The St. Louis Blues didn’t make it easy and it was not pretty. Nevertheless, they beat the San Jose Sharks and now have a good thing going at home.
The St. Louis Blues still don’t look anything like what we want them too. Perhaps they never will this season.
The Blues have now found themselves on the positive side of the ledger in two straight games though. They also have a nice string of games going on home ice, which is something that has not been the case in recent years.
As usual, things could not start off well for the Blues. Unlike the previous few, the Blues were actually getting outshot quite badly early on and then the Sharks ended up capitalizing.
Jake Allen let one slip between his legs to give the Sharks the first one of the contest, but fortunately it would not be his or the team’s undoing.
St. Louis battled back and got a nice goal from Jaden Schwartz to tie the game. More impressive than the goal was the fact someone was in front of the net for the Blues.
That has been something completely absent from the team’s play this year, possibly due to the big bodies that left during the summer. Dmitrij Jaskin did not allow Martin Jones to see the puck at all and that is something that the Blues need to do much more often.
They did just that with two guys in front or near the front of the net on Schwartz’ second of the game. Normally, it should go without saying you need to be in those areas, but the Blues have not had the will to get there so far this year.
Sure, the shot from Schwartz had eyes. The more important thing is Jones did not have eyes because there was too much traffic.
The Blues would not make it comfortable for anyone in the arena or at home though. They had to kill off several penalties down the stretch before they could call themselves winners by the score of 3-2.
It’s a solid win for the boys and a good confidence builder to get over a team they typically struggle with from the west. There is still much to be improved on if this team wants to consider itself a championship contender.
For all that is holy, can this team not stay out of the penalty box? Is someone’s grandmother sneaking freshly baked cookies in there?
During the telecast, they said the Blues have averaged five or more penalties per game this season (it may have been a shorter time period, but even so…). The Blues are still the team with the most penalty kill minutes this season as well.
The Blues took another six penalties against the Sharks. Thankfully, they improved their penalty kill percentage by killing off all six.
You just can’t keep that up over the course of a season. Something is bound to give.
Hopefully it will be the number of penalties taken. It has to go down. St. Louis just cannot keep playing shorthanded for that much time out of a game.
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Also, Allen continues to look shaky at times. As a goaltender apologist, there are things I see that could have prevented the goals before the shot even happened, but Allen will likely want both goals back from tonight.
The defense is still puzzling as well. They’re turning pucks over in their own zone, which lead to quality scoring chances against and keep backing off, allowing too much space to good shooters.
We’ve all had our nitpicks against certain players here or there in the past, but defense was supposed to be the backbone of this team. So far, they’ve been the cause of too much stress.
If we are to be fair, Allen has to go in this one as well. His rebound control is not what we’d like and he seems to be constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.
That said, he’s battling his ass off. He made several key saves, including an amazing save midway through the game and a big one late that kept the Blues ahead.
As much as we’ll never get the haters to be quiet, that’s what you need from a goaltender. Even if he’s not on his game completely, if he can do enough to help you win it instead of winning in spite of him, he’s done his job.
Allen has done that all season really. It’s just the few softies catch our eye more.
The right people are getting hot. We’ve been asking for more scoring and some big guys are providing it.
Unfortunately, Vladimir Tarasenko‘s point streak came to an end. I think he’ll sacrifice that for a win any day though.
Lastly, the physicality is back. It’s all well and good to play a faster style, but hockey is still about hitting.
The numbers were down from the last few games, but the Blues still outhit their opponent. It doesn’t matter if the team has gotten smaller, you can still put a body on someone and they are.
The Blues have a nice little streak going. Two straight wins and they are 7-1-2 at home so far this season.
That last number might be bigger than the meager win streak. The Blues have not had the best home records in years past, so if they can continue to make Scottrade a fortress, so much the better (especially if they could sneak a home ice series into the playoffs).
Now, they have Nashville coming to town on Saturday. It’s a quick turnaround from the lackluster 3-1 loss to the Preds just last week.
The only worrying thing might be that Nashville was not playing well going into that game and won quite handily. The Predators are still streaky, but they’ve been playing much better since then.
So, the Blues need to keep doing what they’ve been doing. Focus on your own game and good things will happen.
The more they try to play to their opponent instead of forcing the other team to play their way, the worse it goes. It sounds way too simple, but play Blues hockey and they can extend the streak to three before heading east.