HAZELWOOD, Mo. - More than 1,500 fans were packed inside the Blues' practice facility for the first scrimmage of training camp on Sunday, and the show on the ice might have been way more thrilling than they could have ever anticipated.
Ivan Barbashev and Samuel Blais each scored in regulation to put Group B ahead 2-0, but Group A rallied back with goals from Tage Thompson and Brayden Schenn to force overtime.
Blais and Barbashev each scored again in the shootout before Paul Stastny buried the deciding goal - a top-shelf backhander - to secure a 3-2 win for Group B in a seven-round shootout.
"I don't want to take anything away from our veterans, because we had some (of those) guys look good out there," Blues Head Coach Mike Yeo said after the scrimmage. "But this is typically what you see. The young kids come in and they've got a lot of energy, and as camp goes on, the level of play continues to go up. The story is going to be who can continue to move up, continue to improve as camp is moving along. Some guys have shown a lot of good things so far."
Video: Group B wins seven-round shootout in camp
Here are some of the observations Yeo shared after the scrimmage:
On veterans setting the tone:
"I thought some of our older guys went out right off the top and set the tone, brought a good pace and some battle with guys finishing checks. That's what you want. You want some of the younger players to get a read on them… We saw some of that today."
On strong performances from Blais and Thompson:
"(It was) a good day for both of those guys, and others for that matter. There are some kids out here you would expect them to be a little overwhelmed and look young, but they're showing they want to keep up and make an impression in there."
On Blais impressing:
"He's shown he deserves more looks. I thought he did a really good job today, and I was really impressed with the way he held onto the puck and his poise - I didn't think he looked overwhelmed or nervous playing with (Vladimir Tarasenko and Stastny) at all. He found a way to make some plays, found a way to score a goal for a skill guy and I liked that was around the blue paint, too. It was a real good day for him."
On roster decisions still to be made:
"There are decisions to be made here and that's what we expected. We knew it was going to be a real competitive camp, that there would be a number of guys vying for position. What you're going to see is some guys move a little head and then they might drop behind. We'll continue to monitor it. We're definitely not picking our team today, but what you see is some guys start to help themselves more than others."
On the standing-room-only crowd:
"It was unbelievable. That was fun. It just gets you excited to get playing for real."
Video: Yeo after training camp scrimmage