The Blues opening night started with a strong pre-game presentation, the Blues most important banner raising ever and even a small skate around the rink with the Stanley Cup. The game started out even better with Sammy Blais netting the first goal of the season on a beautiful feed from Ryan O’Reilly. The night got even better when Alex Pietrangelo looked more like Alex Ovechkin, blasting a one-timer from the left side for the Blues first power play goal of the season.
Unfortunately, the night would slide from there with Jay Bouwmeester getting walked by Ovechkin and beating Jordan Binnington with a shot, thanks to Colton Parayko providing a less than optimal screen.
The Capitals would control the game from there, outshooting the Blues 29 to 15 after the 1st period, getting a power play goal from Dmitry Orlov on a heck of a shot and a stoppable goal from Jakub Vrana in overtime.
Ovechkin and Vrana were the Capitals’ best players, each scoring a goal and having five shots. Former Blues player Lars Eller had two assists and four shots.
Blais, O’Reilly, and Pietrangelo were easily the Blues best players. Blais had six hits, a goal, and two shots in almost 15 minute of ice time. O’Reilly had two assists, three shots and two takeaways in over 20 minutes of ice time. Pietrangelo had a goal and two shots in over 23 minutes of ice time. Robert Bortuzzo had four blocked shots in only 12 minutes of ice time.
Jordan Binnington stopped 31 of 34 shots, some very good saves though he likely wants the game winning goal back.
Vince Dunn struggled with two giveaways and no shots though he easily could have been credited with a few more giveaways. Robby Fabbri struggled even more, held without a shot, only one hit and a minus one in barely over eight minutes of ice time.
Justin Faulk struggled is his Blues debut. Part of this was due to system and/or communication issues as seen here:
Faulk should take Ovi not try to tell Tank to take him but Tank ignores him, making it worse
Faulk & another cover the puck leaving Ovi on the back door
Faulk and Perron take the same player, allowing the 2 on 1
Some were just poor plays on his own, like this suicide pass to Oskar Sundqvist:
Fauk's suicide pass to Sundqvist
And getting beat along the wall here:
Faulk takes a poor angle and gets beat along the wall
And losing the check battle here, just a few examples:
Faulk loses the check battle
His game wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t on the strong side of good either. I think fans should expect his game to improve a decent amount over the coming weeks or months.
Tonight the Blues will host the Dallas Stars who will be without Roman Polak who was injured from a fall into the boards, self-created. He left on a stretcher but is expected to make a full recovery.
It’s a great day for hockey.