The St Louis Blues played their home opener on Thursday night in Scottrade Center. After months of waiting, the 2016-17 season finally started, and fans filed into the arena to cheer on their team. This year the Blues home opener was against fellow Central Division rivals, the Minnesota Wild.
This was already St Louis’ second game of the season, and their first back-to-back game of the year. The team was coming off of a victory in Chicago on Wednesday night. Everyone knew that the Blues played the night before against Chicago, probably the most difficult first game that they could have had. The question that was looming, was whether or not The Note would be tired for their opener at home.
This game was also going to be one of note for Blues new Associate Coach Mike Yeo. He, of course, is the former head coach of the Wild and is slated to be the next head coach of the Blues.
All the concern that people had about the Blues being tired, flew out the window when this game started. St Louis came with jump in their step and fire in their eyes. Alexander Steen, who had shoulder surgery in the off season and wasn’t expected to return until late October or even November, scored first. Steen was battling along the boards and broke free to head towards the net. Robby Fabbri sent him a pass. Steen pounced, sending a wrister under the bar on the blocker side of Devan Dubnyk. The Blues had the lead 1-0.
At the end of the first period the Blues had outshot the Wild by 14-2. St Louis was in control and once again the Wild were struggling in Scottrade Center.
Early in the second period the Minnesota Wild came back, thanks to some sloppy puck work from the St Louis Blues. There was a turnover between Kevin Shattenkirk and Vladimir Tarasenko giving possession to Ryan Suter from Minnesota. Jake Allen was able to stop Suter’s first attempt on net. But Suter stuck with it, and when Allen went down, Suter shot in the rebound. The game was now tied 1-1.
With 7:20 remaining in the second period, newest St Louis Blue, Nail Yakupov, made his mark. Yakupov, who usually sends in wrist shots, took a slap shot from the point. The puck entered the net off of Dubnyk’s glove. The Blues now had a 2-1 lead.
Early in the third period the Blues would strike again, this time on a 3-on-2. Yakupov would get his second point of the night when he sent a great cross-ice pass to Magnus Paajarvi for the shot. Paajarvi fires it past the glove side of Dubnyk and the Blues have a comfortable 3-1 lead.
With just over 7 minutes remaining in regulation Charlie Coyle would cut into that Blues’ lead for the Wild. Coyle was able to send a puck past Allen from the slot. His shot went under the bar on Allen’s glove side. The Blues lead was now 3-2.
The last few minutes of this game were going to be exciting. Somehow the Blues managed to not score on a 4-on-1 chance with about 2 minutes remaining. I’m still not sure how. Dubnyk was pulled by Minnesota for the extra attacker with 1:32 left in regulation. And for the second night in a row, Paul Stastny missed an empty net. Luckily this night it didn’t matter. The Final: Blues 3, Wild 2.
The Blues have now won 9 of the last 11 games against the Wild at home.
When Mike Yeo was asked after the game if it was strange to coach against his former team he had this to say, “I wouldn’t call it strange. I would say that the victory is sweet.”
Next Game: The St Louis Blues will host the New York Rangers on Saturday, October 15th at 8:00 PM ET/ 7:00 CT.
Let’s Go Blues!
Feature Image Courtesy Of Dinur / Flickr