Rudd: Thoughts on Blues first preseason win over Dallas

By Corey Rudd of for KSDK Sports

(KSDK Sports) -- It is really hard to believe, but the St. Louis Blues, just days after opening training camp last week, have already started preseason play, netting a 6-5 overtime win over the Dallas Stars on Sunday night.

What a difference a year makes. This time last season, the NHL was frozen because of collective bargaining negotiations that delayed the start of the season until January. This season, head coach Ken Hitchcock has a full camp to work with for the first time since becoming the coach down at Scottrade Center and he has plenty of bodies to work with.

Some of the regulars did not play on Sunday, others did, and here are some reactions to Game 1 of the preseason.

This was not a typical Blues effort. Hitchcock's boys allowed 38 shots on goal. The Blues allowed that many shots on goal just twice in 48 games last season. The Blues will be looking to tighten things up in their next preseason tilt against Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

Also, don't expect the Blues to win too many 6-5 games this season. This is a defensive minded roster with a defensive minded coach. Its preseason. Its early. Six goals will not be a normal occurrence for this team.

Jake Allen got the start in goal and will likely find himself heading to the minors soon. I like that he is handling this so well, per his comments to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Lous Post-Dispatch. The Blues have a luxury of having three very capable guys, although it is my belief that Jaroslav Halak will actually step-up and lead the charge in net for the Blues this season.

Maxim Lapierre's two goals should be viewed as an aberration and not as a sign that the Blues inked this magical goal scorer this offseason. Lapierre once scored 15 goals in a season during his career, but do not look for that type of magic once the games start counting. He is a nice player, but this was an exhibition. He will not be logging over 14 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time during the regular season.

That being said, Lapierre is a great addition to this club. He is a tough, gritty player who can certainly serve well on the penalty kill and add toughness to this roster.

Fans looking for the "CPR Line" to lead the Blues to the Stanley Cup this season will be in for a rude awakening. Lapierre will be centering the fourth line this season on most nights and while it may be difficult for the casual fan to understand, he is an enormous upgrade over Chris Porter.

I'm glad Vladdy Tarasenko got a chance as one of the the team's selections to participate in shootouts. Tarasenko buried his chance, giving the Blues the victory. Hopefully Tarasenko can show that his two-way game has developed enough for Hitch to give him more ice time. He has special talent and if given ice-time with guys capable of getting him the puck, he really could excel and be a weapon in shootouts during the regular season.

Alex Pietrangelo is signed, but he did not suit up, and Kevin Shattenkirk logged big minutes in his absence, playing 26:45, second to just Jay Bouwmeester, who was on the ice for 27:23. Those are big time minutes for an exhibition game. The top three defenseman will have to log some big minutes this season for the Blues, but hopefully those minutes are limited a little bit more going forward in the preseason.

Newcomer Magnus Paajarvi led the team with four shots on goal in 17:56 of action. That is solid activity from the young Swede, who will be fighting for ice time and to make this team all preseason long.

Meanwhile, center Patrik Berglund had just one shot on goal, which is in line with his activity for most of last season, when he averaged just 1.54 shots per game as the team's No. 2 center. Berglund did register four hits in the game, which is a good sign. The 6'4", 217 pound big man picked up his physical play in the playoffs last season and the Blues third line could benefit this season from a more physical Berglund.

Corey Rudd will be contributing KSDK Sports online. Heis a co-host of Fan Interference on CBS Sports 920 and in St. Louis. He also owns and operates You can follow him on Twitter here.


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