Originally posted on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 4/22/12

TheSt. Louis Blues were one of the NHL’s best this season due to a simple formula:good goaltending, sound defense and timely offense.  They executed that formula to a ‘T’ as they quicklydeposited San Jose in five games to claim their first playoff series win since2002.



Somewondered (including yours truly) how the Blues, with one playoff appearancesince the lockout – would handle the pressure of being a heavy favorite in theplayoffs.  They handled it quite wellafter a Game 1 overtime loss to the Sharks.


Down1-0 in the series, they successfully sucked the life out of the Sharks (reminiscentof their season series in which the Blues swept Todd McLellan’s club andoutscored them 11-3.)  In fourconsecutive wins to close out the series, the Blues gave up a total of fivegoals to the Sharks – three of which were in garbage time.


The defensive success is a testament of Ken Hitchcock’s system that makes itlook as if opponents are playing shorthanded while at even strength.  That system has lent a helping hand to makingthe goaltenders look unbeatable, and Brian Elliott was just that after fillingfor a felled Jaroslav Halak in Game 2.


Elliott,who was signed to a two-way contract last off-season, led the NHL ingoals-against average (1.56) in the regular season.  His great story has carried over into theplayoffs with a stellar performance in the first round, turning away 93 of the98 shots he faced in four-plus games.


Anothergreat story is Andy McDonald, who provided oodles of timely offense for theBlues in round one.  He picked up a pointin each game, including a four-point effort in a Game 3 win.  His veteran presence really came through onthe power play, as he was in on all six Blues goals against a measly Sharkspenalty kill.


Whyis McDonald a great story?  Over last twoseasons he has missed 75 games due to a concussion.  He has shown no ill effects of the injury,picking up 20 points in 22 regular season games after his return and thenleading the Blues with eight points in this series.  McDonald has a Stanley Cup on his resume(2007 Anaheim Ducks) and his experience will be invaluable for the Blues as theplayoffs move forward.  So will hisproduction.


TheseBlues proved to the rest of the league that they mean serious business.  Though the Sharks were underachievers allyear, they still boast a talented roster that was capable of pulling theupset.  Yet, they never truly threatened Hitchcock’sclub.


St.Louis was dominant following the Game 1 loss – and impressively dominant in thevaunted Shark Tank – by reverting to their winning ways from the regularseason.  The power play stepped up, theirsavvy veterans were clutch, and the back end was as sound as can be.


Ifthe Blues keep this up, they’ll be tough to beat in their pursuit of a StanleyCup.


Photo credit: Getty Images
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Hall of Fame coach: Stephen Curry is the best of all time

Reggie Bush on NFL future: ‘I’m not retiring’

Derek Fisher blasts Rondo over triangle offense criticism

Report: Marshawn Lynch hasn't spent any playing money

Ex-King says he could do 'much better job' than George Karl

Trainer thought Thomas Davis would not play in Super Bowl

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Todd Gurley named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

Durant, Westbrook on loss to Warriors: We're not scared

Report: Eagles interested in bringing back Nick Foles

Report: Manning hinted to teammates he plans to retire

Barry Sanders shares thoughts on Megatron retirement talk

WATCH: K-State players storm student section after big win

Cam Newton doesn't disappoint with Super Bowl outfit

Stephen Curry to serve as guest drummer for Panthers

Charlie Sheen tweets advice for Johnny Manziel

Cardale Jones predicts he will play in Super Bowl

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

Marcin Gortat fires back at critic on Twitter

WATCH: Kerr told Warriors he was happy to have close game

Broncos could have tough decision with franchise tag

WATCH: Steph Curry does 'Dab' on court on eve of Super Bowl

Another star confirmed for Super Bowl 50 halftime show

WATCH: Wayne Simmonds loses his cool, earns match penalty

Winners and losers from 2016 Hall of Fame vote

Brett Favre, Tony Dungy headline Hall of Fame Class of 2016

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker