The St. Louis Blues ended their losing streak against the Los Angeles Kings. Not only that, but it put a little bit of sugar on what had been a rather sour home stand.
The St. Louis Blues may not be performing how we want them to or how we think they can, but as long as they are coming up with points, that’s the main thing. That may be the biggest theme coming out of their game against the Los Angeles Kings.
The Blues were outshot at times, forcing their defense and goaltender to scramble at times, but they got the job done. Their offense still looked a little out of sorts, but it got the job done.
We can all complain left, right and center about this or that. When it comes to the playoffs, these types of games aren’t always going to get a positive result.
Still, the Blues are grinding out results. It’s not pretty, but they won against LA and they kept pace with the surprising Minnesota Wild atop the division.
Here are your three biggest takeaways from the Kings game.
3. Jake Allen can win you a game.
Jake Allen may never have 100% of the fan base on his side unless he wins a Stanley Cup. Even then, it may only get as high as 90%.
That is just the stigma that follows Blues goaltenders. With only a couple exceptions, Blues goalies have always had the problem NFL quarterbacks have, which is the fans are always looking for the next one.
All that said, Allen proved that he can win you a game against the Kings. Whether you look at it as a positive or negative, Allen still wasn’t at his peak and he stopped all 27 Kings shots and got the Blues a hard earned win.
The defense helped him out for sure. The Kings were not buzzing the net left and right.
Allen wasn’t making highlight reel saves or standing on his head. He made the saves he needed to make, stopped the ones he had to make and even turned aside a couple he shouldn’t have gotten to.
That’s what you need your goaltender to do. Every goalie in the league has a bad night or lets in the soft goals, but when they can keep those to a minimum, they are doing their job.
The Blues defense is going to limit shots against on most nights. Perhaps that doesn’t mesh well with Allen since he seems to be sharper when called into action more, but if we see more nights like this one than not, the Blues will be in fine shape.
2. The STL line is the only one that should be kept together.
The Blues are looking for some sort of combinations that are going to get the scoring going with more consistency. You can argue about the validity of tinkering with the line combinations, but given the results, it is clear the STL line is the only one that doesn’t need tinkering.
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We all have our feelings about Lehtera, one way or the other. Judging from social media, it doesn’t seem like he’s in anyone’s doghouse. They just wish Tarasenko had a better/faster center paired with him.
I agree with that sentiment. Prior to the season, I was hoping Lehtera would be paired on the third line and we would finally see Paul Stastny with Tarasenko for an extended period.
Clearly, it has not happened and may never happen. The thing that makes it bearable is the chemistry the STL line does have.
It would be great to have Tarasenko playing on the top line and having a better playmaking center with him. There is something to be said for guys with chemistry playing together.
Schwartz, Lehtera and Tarasenko seem to feed off each other quite well. That was very clear on the only goal of the game scored by that very line.
The question for this line is how good will they be. We know how good they can be. That’s what caused the whole STL line craze to begin with.
Right now, it is harder to tell. Lehtera and Schwartz have both missed several games due to injury, so their point totals are far below Tarasenko.
If they can heat up and justify the coach’s faith, it could be something special. That said, Lehtera still needs to be more aggressive in taking shots instead of looking to dish every time.
1. This is probably the offensive product we are going to see.
As the season goes on, you’re going to read (and in honesty, I’m going to write) several pieces talking about the Blues scoring chances and how their offense just isn’t clicking yet. Even though the sample size is small, it’s beginning to look like this is just going to be the offense we are going to get.
It was a worry at the beginning of the season. Many fans were questioning where the goals were going to come from and it’s looking like their fears are founded.
It isn’t for lack of trying. We have seen the Blues’ offense jump to life. We just have not seen it often enough.
For whatever reason, hopefully for the short-term, the Blues aren’t finishing even though they are creating. That has to be frustrating for the players as they can see the chances there and then peter out.
So, we are just going to have to get used to inconsistency. In wins and losses, the Blues never seem to have quite the same performance, so that may be the way they are most consistent.
Right now, there isn’t too much to complain about in the grand scheme. Only a hot start by the Wild is preventing the Blues from being in first place.
It’s just worrying because you are depending on a lot of things. If you can’t score with regularity, you’re putting a lot of pressure elsewhere.
Allen or Carter Hutton will have to be on point more nights than not. The defense can’t have too many lapses, if any.
That’s a big ask, but as long as the team keeps winning, whatever way they do it is fine.