The St. Louis got a lot of firsts out of the way in their game against the Vegas Golden Knights. Getting those first points was the thing the Blues wanted the most though.
The St. Louis Blues got a lot of things out of the way last night. They played their first ever game against the Vegas Golden Knights, the first game in Las Vegas and scored their first ever goal against the Golden Knights.
Now, we must all wait until that trivia question comes up some time down the road. Everyone remember that Magnus Paajarvi scored the Blues first goal against Vegas and we’ll be rich…rich I tell you ahahahhahahaha…*ahem* my apologies.
Anyway, the Blues came out and appeared to be the superior team winning the shot battle in the first period. However, despite the visual dominance, you did not get that sense that St. Louis had this thing in the bag.
The power play continues to struggle.
The Blues had plenty of opportunities on their power plays, but still found it hard to get that puck in the back of the net.
It really does not make sense how this team has changed. They never had a great powerplay in 2016-17, but it was not bad.
St. Louis needed to make their five-on-five play better and they have. They currently have the best 5v5 goal differential in the league.
So, how is it that a team that can score when things are even struggles so much with a man advantage? There are style differences, but the mentality should be the same and the Blues seem to approach their power play with a completely different view.
The Blues have not scored a power play goal in four games and even then it was almost a fluke. The percentages are not good, but really don’t show how bad this unit has been overall.
The third line finally produces.
You could try to rely on technicalities, depending on roster changes and line changes within games. However, this was the first real goal of the season for the team’s third line.
In the end, it does not even matter other than the aforementioned trivia question. The Blues simply needed some production from whoever was on that line.
Nobody is expecting the Blues third line to be a huge performer. You cannot go eight games without even a point though. You have to at least present some sort of threat to opposing teams.
One goal might not change opponent’s minds about who is defending the third line, but it at least makes them think a second. Hopefully there will be more now that the ice is broken.
The Blues penalty kill.
While the team has done a good job of killing penalties overall (they entered the game in the mid 80%), they are not getting the job done enough. St. Louis has allowed a power play goal against in every game except one – the New York Islanders went 0/6.
The PK unit is not playing badly. They just seem to have mental lapses at the wrong time. Often times it is a failure to be strong on the puck and clear it out when given an opportunity.
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The first goal was a bit of a fluke. It took a bad bounce on the way through. The second goal was a double screen with a St. Louis and Vegas player keeping Jake Allen from seeing the puck well enough.
The Blues either need to figure out how to stay out of the box or keep teams from scoring on their man advantages more often.
The Blues continue to look like a team on a different ice surface.
A reoccurring theme with St. Louis is looking foolish with the puck when they are not on their game. Playing poorly is one thing, but the Blues honestly look like they are playing on a completely different ice surface.
Just like the game against Tampa Bay, Vegas looked fine out there. The Blues looked like they were on the worst ice surface possible.
Passes were thrown that never had enough gas to get there. Zone entries just fluttered around the blue line instead of being smashed in there. Shots were easily blocked.
It is one thing to have an off game, but the Blues just make themselves look bad in so many scenarios. Sundqvist looked like a flower floating in the breeze on one of his third period faceoff attempts.
It’s just discouraging to see a team click on all cylinders and then look silly.
The team kept grinding.
While the third period was somewhat embarrassing on some levels, you have to admire the sticktoitiveness, as Panger would say. The goal to tie the game at two was a prime example.
Tarasenko did not get a point on the play, but he was a big reason the goal went in. It shows that he wants to get the job done and help the team even if it doesn’t involve him scoring.
Officiating continues to be bad.
This is getting to be like saying water is wet. The NHL refs continue to have absolutely no consistency from game to game. I’d rather put my money on a strike zone actually making sense.
It has benefited the Blues and hurt them too. Yes, it all evens out for the most part, but it is just ridiculous.
While I am in the minority, I was not offended by the no goal call on video review. You could not see the puck and that is part of the rule. The Blues have benefited from that about a week ago on an Allen save where the glove was over the line.
The upsetting part was the no calls on two stone-cold trips in the overtime period. Who knows if the Blues score, given their awful power play, but at least you give them a chance.
These are the sorts of things that make fans worry about the slashing calls. That is a trip earlier in the game but the officials lose their balls in the overtime period because they don’t want to influence the outcome.
So, come playoff time you’re likely to see broken wrists because the officials conveniently forget they were told to call all these weak slashes we are seeing now.
Vegas winning is fine.
Given how everything played out, Vegas deserved to win. They were the better team in the second and most of the third period.
The Blues had a ton of shots, but too many were from the outside and the team could not get to rebounds. Vegas had far fewer chances, but they shot the puck on their power play. The Blues did not.
St. Louis’ special teams are just awful right now. Something has to change. There is enough talent and the staff should be good enough to figure it out.
It is one game. We move on and look forward to Calgary on Wednesday. It just would have been nice to get the extra point.