haven't seen often at the Scott) and involved some incredible saves by Chris Mason, in particular a robbery of Nigel Dawes who fired in the puck from just outside the crease at an empty net. Mason flung himself across the goal mouth and the puck somehow stayed out. Definitely a close your eyes and pray moment by Mason, but we all will gladly take it.
The Blues came out scoring, tallying two goals (Backes, McDonald) in the first period while the Flames could only muster one (Bourque). The second period saw a reversal of fortunes as this time it was the Flames lighting the lamp twice (Langkow, Boyd) and the Blues being held to one (Steen). Great to see Steen get on the board again. He always appears to be one of the hardest working as well as one of the quickest guys on the ice, and he definitely earned seeing his name in the boxscore.
The third period has not been a bright spot for the Blues this season (Edmonton anyone?) but the side seemed determined to win for the alumni that made the trip. The Blues out shot the Flames 10-4 in the final frame and finally found the back of the net through T.J. Oshie with under five minutes left in the game. The effort the Blues have shown multiple times this year on the road finally seemed to glimpse through last night at home, but let's not jynx anything. A win is a win, but let's not forget what the team's pattern has been this season. Big win followed by crushing defeats. The win last night bumped the Blues up to 33 points on the season which though that ranks them still at 14th, it places them in a much better position with games in hand over each and every team between them and a playoff spot. A win on Brett Hull night was great to see (figuratively speaking as the game was no where to be found on remote) but in order to climb out of this .500 pattern the Blues need to string a few wins together.
Hopefully we won't need a big ceremony before each home game to fire up the troops and hopefully this will tilt things in a more positive direction.
On to Chicago tonight for the first meeting this season with the Blackhawks. Hopefully the Blues bring their "A" game on the road as tonight should be a good one. What's the biggest thing to look forward to tonight you ask? Easy. The game is on freaking TV. Hallelujah!