The St. Louis Blues had many opportunities to establish themselves as contenders in their first round playoff series with the Los Angeles Kings but failed to take advantage and found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-2 series win by LA. All six games were decided by a single goal, emphasizing the problems St. Louis had in scoring goals throughout the series. Brian Elliott was very good in net for the Blues, but Jonathan Quick was better for the Kings. The Blues missed out, and they’ll have to look to the future for a Cup.
The Blues once led the best-of-seven series 2 games to none and missed the opportunity to go up by three games when they failed to score in Game 3 and lost 1-0. They missed another chance in Game 4 when they coughed up not one but TWO leads and lost in the 3rd period. St. Louis out-shot LA overall in the series by about 20 shots, but the Blues missed the net 101 times over the 6 games. Completely missed the mark. Quick was stellar in net for the Kings but the Blues simply missed some of their best chances to take leads, tie games, and put LA away when it counted.
The Blues missed their chance to take advantage of home-ice by losing a pivotal Game 5, where they fought back from being down a goal TWICE, the second time with less than a minute to play in regulation, only to lose in overtime. In Game 6, they missed the chance to bring the series back home for a potentially epic Game 7 because they quit on the puck at the end of the 2nd period then couldn’t muster even just one more goal to at least get to overtime.
All five Blues skaters, and maybe even Elliott, simply quit on the play where Dustin Penner scored with 1 second left in that period, and it basically cost them the game and series. Missed chances. Let’s give credit to the Kings for playing like the reigning champs and especially to Quick who was called on to make some pretty amazing saves throughout the series. But the Blues had the chance to win this series in convincing fashion and they simply missed. They couldn’t finish, and that’s a question they’ll have to address in the off-season.
When the Lockout ended to give us this shortened NHL season I said it would probably not be the time to make any large, sweeping judgements about our teams, and I stand by that. The Blues have teased fans once again by showing the ability to win but not when it mattered most. They can’t seem to put teams away.
Some questions that will be addressed here in the coming weeks:
- What will the Blues do in net for next season? Will Jaroslav Halak and Elliott both remain in St. Louis?
- Did the lack of a full training camp hurt the Blues? Will a full camp benefit some of the slow starters on this team?
- Will the “core” of the Blues all be skating in St. Louis again next season? Is there a pure goal-scorer out there that fits in their plans? Will it come from inside the system?