Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Spotlighted: Alex Steen

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HIS NUMBERS:

Goals: 1; assists: 0; points 1

HIS ICE TIME:

31 shifts, totalling 21 minutes 40 seconds

First period

With a little over a minute remaining, Steen, T. J. Oshie and David Backes had their best shift of the game. Steen cleanly won the offensive-zone faceoff and with the Blues controlling the puck, Steen took the puck low and dangled dangerously around the net. In this case, the Blues couldn't get the Jets to crack, so the pressure yielded nothing too dangerous. Steen ended the period with one of his team's two shots on goal.

Second period

In the early stages of the second, Steen took possession in a seemingly harmless spot in the offensive left-wing corner. Standing with both skates behind the goal line and no more than a foot or two from the corner boards, Steen simply took a quick wrister towards the Jets' net and banked the puck off the back of unsuspecting Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec. While it was fortunate Pavelec wasn't paying close enough attention, this was a seriously high-skill and high-smarts play by Steen for his 21st goal. The banter in the press box was that the attempt would not have even been a shot on goal had it not hit Pavelec. 1-0 Blues at 4:44 and the difference in the game.

Third period

Just more smart play from Steen. Nothing flashy, but not medium-sized or large errors, and that counts more than most things in another tight, Western Conference game.

WHAT WE LIKED:

By all reports, neither Steen nor his coach, Ken Hitchcock, have been overly impressed with the Blues' top line in recent games. That said, it had plenty enough bite Tuesday night to carry the team to victory.

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE:

It seems like Steen could do more with the puck on the offensive end. But he does not overdo or over-try in this area, a compromise to fit into the team-first style that the Blues play. If you insist on nitpicks, then Steen was just one for four on faceoffs on the night.

SYNOPSIS:

You have to love how complete a player Steen is, even when he's not in his best stretch of the season. Scored his 21st goal of the year but has only two points in the last four games, not up to the pace he's set so far of better than a point per game. Tuesday was a 'B' game for Steen. Everyone's B-game should be so good.

 

-- Tim Campbell

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 11, 2013 D3

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