Originally written 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

Matt Williams wants Bryce Harper to stop getting ejected

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Larry Lucchino stepping down as Red Sox CEO

Las Vegas Mob Museum to open FIFA corruption exhibit

Does NFL have a motive to settle with Tom Brady?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Big Ten coaches opposed to 9-game conference schedule

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Hill arrested for reckless driving, clocked going 107 mph

Diamondbacks GM: Padres wanted Goldschmidt for Kimbrel

'Rowdy' Roddy Piper dead at 61

Mets acquire Yoenis Cespedes from Tigers

Eagles trade CB Brandon Boykin to Steelers

Jack Del Rio: Crabtree ‘stood out’ at first Raiders camp practice

Browns owner: ‘We haven’t given up on Johnny Manziel’

Junior Seau’s daughter will speak at Hall of Fame induction

Golden State Warriors: the rich get richer

NFL, Brady could settle to avoid appeal documents going public

Miguel Herrera apologizes for costly Philly airport fight

Russell Wilson contract $60 million guaranteed? Not so fast

Bernard Pollard backs Tom Brady, disagrees with suspension

Cardale Jones continues to show love toward Ronda Rousey

Joseph Randle on Steven Jackson: ‘He’s at home watching’

Evan Turner reps Ohio State after NBA Africa game

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

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Five worst baseball trades since 2000

Examining the state of the NFL

Puig: Broke out of slump by playing baseball video games

Braves dump risk, exchange it for risk

David Price traded to Blue Jays

The indefensible Hulk Hogan

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