Canucks Get A, Blues Get A-

The Blues tested their strength against the best team in the Western Conference Thursday night, but in the end, it's clear they still have some work to do, but they're not far off.

It was a match up of the best home team in the NHL against the league's best road team, and the Vancouver Canucks proved they're not easily rattled playing away from home.

The Blues threw everything they had at the Canucks after Vancouver scored the game's first goal. St. Louis had a 2-1 lead halfway through the second period, but it should have been much more.

A few unnecessary extra passes and a couple of missed breakaways later, the Canucks got the game-tying goal before the second intermission and the momentum was on their side.

The third period saw the Blues once again pepper goalie Roberto Luongo, but come up empty. Meanwhile the Canucks made their few chances in third period count. It took  several key saves by Brian Elliot to keep the game tied and heading into overtime.

It was an unfortunate power-play goal the Canucks scored on what was virtually a 4-on-2 advantage in overtime. TJ Oshie was without a stick and bolted for the bench to pick up a new twig, but he arrived back late to the party, the damage was already done.

Although it was a disappointing way to lose on home ice, the Blues should feel confident they skated with the defending Western Conference champions, and a team that came one win shy of winning a Stanley Cup last summer.

What you have to remember is that the Blues are hard to take down in regulation since Ken Hitchcock took over as coach. Even on their bad nights, the Blues manage to pick up a point in extra time and that's what will separate them from the teams fighting to get into the playoffs this year.

It's nice to see the Blues in a dog fight for points every night like they're the most important 2 points of the season. I believe it has to do with the coach, and also the veteran leadership (Arnott, Langenbrunner, Nichol) that has this team with the right mindset to not only make the playoffs but be a team many will not want to play in a 7-game series.

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