The St. Louis Blues played at times this season like the best team in hockey, and while they fell off and had to scramble late in the season for playoff positioning, they looked the part of a real sleeper team in their series opening game against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings.
Right off the bat, the Blues made a game of it as Alexander Steen scored on the power play and gave St. Louis the 1-0 lead they rode to the end. Jonathan Quick is still one of the best netminders in all of hockey, but there are questions about depth on the Kings roster and their penalty kill wasn’t impressive on Tuesday night.
One thing that many thought could sink the Blues was netminder Brian Elliot, who despite being brilliant down the stretch of the season, didn’t have the playoff track record to suggest faith in his talents. But Tuesday night was a huge night for Elliot who pitched the shutout and gained some major confidence against this Kings team.
He had some help though, as the Kings had less than 20 shots on goal in the contest while the Blues were shooting lasers all night long. That’s where credit needs to go to Quick, who despite giving up the power play goal in the first period, was a brick wall the rest of the night and kept what little offensive power the Kings had on Tuesday in the game.
Quick is the sole reason why the Kings were able to tie the game late in the third period and force overtime hockey, as without his brilliance in net, the Blues likely would have gotten the insurance goal they clearly needed at some point in the game.
However, that offensive persistence by the Blues proved to be too much to handle for Quick and the Kings couldn’t hold up in overtime.
With one game under their belt, the Blues are looking to make good on the notion that they’re a sleeper team in the Western Conference. St. Louis is deep on both sides of the puck and that depth could play a major role in this series. St. Louis also displayed quickness with the puck and their offense came alive, getting scoring chance after scoring chance against Quick and the Kings.
The series is far from over, but the Blues are off to a great start and look like a team ready to make a tear through the Western Conference bracket.