It came a lot later than many had predicted for the St. Louis Blues. They finally had an all-around bad game though and against a very beatable team.
The St. Louis Blues came into south Florida riding high on a four-game winning streak. They had an opportunity to set a franchise record to start a season if they could go 5-0.
Unfortunately, that all came to a crashing halt. The Blues finally laid an egg in terms of performance, if not on the scoreboard.
We all knew it was going to come eventually. As much as we love this team, they do not have the talent to cruise through the season on talent alone.
They were getting by with effort and goaltending. Both were in short supply in this game.
The team has played so well even when they have had bad moments that you kept thinking there would be a point they would flip the switch. This was not one of those nights as they could not find any firm footing.
As with any game, there were some positives to glean out. They were just fewer and farther in between.
The Blues scored first again.
Four out of five games is not too shabby. The Blues are notorious for their slow starts over the last few years.
They have wasted countless good performances in the past by forcing themselves to comeback. So far, that has not been an issue in 2017-18.
This time it was Pauly Noteeth, aka Paul Stastny, getting the scoring going. It was a nice little stuff in on the power play to get the Blues rolling.
It was a decent goal to pay off some good play. While the Blues were slow out of the gate, they dominated the final five minutes of the first period and took control in the second. Sadly, it was only for a brief time.
The lead evaporated quickly again.
For the second game in a row, the Blues could not hold onto the lead for more than five minutes. Against the New York Rangers, it was gone in just over two minutes. Against Florida it was only 12 seconds.
It was a stoppable shot, but we’ll get into that here in a bit. The defense did not play that particular rush too poorly, they just did not manage to get in front.
There was too much room all around for the Panthers to get into the zone and snap a shot. Most times that does not go in, but on this night it did.
The issue was kind of a conglomeration of bad things. The Blues lost the faceoff, the defenders backed in a little too much and the goal was something that should have been stopped.
It likely is not a habit that will continue the entire year, or at least we hope not. It is disappointing to see the Blues continually let leads slip like this though.
The Blues outshot their opponent.
This one seems like a minimal thing, especially since it did not help the team win. However, simply getting more shots is something they needed to do eventually.
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The Blues will win their fair share of games this season, but they could not expect to keep winning if they were not outshooting or out-chancing their opponents.
It is simply a cruel twist of fate that they lose so badly on a night when they outshot their opposition. That’s the way sports goes.
From a mental standpoint, it was good that the Blues put so many pucks on net though. Roberto Luongo had a pretty good night and the Blues were unfortunate a couple times.
If they can continue the offensive output, they’ll be rewarded in the long run. It just was not going to happen on this particular night.
Jake Allen had a clunker.
Allen is not at fault for this loss. He was just not able to save the team either.
There are plenty of fingers to be pointed if you choose to do so. Allen does not shoulder the blame alone, but he did not have what you would consider a signature game.
Allen made a spectacular save in this contest (though it likely was a goal that was just inconclusive on replay).
He battled throughout the game as well. It just was not his night.
The opening goal of the game is definitely one he would like back. He saw the shot the entire way and it was not a blistering slap shot.
Give Allen another look at it and he probably stops it. It did not seem like he was out of position or overextended, but for whatever reason he could not get to it.
The Snake did not have too much help the rest of the night. A shorthanded breakaway is just unacceptable and the third goal of the night was a deflection that nobody was stopping.
Jake will bounce back and be fine the next time. It was just a little jarring to see him not be able to bail the team out.
Vince Dunn scored his first NHL goal.
Those that take no joy in life will try to make excuses. Some will say it came in garbage time and the Panthers had likely taken their foot off the gas, already up by four goals.
Pure nonsense. The goal might not have factored into the outcome of the game, but it was a fantastic individual effort.
As you can see, Dunn brought the puck into the zone all by himself. He used the screen in the slot to his advantage and roofed it.
This is the type of style the Blues expect from him. Sadly, he is the likely man out once the team gets healthy, but he needed to get some offensive flow going before that happens.
It was a great goal for him and one he likely will not forget. The only thing that would have made the goal any better was if it would have been a game tying score or game-winning.
You can’t take anything away from the effort on the play though.
The refs, by no means, cost the Blues this game. St. Louis just did not have it on this night. The officials definitely did not help matters though.
They called several early penalties on St. Louis. The Blues could not get any rhythm going because they were killing penalties early in the game.
Once it settled into a five-on-five game, St. Louis handled their business in the first period and early part of the second.
The issue, as it has been league wide, is the ridiculous nature of some of these calls. There has been a mandate for more slashing penalties to be called and the refs are more than obliging.
It is just out of hand. Literally a tap on the fingers that would not shoo a fly off someone’s glove is putting players in the box.
The Blues were on both sides of these calls in this game and previous games. It is becoming somewhat of a farce though.
Scottie Upshall was put in the box on another ridiculous faceoff penalty as well. We go from not seeing that called for years and years and now they double down on it.
If this is the way it is going to be called, then stick with it and hopefully players will adjust. If we call it this tight and then in a month or two you get players with broken wrists and no penalties, then the league has just shot itself in the foot with this nonsense.
The Blues managed to kill most of the penalties.
Florida did go 1-5 on the power play, so the Blues were not perfect. However, for the most part, they did not let the man-advantages take over the game.
St. Louis went out, did their job and killed them off. They had another five-on-three against them and did not allow a goal.
The Blues are relying on the penalty kill a little too much, but if it is working then you don’t knock the unit.
In the past, you could say that bad penalties have thrown the Blues off their game. That was not the case here.
They simply used up a little too much energy killing penalties. Their mental shortcomings were of different varieties, not directly related to the penalties themselves.
You want the team to find ways to stay out of the box more, but it is good to see that frustrating penalties are not rattling their confidence.
It is just one bad game.
Until we see more of the same, you can write this one off as one bad game. Sure, we saw some of the things we knew would catch up to the team catch up to them.
The shorthanded chances finally bit them with that breakaway goal. Relying on the goaltender bit them as Allen had an off night.
The penalties added up and the lack of secondary scoring became a bit of an issue as well. It was just one game though.
The Blues really did not play all that terribly. The game could have been much worse and might have even been a little better if a few pucks bounce a different way.
Nobody has ever gone undefeated in the NHL and the Blues were never going to be the first. Even so, you saw some pushback that just was not rewarded with points.
This is not sugar coating a rather embarrassing final score. It is simply pointing out that this game does not feel like a harbinger of bad things to come.
We all knew this sort of performance was in the cards eventually. We were just hoping it would not happen yet. Better in a game against the Eastern Conference than when the Blues face Chicago though.