Eh, so maybe T.J. Oshie wasn't the star of the game last night, but who called that two goal differential?!
The Blues handled the Sharks last night for a 2-0 victory. The unanimous first star was Jaro Halak, who stopped all 25 shots he faced. This guy is in playoff form and it's only the beginning of November. What a steal for the Blues!
In the opposite end, Niemi got the nod over Niittymaki which I had said in the game preview was unlikely but had wanted to see. Niemi played pretty solid and any time your team fails to score (especially with Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton and the rest of the Sharks offense) it's hard to win. Niemi made 27 saves on 29 shots, keeping the Sharks in it.
In the game preview I talked about puck control. Well, the Blues owned the puck. Despite going 0-7 on the power play, the Blues' numerous extra man efforts allowed them to establish offensive presence and rag the puck. On the other side of things, being constantly short-handed, the Sharks could not find their game until the 3rd. But then it was too little, too late.
The key to the game was definitely keeping the Sharks off the PP. The Blues only gave the Sharks 3 opportunities with an extra attacker. And stopped them all.
Joe Thornton was ejected a little over five minutes into the second for what they deemed to be a blind side hit to the head on Perron. Missing Big Joe didn't help their comeback efforts.
Looking at the replay this morning, I don't think there was anything Joe could do. Honestly. Perron had his head down and Thornton came in laterally, which is legal, and because his head was down, caught him. But I would guess he gets suspended. They are going to extremes with this new head shot rule. Thornton does have a conference call scheduled regarding that hit, Darren Dreger has reported.
My only problem is that this ruled is being used to protect players who have their heads down. If they had their heads up, it would not be head contact. This year we will see a lot of suspensions while they work out the kinks. Hopefully, they make a clause about players lowering their head and/or the player being checked's responsibility. If they don't, we will have guys skating with their heads down all over the ice so they can't get hit. But enough of this...here is the video of it: