The St. Louis Blues had a matinee affair with the New York Islanders on Columbus Day. They came out hot, but did not finish quite as well. Can’t complain too much though.
When the fans noticed that the St. Louis Blues were playing an afternoon game on a Monday, most wondered why. When the answer, or at least the likeliest answer, became it was Columbus Day, many still pondered it.
Outside of government workers and a very small number of schools, most people did not have the day off. Perhaps it is different out on the east coast.
Regardless, those that watched live, and those that watched on tape delay, were treated to another good game overall. The Blues came out and took the game by the scruff.
Unfortunately, the ending has become too much of a habit. St. Louis squandered a good effort and made themselves put in way more work than they needed to come back with the result.
In the end, you can’t complain too much. But, we would not be fans if we did not do just that anyway.
The Blues struck first again.
St. Louis has played three games and scored first twice. Even in the game they did not, the Pittsburgh game, they struck back quickly.
The offense is not all a problem in the early part of the season. Even with so many offensive weapons on the shelf with injury, the team is solid in scoring.
In fact, the St. Louis Blues are currently third in the league in scoring. Only Chicago and Toronto have more goals and Chicago somewhat cheated by scoring 10 in one game (just kidding).
It’s good to see the team finding ways to score that did not always happen last season. They’re taking good shots and getting rewarded for it.
The Blues are allowing way too many shots.
For the second game in a row, the Blues have allowed over 40 shots a game. That is way too much work for their goaltender.
Right now, Jake Allen is shouldering the load and regardless of stats, he is saving the team. The Blues have never been a dominating defense, but they are usually pretty good.
This is not quite like a St. Louis Blues team. On the one hand, many of the shots are easy saves because Allen can see the entire way. On the other hand, it does not matter. 40 shots is 40 shots (42 in this game specifically).
Allen bailed out the team constantly in the 2017 playoffs, but even if he is as good as we hope/want him to be you can wear him out. Especially early in the season, the Blues need to find a way to lessen the shots against – they blocked 13 shots too.
The aforementioned Allen bailed out the Blues again.
Allen had another game that statistically matched how he has actually been playing. For the second time this season, his save percentage was over .900 (.952 to be precise).
He was the main reason the team won as well. Of course, the team’s best scorer had a big reason they won, but Allen had to bail the team out so many times.
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Allen made 15 saves in the second period. He made 16 in the third period, when the Islanders were throwing everything including the kitchen sink at the net.
Again, there was little to nothing he could do about either goal scored against. One he could not see and one was a rebound goal where the defender did not clear out the man in front. Doubters will whine about rebound control, but most goaltenders allow rebounds these days with the stiffer pads.
As they put it on the postgame show on KMOX, Allen is stopping the shots he should and getting to many he has no business saving. You can’t ask much more.
Too many penalties.
The Blues are doing a good job of killing off their penalties. Through three games, their PK is killing off 86.7% of the penalties against.
The problem is the number of penalties taken. New York had six power plays against the Blues. That is just too many.
Sure, the Blues short handed unit is doing a good job so far, but some of that is fool’s gold. There have been a couple goals scored against that were just after a power play ended, so it does not count statistically but it was essentially a power play goal.
St. Louis just needs to stay out of the box. It sounds easy, but they have to find a way. Another game with a too-many-men penalty is quite unacceptable as well.
Vladimir Tarasenko is hitting his stride early.
On the television broadcast they brought up the idea that Tarasenko might be trying to match his countryman, Alex Ovechkin. Ovi has gotten off to a hot start with seven goals in two games.
Tarasenko only has three, but it’s a good start for him. Fans were a little worried after he was a little absent in the opener against Pittsburgh, but he’s been in each game since.
He scored against Dallas and then chipped in with two goals against New York. Tarasenko also scored in the shootout, which has been a hit or miss prospect.
It would be great if he had five to seven goals already, but three is just fine. The Blues need him to be the best he can be, not necessarily compare him to others.
He’ll get his goals over the course of the season. The fact that he’s getting them early and helping the team win is a double whammy in a positive way.
The Blues blew another lead.
Three regular season games in a row and a total of five straight games, the Blues have seen late leads evaporate. In the preseason you could chalk it up to strange lineups. That excuse no longer works.
The Blues have to find a way to clamp down on these leads. The team might have six points out of three games, but they are overworking themselves.
Two of their first three have gone to overtime when they did not have to. The Blues barely avoided OT against Dallas, but failed to clear the puck with any conviction when the Stars had their goaltender pulled.
As my father pointed out, it seems strange that a team so adept at killing penalties seems to fail so much at clearing the zone when the net is empty on the other side.
Regardless, the team can’t keep giving up so many third period goals. They’re doing a good job of stopping teams right now, but eventually that is going to cost you points.
A win is a win is a win.
We can complain until we are blue in the face, but if the team is winning how much can we really get on them? The Blues might have several areas they need to improve on, but that’s a positive.
If they are winning without yet playing a full 60 or even their best hockey, that’s a really good thing. The Blues are relying on Allen too much and have to clean things up in the final period, but they are finding ways to win.
When this team gets to full strength, if it does not mess up chemistry, they could be special. Time will tell on that, but anyone would take 3-0 at this point.