The St. Louis Blues lost to the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night 3-2. Jaden Schwartz and Patrik Berglund scored late but the team’s comeback effort was thwarted by Cory Schneider who made 32 saves for Vancouver to get the win.
We’ve seen Jake Allen make brilliant saves already in his young career, and he’s stolen a game or two already for the Blues, but it wasn’t in the cards Tuesday night. The tables turned on St. Louis in the 2nd period as Vancouver out-shot them 14-6, finding the back of the net three times, twice in a span of 1:42 early on. There was another “fight” immediately following the face-off after Vancouver’s 1st goal, this one between heavyweights Ryan Reaves and Tom Sestito, but it did nothing to spark the
To say the loss was disappointing would be a major understatement. After a strange fight right from a face-off at 2:41 by Chris Stewart and Zack Kassian, both teams appeared to me to be skating in sand for most of the 1st period. The Blues turned it up in the last 10 minutes or so, ending the period with 15 shots on Schneider, who may have won the game then and there for the Canucks by staving off the early St. Louis attack. Vancouver generated a measly THREE shots in the frame, but the momentum seemed tilted in their favor thanks to their goalie.
The Canucks were stronger on the puck at both ends of the ice throughout the middle 20 minutes, and poor defensive positioning by Roman Polak and Kris Russell allowed two quick goals within the first 5 minutes. To be fair, the St. Louis forwards didn’t do a very good job backchecking on either play, and Allen is but one guy. He can’t play defense AND stop all the pucks. Vancouver’s third goal of the period, a very pretty play originating in their own zone, proved to be the difference in the game.
The Blues tried to make a comeback in the 3rd period. They out-shot Vancouver 13-2 in the final 20 minutes of play and despite goals by Schwartz and Berglund it wasn’t enough to overcome their poor play in the 2nd period. It was another reminder for St. Louis that you MUST PLAY A FULL 60 MINUTES to win games in the NHL.
St. Louis has been idle much of this week while other teams in the West have played as many as 2 games each, evening up the games-played for most clubs. The Blues are on the road tonight in Edmonton where Jaroslav Halak will get the start. As of Saturday morning the Blues sit in 7th place in the Conference, only 2 points ahead of San Jose and Columbus., with 19 games left to play. Four points separates Columbus, current out of the playoff picture and the 4th place Canucks, an indication that positioning will likely see a flurry of changes over the remaining month of the regular season. The Blues will play again tomorrow night in Calgary then return home for a pair of games next week. They’ll then start April playing 6 of 7 games on the road before finishing up with 8 of 9 at home.
Considering how they’ve played at home much of this season, it’s not as big an advantage as it might’ve been, say last year, but the Blues will obviously need to pickup as many points at home and on the road as possible. Will clearing roster space by moving Matt D’Agostini be the only move Armstrong & Co. make before the deadline? Will Halak reclaim his starting job over Allen? Can St. Louis find its power-play dominance now that guys are healthy again and they can roll two big lines? Whatever the answers, it should be a wild race to the end.
GO BLUES! Long Live the Note!