After a frustrating loss, and an apparent wake up call the night before, the Checkers bounced back for an exciting 6-2 win against the Rivermen. It had been a while since a home win for the boys, and what a better way to do it than a flashy offensive win?
The boys seemed to start a little slow, but by any means of how the last few games have turned out it was a fantastic start by that standard. Both goalies were making the saves they needed to and got out of the first period scoreless, one doing so with his normal flash and flare that we know and love. Tonight was one of the nights where we had two referees and two linesmen but it made hardly a difference at all. I’m never one to berate the officials unless they deserve it, but there were a few missed calls in the first and it was quite frustrating that they were not on top of it even with an extra pair of eyes to look out. Later on in the game when we were on the penalty kill I felt like I was finally seeing the team that we should be seeing on the ice every night. The PK was back with all the glory it should uphold every game, not just when they realize they feel like playing.
The scoring tonight was absolutely enthralling, like jump out of your seat and scream at your neighbor before you realize what you’ve done exciting. Durno’s goal that opened the floodgates was set up by Sutter undressing two Peoria defensemen and nearly getting it around Allen’s pads, all Durno had to do was tuck it in. Nash’s shot was an absolute bullet, and the look on his face told everyone even he was surprised. I saw that look on a few of the players faces tonight after getting away with some of the things we hadn’t been able to the past few games. Chris Terry was on fire tonight, being in the right places at the right time and making gorgeous passes at the right times. The play from everyone tonight was impressive, it was very refreshing after seeing them miss on chances and fail on plays they usually excel at during the past few games. All night I was watching Zach Boychuk waiting for him to score, I knew by the way he was playing he’d get on the board at least once. When he finally delivered it was well worth it, the perfect pass through the crease from Dadanov was hard to mess up, and it slipped past Stalock with ease. Speaking of Stalock, he has some of the oddest goalie-isms I have EVER seen. Most people think of Braden Hotlby when they mention odd mannerisms and traditions but he has nothing on Stalock. As soon as play stopped my eyes were glued to him seeing what he’d do next, very amusing addition to the game. He was a recent acquisition to the Blues organization after the departure of Ben Bishop, and still has his San José Sharks colors on his pads and helmet which were very cool looking.
Mike Murphy was back in his normal fashion, and I honestly thought with his play tonight he was going to get a shut out for a good bit there. Special teams were back at it tonight, scoring two goals on the power play, while also allowing none on the kill. Both of our PP units continue to impress me, along with the play of defensemen Joe Sova. He’s been very solid on the defensive end, but tonight he crashed the net and led to a few very good scoring chances, just by knowing when to pinch and jump in on the play. I mentioned it before, but tonight’s game was a great relief, after the past few games and the painfully tight playoff race I was starting to even doubt us making the post season. Even if we keep up our current level of play we should still be wary, but it’s a very very tight race and it will definitely come down to the last game for many teams in the West.
Tonight had a different air to it, from the moment the teams hit the ice for warm ups. They had changed the music from tecnho and house music they had switched to recently to more alternative style us fans used to hear. The defensively smart but offense heavy team has made another appearance, hopefully we don’t fall back into a (small) slump again!