Blues have given up five goals in consecutive games

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Blues have given up five goals in consecutive games

Postby elaine95 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:44 am

A linesman orders Sean Couturier out of the faceoff circle and Claude Giroux shrugs before stepping in and winning the draw.Two centers on the ice at once is a nice luxury for the Philadelphia Flyers to have.”He’s one of the best in the league at faceoffs [url=http://www.losangelesramsteamonline.com/todd-gurley-ii-jersey]Authentic Todd Gurley Jersey[/url] ,” Couturier said of Giroux, who ranks third in the NHL. ”When you start with the puck, it’s a huge part of the game.”Beyond just controlling faceoffs, having depth at center is a growing factor for success in the NHL. Contenders like the Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets and two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins all boast depth down the middle and are spreading centers all over the lineup.The flexibility gives teams potentially game-altering matchups with the playoffs coming up in a month.”You can never have enough center-ice men on your team for lots of reasons,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.Crucial faceoffs, injuries and defensive-zone coverage are many of the reasons to load up on centers who can almost always shift to wing and not miss a beat. Philadelphia has long followed the model of drafting and acquiring centers and moving them around, and now has nine natural centers on its roster.The Penguins won the 2009 Stanley Cup going with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Max Talbot down the middle and captured it the past two years with Crosby, Malkin [url=http://www.losangelesramsteamonline.com/todd-gurley-ii-jersey]Todd Gurley Jersey Elite[/url] , Nick Bonino and Matt Cullen. The free agent departures of Bonino and Cullen left a void that Pittsburgh filled by trading for Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan to again look like a championship contender.”To have the depth that we have at this point at the center-ice position is I think an important aspect of our overall game,” Sullivan said. ”We didn’t have that coming into training camp. I think our general manager, Jim (Rutherford), has worked extremely hard at making sure that he gave us what has become now I think a strength of our team.”It’s also a strength of the Eastern Conference-leading Lightning, who are overflowing with center options beyond Steven Stamkos, Alex Killorn and trade-deadline pickup J.T. Miller. The Toronto Maple Leafs also roll deep with forwards who play center or have in the past, including Patrick Marleau and recent acquisition Tomas Plekanec.”I can get a can’t-miss matchup,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. ”You’re not scared of any matchup as time goes on.”It’s all about the matchups in the arms race that is the absurd Central Division. It wasn’t good enough that the Central-leading Predators had Ryan Johansen, signed Bonino last summer and traded for Kyle Turris in November; they welcomed center Mike Fisher back from retirement and still have Colton Sissons and Craig Smith.The Jets acquired center Paul Stastny from the St. Louis Blues to add to an already forward-heavy roster. It paid immediate dividends with Patrik Laine extending his point streak to 13 games and Winnipeg cruising along after Mark Scheifele went down with an injury.”We’ll be putting two centers out there for D-zone draws and whatnot,” said Andrew Copp, who thinks Winnipeg’s center depth stacks up with the best in the league. ”That’s really important, and then just depth with injuries. … Now we’ve got six, seven [url=http://www.losangelesramsteamonline.com/todd-gurley-ii-jersey]http://www.losangelesramsteamonline.com/todd-gurley-ii-jersey[/url] , eight guys that we can really lean on.”It’s an increasingly popular strategy. The Flyers are vying for the league lead in faceoffs, handling the early-season crackdown on faceoff violations and compensating for a young, mostly unproven defense with versatile forwards.”Being strong up the middle is important,” coach Dave Hakstol said. ”That’s the backbone of every line, so to have guys that are comfortable in that spot I think is important. Playing down low in your zone – there’s so much switching and interchanging that goes on from the wing to that down-low position in coverage, having somebody that’s comfortable being down there I think is a benefit, as well.”Two centers are better than one not just for faceoffs but because the extra responsibilities of the position allow for better awareness in the defensive zone, where wingers typically are only tasked with defending their respective opposing winger in man-to-man schemes. Giroux shifted to wing on the top line with Couturier after spending the past eight-plus years at center and is approaching his career high in points and playing some of the best hockey of his career.”We get a read off each other,” said Couturier, a leading candidate for the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward. ”It’s about chemistry and trying to trust each other out there. Guys can fill in different roles and it’s nice and it helps the team. That’s what you kind of want from having so many centermen is you want to fill in each other’s roles.”Having extra centers is a substantial benefit – if they can handle the position change. Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler made a rapid adjustment from wing to center amid injuries, but just about everyone agrees it’s much easier to go the other way.”There’s a real quick adjustment to going from center to the wing: figure out how to work the walls and find your point men,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. ”That’s a very difficult change.”— ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jonathan Toews can feel the rejuvenated spirit permeating through the Blackhawks’ dressing room after they missed the playoffs last season.Toews scored his third goal of the game 2:20 into overtime and Chicago beat the St. Louis Blues 5-4 on Saturday night.“It’s poise across the lineup,” Toews said. “Everyone felt that poise tonight [url=http://www.losangelesramsteamonline.com/cooper-kupp-jersey]Authentic Cooper Kupp Jersey[/url] , stuck with it and those are all things we’re looking for and wanted to improve from last year.”Toews tied it 4-all at 6:59 of the third period when he corralled the rebound of Alex DeBrincat’s slap shot and pushed it past Blues goalie Jake Allen.Toews scored the winner on a breakaway to give him his sixth career hat trick, and the Blackhawks their second consecutive overtime victory.“It was a huge two points,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I liked the way we competed. You get your captain leading the charge like that, it sets the tone.”Chris Butler put the Blues ahead 4-3 in the third just 22 seconds after Vladimir Tarasenko’s second goal. The goal was Butler’s first in the NHL since March 7, 2015, at Toronto.Cam Ward stopped 26 shots to improve to 2-0. Allen made 25 saves, but he and the Blues have given up five goals in consecutive games.“This is not winning hockey that we’re playing right now,” Blues coach Mike Yeo said. “We can try to analyze and figure out what the reasons are. Maybe we just think that we’re good.”Tarasenko’s second goal initially was not called a goal on the ice, but off-ice officials signaled to the referees to stop play for a video review 27 seconds after the puck entered the net.Marcus Kruger put the Blackhawks ahead 3-2 at 10:25 of the second period off a pass from Patrick Kane after St. Louis failed to clear the puck out of its own zone on multiple occasions.Toews’ first goal cut Chicago’s deficit to 2-1 just 68 seconds after Tarasenko scored his first goal of the season to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead.Kane tied it 2-all with his second of the season, but he was most impressed by Toews’ effort.“Johnny’s been unbelievable the first two games as far as leading the way and leading the charge,” Kane said. “You couldn’t really ask much more from the captain, so pretty impressive start for him”Colton Parayko scored his first goal on a power play 14:42 into the first period to give St. Louis its first lead of the season.St. Louis center Ryan O’Reilly finished with three assists.EXTRA TIMEChicago became the third team in NHL history to open a season with consecutive overtime wins.NOTES: Blues LW Alexander Steen skated in his 900th NHL game. … D Jakub Jerabek arrived in St. Louis after receiving his work visa. … Chicago has won 44 consecutive games when Toews and Kane each score a goal. … Kane’s first assist gave him the fifth-most in Blackhawks history. He had been tied with Steve Larmer at 517.UP NEXTBlackhawks: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday night in their home opener.Blues: Host the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.
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