The St Louis Blues started things of right with Ken Hitchcock with a 3-0 drubbing of rival Chicago Blackhawks. In Hitchcocks first night, the power play looked better, the penalty kill looked better, overall the team played better. This team got something they have lacked all season long….STRUCTURE. Hitchcock methodically challenged the Blackhawks to match up with his line combos, it felt like for once someone put the right players on the right lines. Even though he did some shuffling, he did correctly using match ups.
Sobotka, Backes, and Oshie looked strong tonight. The hitting that these three can provide is astounding. Sobotka stood up John Scott on and aggressive move by Scott knocking him down. Backes continued his reign of terror on Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews just running him over at times. Oshie made his plays as well scoring the third and final goal of the night. Sobe got the scoring off on the night scoring the 1st. Another solid line was once again the Steen, Arnott, and Langenbrunner line. This line for some reason may not score the most but it certainly is the hardest working.
For the power play tonight you could start to see a change with Hitch. Chris Stewart got on the board and netted a tip from the slot. Stewart looked super energized after that goal. If this is something that can get him going this team will go on a tear. Maybe the coaching change is what this team needed. However if this team does go into a lull expect Doug Armstrong to rip this team apart and start over. He has been quoted saying. “That it is no longer the coaching staffs problems, its on the players.”
I am starting to excited to see what he can do when he gets a fully healthy team, with Andy Mac and David Perron. Hitchcock is the first Blues coach since Mike Keenan to win his first game as coach of the Blues, lets continue this momentum against the Leafs thursday at 7 PM at Scottrade Center.