Hutton helps Blues beat Devils for 9th straight time
Hutton helps Blues beat Devils for 9th straight time
Tarasenko and Vladimir Sobotka scored in regulation as St. Louis got its ninth straight win against New Jersey, dating back to a 7-1 loss to the Devils on Jan. 21, 2014. The Blues have a 30-11 scoring edge during the win streak.
Hutton improved to 7-3-0 on the season. He made an eye-popping pad save on Marcus Johansson with 2:09 left in overtime, and then stopped Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri in the shootout.
Nico Hischier and Hall scored for New Jersey. Keith Kincaid made 27 stops through overtime, but failed on both shootout shots. The Devils have lost three straight.
Hall tied the score at 2-2 by banking a shot off the back of Hutton from a wide angle at 1:17 of the third period. The power play goal was the first in 24 chances for the Devils.
Jesper Bratt appeared to give New Jersey a 3-2 lead six minutes into the third but the goal was disallowed due to offsides after a four-minute video review.
Tarasenko scored his 17th goal of the season midway through the opening period, tying Schenn for the team lead and giving St. Louis a 1-0 lead.
Hischier tipped in a shot by Sami Vatanen to tie it with 7 1/2 minutes left in the second period.
Sobotka then put St. Louis ahead with just under two minutes to go in the period.
FA Cup semifinal takes on increasing importance for both Jose Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino
- Mauricio Pochettino is still without a trophy as coach.
- An FA Cup win would suggest some level of progress for Jose Mourinho at United.
The FA Cup has come to take on a strange role in English football. It would be absurd now to claim it has the same status it did in the 1980s when it still had a glamor and an appeal that outstripped the league, but equally it is not quite the empty vessel many would have you believe.
Rather its value goes up and, annoyingly for Arsene Wenger, down according to circumstance — and this season it feels as though it matters once again.
The reason is that the FA Cup’s value is symbolic rather than actual. Fans, particularly of smaller clubs, will enjoy a day out at Wembley and may have something tangible to store in the trophy room of their memory, but for the big clubs the FA Cup these days can only ever be an adjunct to something else. Arsenal’s success last season, beating Manchester City in the semifinal and then Chelsea in the final, was dramatic and should have been meaningful in terms of the sides overcome, but it rapidly came to feel like just more of the same, a seventh FA Cup for Wenger but nothing like enough to counterbalance the sense of drift.
This season, though, all four of the semifinalists have a particular need to win. For Southampton, the FA Cup is about salvaging some pride from a season that looks increasingly likely to end in relegation (and their manager Mark Hughes, who had such a fine FA Cup record as a player, could suffer the indignity of leading two clubs to relegation from the Premier League this season if Stoke also go down). For Chelsea, who face Southampton in Sunday’s semi, it is about Antonio Conte’s farewell and, again, rescuing at least something from an otherwise miserable season.
But the real interest is Saturday’s last-four clash between Manchester United and Tottenham. After United had won the Europa League last season by beating Ajax in Stockholm, Jose Mourinho (and his players, acting under their manager’s instruction) held up three fingers to represent the three trophies they had won that season. Mourinho has noticeably downgraded his achievement since, deciding that the Community Shield is not, after all, worth including. To keep counting it, after all, would only emphasize what a disappointment this season has been. The FA Cup would not redeem it but along with second place in the league it would at least suggest progress is still being made, that there is a plateauing at Old Trafford rather than decline.
That the semi is against Spurs makes it all the more intriguing. After all, Tottenham’s steady rise under Mauricio Pochettino is one of the factors putting pressure on Mourinho. There is a growing sense, though, perhaps not entirely fair, that Pochettino needs a trophy.
Tottenham have won nothing since lifting the League Cup in 2008 and silverware, without question, would give validation to the general sense of progress, Pochettino, after all, has never won anything as a manager.
The suggestion that that somehow undermines what he has done at Spurs, though, is ludicrous. Nobody, surely, thinks that Juande Ramos, who was in charge when they last league Cup was won, has been a better manager for Spurs than Pochettino? Every time a doubt has been raised, the Argentinian has been hugely effective in quelling it. Spurs never finished above Arsenal: this is the second season in a row
they will do so, and the margin is growing. Spurs were poor in the Champions League last season: this season they beat Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid and should have beaten Juventus. Spurs could not play well at Wembley: they’ve lost only twice there in the league all season. Spurs have lost each of their past seven semifinals: now is the time to put that right, to help dispel the lingering myth of “Spursiness”, that inability ever quite to finish a job. Of course, what happens on Saturday and then in the final may be swiftly forgotten. What happens in the league in the opening weeks of next season will soon overwhelm events at Wembley. But what happens on Sunday and then in May will at least offer an indication of the direction of the tide and, besides, if football isn’t about trophies, what is it about?