Teams played split squad games; game in Columbus experimented with 3-on-3
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Blues got their first taste of 3-on-3 hockey as they opened the preseason portion of their schedule Tuesday.
The Blues, who played split squad games against the Columbus Blue Jackets in both cities, played an experimental 3-on-3 version of the game at Nationwide Arena, one of the designated games from the NHL.
Games go to 3-on-3 overtime hockey no matter what the score is in those instances.
And what did the Blues think of their first taste of what should drastically reduce the amount of shootout games during the regular season?
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
Dmitrij Jaskin (left) moves the puck past David Clarkson of the Blue
Jackets Tuesday in Columbus. The Blues lost 3-1 in a split squad game.
There wasn't a tremendous amount of time to dissect it, as Ryan Johansen scored 39 seconds into the overtime period to end the game.
Johansen, who also scored in regulation of Columbus' 3-1 victory, finished off a 3-on-1 play after the Blues' trio of Kevin Shattenkirk, Magnus Paajarvi and Scott Gomez won the faceoff, created an initial chance against Jackets goalie Anton Forsberg, but with two guys pinched in after not being able to score, it's obvious that positioning will be key, as the Blues got caught down deep, and the Jackets were able to break out and score on Jordan Binnington.
"That's the beauty of it, that it can be over that fast," Shattenkirk said. "It's tricky; it's kind of hard to figure out how to maintain possession in the zone. A lot of teams are going to go man on man. You've got to try and create those 2-on-1's. You can see how quickly it turns around on you."
For the group that played and experimented with it tonight, despite the small amount of time with it, it was beneficial for those players to actually witness it.
"From my end on that play, too, just knowing to hang onto that puck instead of trying to get it in backdoor to their guy because you really don't have that safety valve," Shattenkirk said. "It's an interesting way to play your program in this other way."
Associate coach Brad Shaw said that the Blues were prepared for it based off the instances they've been able to scrimmage with since camp opened last Friday.
"We've talked about a couple things that have showed up in the scrimmages," Shaw said. "One is that one we try to funnel through to their net. Those in 5-on-5 make a lot of sense and even 4-on-4 make a lot of sense. It just seems to be 3-on-3, they're an indication of an odd-man rush the other way.
"We're learning. We've still got guys that are learning. We're learning behind the bench as to what is going to give us the best chance at success and we realize how important it is.
"If you put four more guys out there on the 5-on-5, that's a great play. It just so happens that the guy making the pass is the best chance to break up the rush. There's reads and there's guys near the net and if they're on the wrong side of their players, before you know it, it's a 3-on-1. That's a lot of skill and every team's going to have their best players on the ice. We've seen with Vladi (Tarasenko) in our scrimmages that high level of skill."
As for the game, Johansen had a goal and an assist, Sonny Milano had a power play goal and Nick Foligno had a pair of assists.
Dmitrij Jaskin scored a third-period goal for the Blues, who outshot the Jackets 36-19 in the game.
The Blues were thwarted by Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who stopped all 24 shots faced in two periods before being replaced by Forsberg. Jake Allen played the first period and stopped three of four shots. Jordan Binnington made 14 saves in relief and allowed one goal.
Shaw, who along with assistant coach Kirk Muller coached the Blues in Columbus, said there were a number of players that performed well, particularly Jaskin and defenseman Joel Edmundson, who led the Blues in time on ice with 24 minutes, 26 seconds.
"I thought some young guys played fantastic," Shaw said. "Joel Edmundson probably led our team in minutes. He was physical, he was good offensively, sound defensively. That's a real good hockey game for a defenseman. It is exhibition, but from where he was last year with the back injury to where he is now, that's some huge strides he's taken.
"We had a good burst there in the last half of the first period. We had some more good five-, six-minute bursts there in the second period and took us until the third period to get one in. Bobrovsky made three or four really good saves to keep the score where it was at. Maybe we have to bear down a little bit more to make sure we're putting it in the back of the net, but I thought we did a lot of good things. I liked our effort. ... I thought our forecheck was fantastic. They didn't know what to do. When we got it going, that was the reason why we carried the play for those long stretches."
Jaskin, who led the Blues in shots (six) and hits (six), curled into the slot and beat Forsberg after taking a Jordan Schmaltz feed 1:04 into the third period to make it a 2-1 game.
"We did some good things and we have something to build on," Jaskin said. "It was a good job from our line (with Kyle Brodziak and Ty Rattie). ... It's about experience and the amount of time you spend on the ice. I get more confident every day."
Troy Brouwer made his Blues debut, as did veterans Scott Gomez and Scottie Upshall, both in camp on professional tryouts attempting to make the team.
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
Spencer Asuchak (59) receives congratulations from teammate Ivan
Barbashev after scoring in a 5-2 victory against Columbus Tuesday night.
"From top to bottom, everyone played really well, played hard," said Shattenkirk, second to Edmundson in time on ice at 23:21. "A lot of information over the last four days. ... We threw a lot of pucks at the net. We played our style of hockey. We just weren't able to the goals."
In St. Louis, the Blues won 5-2 behind seven points from the line of Paul Stastny, Alexander Steen and Vladmir Tarasenko, with the ladder two each having a goal and two assists. Defenseman Colton Parayko had a pair of assists.
Alex Pietrangelo and Spencer Asuchak also scored for the Blues, who played Brian Elliott in goal for the first period and Pheonix Copley finished the final two periods.
Elliott stopped eight of nine shots; Copley made 13 saves on 14 shots.