By Patrick Kelly
Rest is usually for the weary, but not the St. Louis Blues. The Blues walked into Rogers Place on Monday night and continued the domination they began in Game 3. The result was a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks that evened the series, 2-2.
Many people wondered who would start in net despite the feeling it would be Jake Allen. It was. Allen, who hadn’t started back-to-back games since March of 2018, was feeling it from the start. The Canucks pressured him early, but his glove was just as sharp in holding the Canucks to one goal on 23 shots.
The first thing the Blues made sure to change Monday night was to be the first on the board. The offense was buzzing and thanks to a late power play, the Blues got their special teams going with a goal by Ryan O’Reilly off a shot from Alex Pietrangelo. The Canucks came out hungry in the second period and got an early goal from J.T. Miller. The Blues’ pressure got turned up and O’Reilly regained the lead for the Blues with a beautiful backhander that ended up being the game-winner. O’Reilly was probably the biggest story line from Game 4. In a series in which he only had two points, O’Reilly did what he does best, and bounced back in a huge way and was the major reason the Blues tied the series.
The Blues appeared as if they finally found an answer for most of the Canucks’ attack. Elias Pettersson was held to only two shots while the Blues defense stepped up with 15 registered blocks. The Highlight of the night was the defense late in the third period when the Canucks were on a power play. They were stuffed repeatedly by the Blues and registered no shots in what no doubt was a message that their code had been broken. The Blues realize the size difference they have, with more than half the team’s skaters having 30 pounds or more on rookies Pettersson and Quinn Hughes.
The Blues now have a day off before they play a decisive Game 5. Ivan Barbashev might be ready with him being set to leave quarantine Tuesday. Another big question will be if Vladimir Tarasenko can play, along with Alexander Steen. Allen has proven that this is his net and it appears to be his as long as he wants it. This is a new series now. The Blues have established their game that helped etch their names on Lord Stanley’s Cup and with the series now a best of three, the Blues and Allen are in the perfect situation to strike, and subdue their opponents.