Good morning Blues fans! St. Louis ended their road trip on a very sour note, but at least we know they will have the sweetness of the postseason to erase that.
The St. Louis Blues have been on quite the run in recent weeks. They were 11-1-1 in their last thirteen and goaltender Jake Allen had the exact same record over his last 13 starts (Carter Hutton appeared once in that span too).
With the way the Blues had been taking care of business against these cellar dwelling teams, there was little doubt they would beat Colorado and easily clinch their sixth consecutive playoff berth. Things did not quite pan out that way.
All day long, all we heard about was the Blues needing one point to clinch. They took that a bit too literally and started playing for that point instead of a win once the winds started blowing in that direction.
The Blues came out well enough. They got the opening goal of the game and looked poised to put another victory in their back pocket.
A game is not won in the first 20 minutes alone though. The Avalanche smothered the Blues with an avalanche of offensive activity in the second and third periods.
They forced the Blues into taking some penalties. The one against Scottie Upshall was fairly weak, but a high stick is a high stick even if the blade barely grazed the whiskers on your face.
Colorado made the Blues pay for that one, scoring almost immediately. Jake Allen made a fine save initially, but there was no backside help and Colorado banged in the rebound.
The problem after that goal was there was no real push by the Blues after that. If anything, they seemed to shrink back into the game instead of charging through it.
Whether it was the altitude, the weariness of the end of the road trip or a combination, the Blues just looked tired. The Avs might be a bad team in the record books, but they still have NHL players capable of getting the job done and they did.
St. Louis, in the end, was rather fortunate to even get the point. Their goal was tipped in by Ryan Reaves, so the fourth line’s magic has not completely faded away.
Still, if not for that bit of luck, the Blues might have been shutout. Then the Avs were swarming the net left and right in the final moments of regulation and some big saves from Allen were needed to preserve the point.
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The Blues best chance to win was actually in overtime. St. Louis rarely plays well in this three-on-three format, but they could have won it if not for the heroics of Calvin Pickard, the Blues might have got both points. The same could be said of the Avs though as both goaltenders came up huge in the extra frame.
As social media tends to do, the overreaction was incredibly strong. The freak outs over one, bad game were too over the top. All fans were disappointed the team lost, but it is not the harbinger of something terrible to come.
My only personal gripe from the game was the shootout itself. I hate them, win or lose. Additionally, I get a little tired of Vladimir Tarasenko trying the same couple moves.
The thing where he dekes, leaves the puck and tries to reach back to tap it in is great when it works. When the goaltender senses it coming though, you look rather foolish as the shot never has a chance. I’d rather he try to snipe one in.
The only actual bad thing about losing was the missed opportunity. The Blues could have put Nashville in the rearview mirror instead of seeing them out the side window. Now St. Louis has to win on Sunday or the Predators keep themselves in the divisional race.
If the Blues can stay ahead of Calgary, that might not be terrible. Still, facing Minnesota the way they are playing is probably the best outcome.
Here are your St. Louis Blues Morning Links to get your day started off right.
Lost in the clutter of the game was the fact the Blues were playing with five defensemen almost the entire night. Still, though the team was disappointed not to win, they were pleased to clinch, knowing where they came from a few months ago. (STLToday)
The Blues seem to be facing a lot of first time NHLers. Last night, Tyson Jost got his first NHL action and one particular family member was overcome with emotion upon seeing Jost skate onto the ice the first time. (NBCSports)
St. Louis has their own pipeline of guys that might be ready to make the jump to the NHL. Perhaps not this season, but we may see some of these guys in the blue note rather soon. (Bleedin’ Blue)
The US Women’s National Team did not have much time to prepare for the World Championships after ending their boycott. They apparently did not need a ton of time as they took down one of the world’s best right off the bat. (NHL)
St. Louis has plenty of former Blues coaching or helping out in the peewee ranks. That’s a big reason so many local kids just got drafted. Former players giving back to kids is becoming a trend nation wide, but as proof that nobody is above criticism, even former pro players get criticized by parents. (ESPN)
The New York Islanders’ playoff chances were getting slim anyway. They might be paper thin now that their best player could be on the shelf. (ESPN)
Have a great day Blues fans!