The St. Louis Blues started a 5 game road trip Sunday afternoon with a 4-1 loss in Dallas, Texas, to a different Stars team than the one they beat earlier in the season. Neither Derek Roy nor Jaromir Jagr played back in January when the Blues beat the Stars at Scottrade Center, but both of the Dallas forwards scored Sunday. Brian Elliot made 23 saves and took the loss in his return to the ice.
There isn’t much good to say about this game for the Blues although they didn’t take a “Too Many Men” penalty, that’s good, right? Their only true bright moment came early when David Perron scored a nifty goal at 4:20 of the 1st period, showing how quick his hands are, tucking the puck in the net as he cruised behind it.
Perron certainly has enjoyed success against Dallas lately, now with 4 goals and 4 assists in his last 5 games. The Blues as a team have more wins versus the Stars than any other team has in the NHL, but you wouldn’t have known it watching Sunday’s game.
Inexplicably, St. Louis followed what was a very sound (though come-from-behind) win Friday night with perhaps their worst overall outing of the season Sunday. After jumping out to a 1-0 lead, the Blues appeared to run out of gas at 15:59 of the 1st and fell behind for good under 2 minutes left in the period when Roy fired a wrister through Elliot.
I have a hard time pinning down what should be noted as the worst thing about these goals, heck, this whole game. Both of the Stars’ first two goals came as a direct result of a Blues turnover, something they’ve been notorious for in their own zone this season. When it happens, they’re giving up goals and losing games. When they protect the puck and make sure passes, they’re winning. Seems pretty simple.
The Roy goal was definitely one Elliot needed to stop, but hey, they guy hasn’t played in a game in 20 days. He gets ambushed after an ugly turnover and can’t make the save, it happens to the best of goalies, and will certainly happen to one who is struggling to find the confidence of last season. I say Elliot should’ve made the stop on Roy, and if he had it would’ve been an altogether different game, but he was also hung-out-to-dry twice, and it all proved too much for the Blues to overcome.
St. Louis only had 2 power play chances Sunday but couldn’t solve Kari Lehtonen beyond the 1st period. They had some chances in the last 40 minutes of play, but overall were out-shot 27-26. . When the Blues out-shoot their opponents, they usually win. When they don’t, they’re losing those games. They simply need to put more pucks on the net.
Say what you want about the officiating and the horrible call they made on what should’ve been the game-tying goal in the 3rd period. I will say this: Adam Cracknell had rushed the net and the puck went on off his skate, but the replay clearly showed the Dallas defender pushing him- specifically his leg. It was reviewed, too quickly, and the call stood.
I’m frustrated by this talented team and their apparent inability to play a full 60 minutes as a team. The Blues started off with an extra step but couldn’t finish the 1st period. Patrik Berglund played more than 15 minutes Sunday, but finished the game -2 and was, as far as I’m concerned, invisible. How is a 6’4″ 219 pound, centerman with NINE goals invisible? Wade Redden was horrible throughout the game, his turnover leading to the first Dallas goal. Yes, he sits out a lot of games, but you have to be ready to play at this level. I’m sure he knows that.
You will not find any “bandwagon” or ‘fair weather” Blues fans here at BleedinBlue, but when Perron took a penalty in the offensive zone with under two minutes to play I turned the game off. I know these guys can play better and I get the impression, from interviews and from Coach Hitchcock, that they’re disappointed in themselves when they under perform, but nothing seems to be changing and time is short this season. I’m starting to think Bernie Miklasz was right, the team needs to make a trade and shake things up, wake things up, before it’s too late.
St. Louis continues its grueling road trip tomorrow night in Los Angeles and it’s time for some revenge, time for a major shift in attitude, and time for the Blues to show their fans that our loyalty is not misguided.
GO BLUES! Long Live the Note!