Sunday, September 25, 2016

Blues sweep Jackets in split-squad preseason openers

Agostino, Shattenkirk, Fabbri, Blais shine at home, PTO's 
Galiardi, Nystrom have goal, assist each in win at Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Mike Yeo got his first taste behind the Blues' bench Sunday during the team's split-squad games against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

And after Ken Hitchcock coached the Blues' home squad to a 7-3 victory Sunday afternoon, Yeo was able to witness the a strong performance from top to bottom from the 'B' team in a 5-0 victory Sunday night at Nationwide Arena.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Ty Rattie (right) scored his first preseason goal Sunday night in Columbus
during the Blues' 5-0 victory.

"I think they would take offense (to being called a 'B' team)," Yeo said. "They sure didn't play like a 'B' team tonight. This was a group that came into another team's building and against a good team. I liked the focus from the guys right off the drop of the puck. For exhibition, you don't expect the execution to be perfect all night long; there were a few moments in the game where it started to get away from us, but the guys did a real good job of getting it back, getting the momentum back and getting back to our game."

What Yeo saw was that guys in camp on professional tryouts are not going to make camp cuts easy.

T.J. Galiardi and Eric Nystrom each had a goal and assist, Yan Stastny had an assist and Jordan Binnington and Pheonix Copley combined for the 23-save shutout.

"There's quality players here; there's guys that have had good careers and we know that they're NHL players," Yeo said. "We know what they're capable of, but nobody's going to make the team based on what you did in the past. It's about what you're doing here in this camp. I think you seen that in the game in St. Louis and we definitely saw that here tonight."

Galiardi, who spent last season playing for Malmo in Sweden, has had his shortcomings in recent seasons, mostly due to some severe injuries. Coach Ken Hitchcock said when Galiardi was playing for San Jose in 2012, Galiardi was playing on a line with Joe Thornton and is now looking to get himself back to his peak form,

"It's been tough the last couple years with that, but it's a fresh start for me here," said Galiardi, who played with Kyle Brodziak and Stastny. "I come in kind of on a blank slate. They know me a little bit, probably not intimately. It's a nice opportunity to come in that situation.

"This is the first time for me on a PTO. I guess when I was in Winnipeg, it was kind of similar. They didn't guarantee me anything. I learned a bit from that, but now it's just a fresh opportunity to come in, show them what I can do and hopefully they like me."

Nystrom, who spent the past three seasons with the Nashville Predators, is in the same boat, and for someone familiar with the Central Division (he's also played for Dallas and Colorado), he just wants a chance to earn a job and doesn't care who's on the roster or how deep with talent it is.

"Honestly, I didn't even look at the roster," said Nystrom, who played on a line with Landon Ferraro and Jordan Kyrou. "It doesn't even matter. ... I'm just focused on myself.

"It's just the reality of the situation. I'm just coming in trying to earn a spot. I got the opportunity to play tonight and another chance tomorrow. It's good exposure. I've been in the league a long time. This is a little different situation, but I just love playing the game. I've just got to keep doing the same things I've done my whole career. Hopefully it pays off. ... This was one of the huge options I had."

The Blues went ahead on Galiardi's goal, as the two PTO's hooked up when Stastny slid a backhand pass to the slot and Galiardi beat Columbus goalie Anton Forsberg five-hole 11 minutes into the first.

Ty Rattie made it 2-0 after redirecting Magnus Paajarvi's flip to the net with an extended reach, squeezing a puck near side past Forsberg with 1:43 left in the first.

Kyle Brodziak's one-timer from the slot off a Galiardi feed from behind the net following a turnover in the second period put the Blues up 3-0 at 15:53, and Nystrom finished off Ferraro's feed 9:27 into the third off a transition play before Kyrou scored with 27.8 seconds remaining.

Speaking of Kyrou, Yeo was impressed with he and Adam Musil in particular.

"A guy like Musil's had a real good camp, right from Traverse City, from what I've seen and from all the reports we've got," Yeo said. "He's got a real good identity as a player. He knows what he brings to the table. Kyrou, a real strong game from him. 

"Pretty impressive for those guys to come in and play in a visiting building in the NHL. It's preseason, but this is still pretty quality hockey and a good showing by them."

* Blues 7, Blue Jackets 3 -- A four-goal third-period explosion helped the Blues open with a victory against the Blue Jackets on Sunday afternoon at Scottrade Center.

Kenny Agostino exploded for two goals and three assists to lead the Blues. Agostino, signed to a one-year, two-way contract after spending the past three seasons with the Calgary Flames and being limited to 10 games, including two games last season after spending most of the year with the AHL's Stockton Heat, where Agostino had 23 goals and 34 assists in 65 games.

"Everyone's fighting for jobs and it's only going to continue as the preseason moves along," Agostino said. "Everyone knows what the pressure is like. All you can do is focus on every shift. That was my approach, take it one shift at a time, if you have a bad one, forget about it. Overall, it was a pretty good night.

"Obviously I'm trying to make a team here. If you look at this team, they're extremely deep up front, so it's important to me to show I can be versatile and play down the middle and play on the D-side because at you look at some of these forwards, they're pretty deep in their top nine. It's going to take me to learn how to play a good third, fourth line style and that's what I'm working on now."

Samuel Blais, a 2014 sixth-round selection, had a goal and three assists and Kevin Shattenkirk (two goals, one assist) and Robby Fabbri (one goal, two assists) each had three-point games.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues players celebrate one of their seven goals scored during a 7-3 victory
on home ice against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Jake Allen played the first two periods and stopped 13 of 16 shots before being replaced by Carter Hutton, who only had to make two third-period saves but picked up an assist along the way.

Paul Stastny scored a power play goal for the Blues, who had only the one man-advantage but the penalty killers were 5-for-6.

Scott Hartnell had two goals and one assist, while Sam Gagner had a goal and two assists.

No comments:

Post a Comment