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POSTED ON Monday, 11.17.2014 / 10:43 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

BOSTON - With TD Garden in Boston being the first stop on a four-game road trip, we thought it would be nice to reflect on one of the most memorable come-from-behind wins in Blues history.

It happened at TD Garden on Jan. 19, 2009. The Blues had a 2-1 lead in the third period against the Bruins, who led the Eastern Conference with a 33-8-4 record at the time.

Everything appeared to be falling apart though with about six minutes to go. With Blues forward Dan Hinote in the penalty box for elbowing, Boston’s Michael Ryder tied the game with 4:44 to go. Just 19 seconds later, P.J. Axlesson beat Blues goalie Chris Mason to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead.

And just 1:20 after that, Zdeno Chara gave the Bruins some added insurance with an even-strength goal with 3:05 to play.

The Bruins, once trailing, scored three goals in a span of 1:39 to take a 4-2 lead in the third period.

The Blues were down. But they were not out.

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POSTED ON Monday, 11.17.2014 / 11:08 AM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / DraftKings Fantasy Report

Three weeks into our DraftKings Fantasy Reports, we’ve featured a member of the Blues’ “STL Line” as our main fantasy focus every time.

This week will be no different.

Today, it’s Jaden Schwartz, who is currently on a six-game point streak with 10 points (two goals, eight assists). Schwartz scored a goal and an assist Saturday against Washington (and was oh so close to scoring another goal). It was his fifth multi-point game of the season and first game-winning goal since Dec. 31.

When you’re drafting for your daily fantasy team at DraftKings, consider Schwartz (or Vladimir Tarasenko, or Jori Lehtera). You can’t go wrong.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Jori Lehtera has points in seven consecutive games (five goals, six assists). His 11 points in November trail only Tarasenko and Nashville’ Filip Forsberg for the most League-wide. In addition, Lehtera was named the NHL’s No. 1 Star of the Week on Monday after scoring four goals and two assists in three games last week.

Brian Elliott was won six of his last seven games overall. He ranks third in the NHL with a 1.87 goals-against average and fifth with a .930 save percentage this season.

SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Nov. 18 at Boston Bruins
Nov. 20 at Montreal Canadiens
Nov. 22 at Ottawa Senators
Nov. 23 at Winnipeg Jets

DraftKings offers free or paid fantasy hockey options and gives players the opportunity to win real money! Participate in daily hockey leagues with no season-long commitment! To date, over $20 million has been paid out to thousands of fantasy sports winners! Go to draftkings.com to sign up today!

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POSTED ON Saturday, 11.15.2014 / 1:12 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

ST. LOUIS - Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Ovechkin.

Both offensively-gifted Russian players, one is already established and the other is still making a name for himself.

Tonight they go head-to-head for the first time this season when the Blues and Washington Capitals face off at 7 p.m. at Scottrade Center (FSMW, KMOX).

“(Tarasenko) is a great player. He’s a heck of a player. He’s a difference maker,” Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said recently. “There’s probably as many players in the League that have as many goals as him, but not as many important goals. Those goals either win us hockey games, bring us back in hockey games, things like that. His sense of timing for me is the most important part for the team. He’s done a great job.”

“I think Vladi admires a lot of guys that have come out of Russia. Ovechkin’s one of those guys that he’s looked up to,” defenseman Barret Jackman added. “I think Vladi’s going to have some fun. He’s really going to take it to the next level.”

In fact, he already has. Through 16 games this season, Tarasenko has 10 goals and 11 assists (21 points).

The Capitals are beginning a three-game road trip tonight. Last night, they fell 1-0 to the New Jersey Devils at home, but previously had won three straight.

“Ovechkin is very dangerous and Backstrom is up there with the best players in the League,” Jackman said. “When you have a team like this that has so many weapons, it’s fun to rise to the challenge.”

Longtime Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz is behind the bench now for Washington. Hitchcock said he sees some of the same defensive strategies he’s come to expect from Nashville, but offensively, the Capitals still pose a big threat.

“Their skill in the middle of the ice is obviously evident offensively. I don’t think anything’s changed there,” Hitchcock said. “It’s still a team that if you expect to beat them, you’re going to have to keep the game 5-on-5 as many minutes as you can. You don’t want to allow their best players to get an extra skater out there.”

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POSTED ON Thursday, 11.13.2014 / 1:12 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

ST. LOUIS - It's early in the season, but first place in the Central Division is on the line tonight when the Blues and Nashville Predators meet again at Scottrade Center at 7 p.m. (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX 1120 AM).

But Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said he’s not thinking about the standings right now. He’s just thinking about how his team will respond after losing 2-1 to Nashville in the first meeting on Saturday.

“I glance at the standings and in probably six weeks, I’m going to be staring at it every day, but right now, I glance at it,” Hitchcock said. “For me, the focus is its our turn to respond. They beat us fair and square, they played a great third period, it was an even game… we didn’t have the energy to create any offense and they had enough energy to defend against us.

“We’re the ones that have to make a few adjustments here and get ready to play a little bit better. If we do that, I like our chances.”

Both teams have played 15 games. The Predators currently sit in first place with 22 points, while the Blues are second with 21.

“They’re a good team. They work hard,” Blues forward Ryan Reaves said. “They’ve got some sneaky skill there and if you fall asleep for a couple minutes, they’re going to make you pay. We’ve got to play a full 60 and make sure we don’t fall asleep.

“We want to put some teams behind us in the division and not look back. I think this is a good start today.”

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 11.11.2014 / 12:26 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

RELATED LINKS: WWII Veteran Delivers Elliott's Mask | View the Mask Up Close

ST. LOUIS - Brian Elliott starts in goal and will be donning a special Veterans Day-themed mask during tonight’s 7 p.m. game against the Buffalo Sabres at Scottrade Center (NBCSN, KMOX 1120 AM).

The mask, which was designed by Head Strong Grafx, features an American and Canadian soldier, the United States and Canadian flag and a “Thanks for your Service” message across the chin.

“When it’s something like Veterans Day, where we’ve had firsthand experience with the military, it really means something special to you,” Elliott said. “What they’re doing overseas and at home here, it’s hard and it’s a sacrifice. Designing a cool helmet and wearing it is the least we can do.”

Elliott’s wife, Amanda, served four years as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force.

The mask was delivered to Elliott at practice yesterday by World War II veteran Charles Rohde. If you missed it, you can watch the video and read more by clicking here.

Elliott will auction the mask off at a later date, with proceeds benefiting charity.

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POSTED ON Monday, 11.10.2014 / 9:46 AM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / DraftKings Fantasy Report

You couldn’t possibly have a fantasy hockey blog this week without mentioning Vladimir Tarasenko.

So let’s start there.

After being named the NHL’s No. 1 Star of the Week on Nov. 3 with five goals the previous week, Tarasenko just kept rolling, eventually tying a career-high with goals in four consecutive games. In the four games last week, Tarasenko had three goals and three assists.

In 14 games overall, the Blues forward leads the team in goals (9), points (17) and plus / minus (+11). He is tied for second on the team in assists (8).

“If you play with a guy that has that big self confidence, it helps me of course,” said linemate Jori Lehtera. “I just try to get pucks to him and good things happen.”

Find a way to get Tarasenko on your fantasy hockey team and good things will happen for you, too.

WHO’S HOT

Jake Allen - Before giving up a few goals late in the third period Thursday against the Devils, Jake Allen posted a consecutive shutout minutes streak of 184 minutes, 38 seconds. It was the longest shutout streak by a Blues rookie in franchise history and was the fifth longest on the club overall. Allen leads all rookies in wins (4). His .944 save-percentage and 1.40 goals-against average rank second and first respectively among all goalies.

GREAT MATCHUP

Alex Pietrangelo had one goal and five assists in five games against the Nashville Predators last season. He also had a plus-five rating in those games. The Blues will play the Predators on Thursday night at Scottrade Center. If you have Pietrangelo, make sure he’s in your lineup Thursday.

BLUES SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Nov. 11 vs. Buffalo Sabres
Nov. 13 vs. Nashville Predators
Nov. 15 vs. Washington Capitals

DraftKings offers free or paid fantasy hockey options and gives players the opportunity to win real money! Participate in daily hockey leagues with no season-long commitment! To date, over $20 million has been paid out to thousands of fantasy sports winners! Go to draftkings.com to sign up today!

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POSTED ON Saturday, 11.08.2014 / 12:48 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

ST. LOUIS - The Blues may be on a seven-game win streak, but you wouldn’t know it from talking to any of the players.

“Quite frankly, we haven’t had the mindset that ‘oh my God, seven wins, that’s a great accomplishment,’” said Blues defenseman Ian Cole. “For us, it’s been one game at a time. Continue to win, continue to play well.”

The Blues will need to play well again tonight if they expect to increase the win streak to eight games. The Nashville Predators (8-3-2, 18 points) come to town just one point behind the Blues in the Central Division.

“There’s lots on the line. I know it’s early in the season, but there’s already a battle for that top spot in our division,” said Blues forward Steve Ott. “These points are so crucial, they’re so important. You can see how tight the Western Conference already is. It’s going to be like that the whole year. Crucial points on the table for both teams, and I know we’re expecting the best out of ourselves.”

The Predators bring a new look this season. Peter Laviolette replaced long-time Head Coach Barry Trotz behind the bench. New additions offensively are Mike Ribeiro (10 points) and James Neal (nine points), who rank second and third respectively on the team in scoring. Center Filip Forsberg, who played just 13 games with the Predators last season, already has five goals and eight assists (13 points) this year.

Despite the changes, Cole says the Blues game plan won’t change.

“The game plan is consistent. We try to play the same way, regardless of who we’re playing,” he said. “Whether it’s LA, Chicago, Nashville or New Jersey…for us, when we play the way we know how to play, when we’re able to dictate the game, we’re very successful. That being said, (Nashville) is a very high-powered, very fast team.”

“They play the way Peter wants them to play,” added Head Coach Ken Hitchcock. “It’s pressure in all three zones, and if you’re going to beat them, you’ve got to get beyond the pressure and you’re going to have to be really good at supporting the puck. You’re going to have to really be sharp because they force a lot of turnovers.

“If you’re not sharp, you’re going to end up on your heels like a lot of teams have this year.”

Tonight is the first meeting between the teams this season. The Blues swept the season series with Nashville last season and has won 10 of the last 11 meetings.

Game time is 7 p.m. (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX 1120 AM).

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POSTED ON Thursday, 11.06.2014 / 12:31 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

ST. LOUIS - The Blues will get Paul Stastny back in the lineup for tonight’s 7 p.m. game against the New Jersey Devils (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX 1120 AM).

Stastny missed eight games with an upper-body injury.

“The last couple weeks, it’s been healing up great. Everyday has been better and better,” Stastny said after today’s morning skate. “I haven’t had a setback since day one until now, so it feels pretty good.”

Stastny sustained the injury in the Oct. 18 game against the Arizona Coyotes after being hit near the boards on his first shift by Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal. He went to the locker room and did not return.

“I put myself in a vulnerable position,” Stastny said. “I was reaching for it trying to block the puck and he just kind of went between me and the puck and had full momentum. Sometimes things like that happen.”

With Stastny’s return, the Blues are getting a big boost to the team that has already put together a six-game win streak.

“He’s just a guy that makes any lineup better,” defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said of Stastny. “He’s going to jump right in and play the right way and not detract from that. He’s someone that’s going to create more offense, be solid defensively. With our power play, he’s going to be a great asset to distribute pucks and make the right play.

“He’s just an extremely smart player.”

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 11.04.2014 / 2:39 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

NEWARK, NJ - Total team effort.

It's a cliché you hear quite often in sports, from players and coaches alike.

But the Blues gave the term new meaning Monday at Madison Square Garden.

While trying to protect a 2-1 lead in the third period, four Blues dove into the crease to give Brian Elliott all the support he needed as the New York Rangers took shot after shot trying to tie the game.

“Desperation. We gave them seven free looks at the same puck,” Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said. “When I was watching that, I thought ‘I’ve seen this before.’ When I got up this morning, I knew where I saw it. It was at the carnival.

“It was unbelievable. It was like 'oh they scored, no they haven’t.'”

The Rangers eventually did tie the game on the next shift, but the Blues took two points with a 4-3 shootout victory.

Photographer Bruce Bennett captured the goal mouth scramble with this amazing photo, which we shared with the players involved and asked them to tell us about this chaotic example of good teamwork.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 11.04.2014 / 1:05 PM
By Chris Pinkert - St. Louis Blues / Blues Overtime Blog

NEWARK, NJ - The Blues have moved on from last night’s game, but it seems everyone is still talking about Vladimir Tarasenko’s stunning second period goal at Madison Square Garden.

And why wouldn’t they be?

Without a doubt, Tarasenko escaping three Rangers and tapping in a one-handed goal past New York’s Cam Talbot is a top candidate for the NHL’s Goal of the Year despite being just 11 games into the start of the season.

“You’re amazed. It’s good for him, but I think it’s really good for the game,” Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said Tuesday. “You wake up this morning and you’re seeing it on FOX, you’re seeing it on MSG, you’re seeing it on ESPN, TSN…it’s exciting.”

Despite the excitement surrounding last night’s game that had a little bit of everything, the Blues are focused tonight on beginning a home-and-home series with the Devils (6-3-2) at 6:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Network, KMOX 1120 AM).

The Blues are looking to extend their five-game winning streak, which is the best active streak in the League.

“There was a lot of energy in yesterday’s game that we’re going to have to get out quickly and get playing,” Hitchcock said. “It’s not exactly like we had long travel to get here, so it’s a little bit of a different feeling. Like anything else, when you have a team that’s been sitting around for three days that’s rested, I think the first period is critical. For us, our experience from a back-to-back game in Anaheim is going to help us here. We’ve got to be a little bit more ready for the first period to play our game and keep it simple. Let the game flow from there.

“The first period for me is everything.”

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SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 35 22 8 5 101 96 49
2 CHI 33 22 9 2 102 67 46
3 NSH 31 21 8 2 87 64 44
4 STL 32 21 9 2 98 78 44
5 SJS 33 18 11 4 94 85 40
6 WPG 33 17 10 6 80 76 40
7 LAK 34 17 11 6 94 84 40
8 VAN 31 18 11 2 89 88 38
9 CGY 34 17 15 2 98 92 36
10 MIN 31 16 12 3 91 84 35
11 DAL 31 13 13 5 89 104 31
12 COL 32 11 13 8 83 100 30
13 ARI 32 11 17 4 74 104 26
14 EDM 33 7 20 6 69 110 20

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
V. Tarasenko 32 20 17 19 37
K. Shattenkirk 32 5 23 14 28
J. Schwartz 31 11 16 10 27
J. Lehtera 31 8 17 14 25
A. Steen 30 8 13 0 21
A. Pietrangelo 32 3 16 -10 19
D. Backes 31 8 7 -4 15
P. Stastny 24 7 6 -1 13
T. Oshie 24 5 7 2 12
P. Berglund 31 3 7 0 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 8 4 1 .931 1.82
J. Allen 11 3 1 .908 2.47

 
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