Blown Calls, Bad Defense Cost Blues A Game


The St. Louis Blues (49-24-7) lost to the Winnipeg Jets (42-26-12) 1-0 Tuesday evening in St. Louis.  The Blues came to the game following a big win in Chicago which put them first in the division and on a three game win streak.  The Jets similarly came off a big win over the wild-card rival Minnesota Wild.  This was the final match of a five-game series between these teams which the Blues led 3-1.

More from Bleedin' Blue

This loss keeps the Blues from maintaining a solid hold on the top spot in the Central division.  When the game ended they led Nashville by a point and Chicago by two, though Nashville was tied early into the third.  Chicago was down late in the third.  The Blues are trying to hold their position throughout the final two games.  If they do they will play the higher ranked wild-card team, which, to date, is the Minnesota Wild.  The Blues play Chicago on Thursday and Minnesota on Saturday.


The game began with high energy.  The Jets tallied the game’s first shot on goal within the first minute.  Despite an early brief set-up by the Blues, the Jets kept control of the action.  It took almost 6 minutes for the Blues to take their first shot.  By that point, the Jets already had 4.  After seven minutes, the Blues found their offensive and more or less evened things out.  By 12, they had overtaken the Jets in shots.

Things got a little more interesting after 14:32 when there was some admittedly needless shoving that happened behind Jake Allen after a whistle.  David Backes and Bryan Little went to the box for roughing to put play 4 on 4 for two minutes.  At 15:48 Drew Stafford went to the box for tripping to give the Blues a 4 on 3 advantage for 45 seconds.  The linesmen missed a high stick on the same play that should have taken an extra Jets player off the ice.

After the 45 seconds the Blues had an additional 1:15 of 5 on 4 power play time.  Despite their strongest drive of the game, the Blues were up able to make anything happen on the power play.  The teams kept at each other for the final two minutes but ended the period with no score.

Apr 7, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen (34) during the first against the Winnipeg Jets at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The second period began in a similar manner as the first.  After 2:31 Chris Thorburn scored off a faceoff to put the Jets on the board 1-0.  The Jets continued to frustrate the Blues as the period went on.  After ten minutes, Winnipeg led in shots 22-18.

The shooting pace slowed in the next ten minutes, though the Jets continued to keep their dominance in shooting.  However, at 14:59 Paul Stastny scored on a breakaway.  Unfortunately for the Blues, the goal was called back and Stastny was sent to the box for slashing prior to his break.  50 seconds into the power play the Jets had to send a player to the box for too many men which evened things out for 1:10.

At 16:41, with 19 seconds left of 4 on 4 play, T.J. Oshie was knocked down and later gave the same player a reverse hit which was called as a high stick the hit drew blood, which earned Oshie 4 minutes.  All in all, this gave the Jets a 4 on 3 advantage for 19 seconds.  Then play went 4 on 4 for 45 seconds.  After that the Jets had a 5 on 4 advantage for 2:51.

The period ended with 41 seconds remaining in power play time and a 1-0 Winnipeg lead.

The Blues killed the penalty at the start of the second having allowed only a single shot over Oshie’s four minutes.  Over the next five minutes the Blues came at the Jets full force and kept the game in the offensive zone.  At 8:35 Jaden Schwartz was sent to the box for tripping.

Apr 7, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Winnipeg Jets center Jim Slater (19) blocks the shot of St. Louis Blues right wing T.J. Oshie (74) during the third period at Scottrade Center. The Winnipeg Jets defeat the St. Louis Blues 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Blues worked hard to kill the penalty.  With 9 seconds left, Michael Frolik went to the box for hooking to give the Blues 1:51 of power play time when Schwartz returned.  They spent a lot of time in the Jets’ zone and put a lot of shots on goal but were unable to score on their power play.

The Blues continued to put pressure on the Jets until late in the period and nearly evened shots.  With three minutes left shots were 30 to 28.  With 1:20 left Jake Allen left the net for an extra man.  With 34 seconds left, after an assault near the crease, the Blues took a timeout to strategize.  There was a lot of shoving following the next play and only 11 seconds left.   The Blues couldn’t score and instead ended the game with some roughing.


The Blues had to expect that the Jets would be hungry in this game, as they were fighting for the wild-card with very few games remaining.  For whatever reason, though, they weren’t prepared in the early minutes and took a very long time to adapt to the game.  These two teams couldn’t play a different defensive game.  Where the Blues shadow their opponents and maintain a steady buffer, the Jets take away ice and chop at the puck.

Put these strategies against each other and it works in favor of the aggressive option.   The Jets had time and space to get deep in the Blues’ zone and keep Jake Allen on his toes.  The Blues, on the other hand, were held back and took many of their shots from the blue line.

Of course, the Blues weren’t the only ones in their way tonight.  The officials were almost a second opponent on the ice for the Blues.  Coming into the third, things were obviously frustrating with the refs having blown three big calls.  They missed an obvious highstick, called back a goal and charged Oshie with a double minor that replays showed as a legal hit.

Apr 7, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets teammates scuffle during the first at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Fortunately, aside from the recalled goal, these penalties didn’t do any damage to the Blues as far as the score is concerned.  Of course, having a playing in the box for four minutes when he shouldn’t be means that the team needlessly spends 20% of the period short-handed.  That gives them 20% less of a chance to score a goal.

Bad officiating is just bad officiating, though.  It is part of all sports and something that athletes learn to live with.  What the Blues can control is their adjustment and adaptation to new opponents, which is something they’ve struggled with all season.  The Blues are going to have to learn how to deal with the Jets, though, because if the standings stay as close as they are, these two have a very good chance of meeting in the first round of the post-season.

Now that the Blues revitalization that apparently stemmed from some shuffling of the lines has faded, I have a feeling we are going to see the players put back where they were throughout most of the season.

It would also be nice to hear some sort of formal apology or acknowledgement from someone in the NHL about tonight’s officiating.  Bad breakups, getting fired, stolen car; we all like to hear that we’re great when we’re down, even pro hockey players.

More from Bleedin' Blue