Good morning Blues fans! Another game, another win and another chance to pick at those little scabs that remain in terms of the team not playing a perfect game.
The St. Louis Blues, like any team really, are just looking for ways to win games. They keep finding those ways and it is a good thing because they keep finding ways to make it a little more difficult than it needed to be.
The Los Angeles Kings, for their part, lived up to their usual billing. The Kings got a ton of shots, but could not score until late in that game – they likely would not have scored at all if the Blues did not prevent Jake Allen from covering the puck.
Nevertheless, it was another one of those games that the Blues won but gave the naysayers a lot of ammunition.
St. Louis got outshot in the game quite badly. The Kings had 39 shots on goal compared to the Blues 26.
The Blues also had 23 blocks. That is a good thing, but when L.A. only has 11 that means the Kings had 12 extra chances that St. Louis had to prevent from getting to their goaltender.
I’m sure Allen is appreciative of not facing those extra chances. He got shelled as it was and facing 50 shots is not exactly something any goaltender wants.
The Blues also kept taking penalties. Looking at the stat sheet, the Kings were 0-3 on the powerplay and three penalties really is not that many.
So, reality does not match up with the feeling the team gave. Nevertheless, it still seemed like the team put itself in too many positions to be score on by having to kill penalties. Add that to the fact the delay of game call against Alex Pietrangelo was ridiculous and maybe I’m being way to picky.
If you told most fans any combination of those players would be on the man-advantage, they’d all tell you the team probably lost and half the squad was injured. Instead, it is simply a matter of those guys actually playing like we thought they could way back when.
Barbashev is in a different category since he is only a rookie. If he keeps playing like this it will be difficult not to give him a spot next season. Still, you don’t usually promote recalled rookies to the powerplay unit.
On top of all of that, you have to tip your cap to Jake Allen. The Snake has basically given a big middle finger to all those that doubted him and is earning his title as the Blues best goaltender.
Not all of the 39 shots against were top quality, but Allen was cool and confident on just about every one. He was not out of position and was not scrambling. He came up with the big save when needed and that’s what is needed by him for this team to keep winning.
Even as a fan of Allen, I can admit he might never be considered among the league’s elite. The guy has the talent to be a top 10 goaltender in the league though and maybe even top five. He just needs a little help and a little confidence. Check both those boxes and that’s why he’s been playing so superbly.
Here are your St. Louis Blues Morning Links to get your day started off right.
Continuing to show he likes the competition and the action, Jake Allen described last night’s game as fun and liked the pressure. Also, Paajarvi described his goal, David Perron spoke and Mike Yeo as well in the postgame comments. (Blues)
The flip side of the positive is always more interesting to view when you’re on the right side of the equation. The guys out west were not as impressed and know the Kings’ playoff chances took a big blow. (LA Times)
One of the many problems the Blues had at the beginning of the season was their reliance on special teams. The powerplay and penalty kill were so good at the start of the year, but the team could not get it done at even strength. Now the Blues are doing just that and the results speak for themselves. (STLToday)
Vladimir Tarasenko did not pick up any points last night, but he’s been on a hot streak of late. While we all screamed at the television when he tried passing back to Jaden Schwartz last night, when you actually examine his stats, he does a lot more than we give him credit for. Are we expecting too much? (Bleedin’ Blue)
Speaking of Tarasenko’s scoring, Brad Marchand has come alive recently as well. He passed up Tarasenko and tied himself atop the league’s goal scoring list with a hat-trick last night. (ESPN)
Given the names of the players and the positions they played in the team, you’d think the Tampa Bay Lightning were done after the trade deadline. They traded off one of their top three centers and a top goaltender and are still pushing for a playoff spot in spite of that. (NHL)
Have a great day Blues fans!