Red-Hot Power Play Has Blues in the Hunt

Wednesday, 02.20.2008 / 11:59 AM / St Louis Blues - Features
By Chris Pinkert  - St. Louis Blues
Call it cheesy or cliché, but it’s true nonetheless: Lately, the Blues are putting the "power" back in the "power play."

In the last two games, both critical matchups against division rivals, the Blues have gone 6-for-13 with the man-advantage.

The result? Two consecutive victories in which the Blues have outscored opponents, 10-2.

“I thought the guys moved the puck around very well and found some seams they opened up. We’re happy with the movement and guys really took advantage,” said Blues defenseman Barret Jackman after Tuesday’s 5-1 win against Chicago. “We’re hanging around for loose pucks. Sometimes the best power play is when you just get some bounces.”

The pucks weren’t bouncing in the Blues’ favor earlier this season. In a stretch of seven games from Dec. 26 to Jan. 8, the Blues’ power play had gone 0-for-31 before Keith Tkachuk ended the drought with a power play goal in a 6-1 win over Columbus. The scoreless stretch was enough to knock the Blues down to dead-last in the league when it came to power play conversion percentage, a place they’ve spent the majority of the season.

“We’ve had those chances all year, it just hasn’t gone in for us,” said Blues coach Andy Murray. “I don’t know what the difference is. We’re not doing anything different, we’re not teaching anything different.

“Pucks are just going in for us right now.”

The Blues scored three power play goals in a game for the first time all season on Sunday in a 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. They followed that effort with three more power play goals on Tuesday vs. Chicago. The Blues have moved out of the league’s basement in the power play department and up to 29th with a 14.4 percent conversion rate.

 Beyond the Numbers
The Blues have six power play goals in their last two games, both 5-1 wins over division rivals. Check out the Conference Standings, then watch the highlights and read about the games.

  Feb. 17 vs. Columbus | 700K
  Feb. 19 vs. Chicago | 700K
“The guys are really bearing down. We’re outworking their (penalty kill) and just getting shots to the net. We’ve got some big bodies in front, and when they’re wreaking havoc, there’s going to be some pucks up for grabs,” Jackman said.

Thanks in part to the recent production with the man-advantage, the Blues have gone 4-0-1 in their last five games and have climbed back into the playoff picture. As of Wednesday morning, the Blues were just three points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They can’t afford to let up now.

“That’s what we have to do, we don’t really have a choice,” said Blues captain Eric Brewer. “We’ve got games in hand, but you still have to win those games and we have to win games on top of those just to keep above water.

“We’re still not at that point, but we’re clawing our way back.”

It seems each game keeps getting bigger. While the team squandered opportunities against Colorado and Tampa Bay earlier this month, the Blues have made up for it lately with dominating performances. The Blues will play the Phoenix Coyotes twice next week in what could prove to be pivotal matchups in shaping the Western Conference playoff race.

Brewer says Murray shouldn’t have to motivate the team for any of these upcoming games.

“If he has to light a fire under us right now, we’re probably in the wrong sport,” he said. “We all want to be in the playoffs, and if you don’t, you probably shouldn’t be here.”

“(We’ve) still got a long way to go, still some big road trips coming up,” Blues goalie Manny Legace said after Sunday’s win over Columbus. “If we can play like we did tonight every game the rest of the way through, we should make it.”




1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67


A. Steen 68 33 29 17 62
T. Oshie 79 21 39 19 60
D. Backes 74 27 30 14 57
J. Schwartz 80 25 31 28 56
A. Pietrangelo 81 8 43 20 51
K. Shattenkirk 81 10 35 1 45
V. Tarasenko 64 21 22 20 43
D. Roy 75 9 28 -1 37
J. Bouwmeester 82 4 33 26 37
V. Sobotka 61 9 24 14 33
B. Elliott 18 6 2 .922 1.96
R. Miller 25 30 4 .918 2.64

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