The St. Louis Blues have been in a bit of a bad way of late. Despite their shootout win over Columbus last night in which Jackets goalie Steve Mason couldn’t keep his five hole from being scored upon, the Blues have done rather miserably. Without Jaroslav Halk in goal, times have been rough but today, the Blues activated Halak off of injured reserve to try and help things get steadier in goal. Ben Bishop was sent back to the AHL to make room for Halak.
When we last saw Halak in goal, it was Valentine’s Day and the Blues had just beaten Vancouver and spirits were sky high about the Blues potentially making a run at the playoffs. Since then with the duo of Bishop and Ty Conklin the Blues have gone 4-7-0 and fallen back to 13th in the Western Conference, 10 points behind eighth place Los Angeles.
The road for St. Louis to make a run at the playoffs is a tough one. James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail tracks teams in their quest to reach the playoffs. In the Western Conference, you generally need to have a shot of reaching the postseason by getting 96 points. For the Blues to get there, they’ll need to go 14-1-1 in their final 16 games. There’s no room for error for the Blues and they’ve been beset by nothing but errors of late.
If Halak can jump back in the lineup and get the Blues to get that hot to close out the year, the Halak signs that were so popular in Montreal last year for the playoffs will be out in force in St. Louis. Realistically it seems highly unlikely that such a run is in the Blues especially with a schedule that sees them still facing Detroit and Minnesota twice and one final brutal swing on the west coast to face the Kings, Ducks, Sharks, and Coyotes.
The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.
In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).
Here’s his first goal of the night:
While this is his overtime game-winner:
It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.
The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.
October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.
November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.
Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.
More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.
Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.
Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:
… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.
(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)
Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.
You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.
Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.
Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.
You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.
It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.
Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.
Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.
Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.
Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:
Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.
If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.
Check out this incredible shot of that moment:
Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.