The St. Louis Blues had every reason not to win against the Arizona Coyotes except the fact the Blues were the better team on paper. They almost needed all those excuses, but turned things around eventually.
The St. Louis Blues are making a habit out of needing rallys or comebacks, if you will, against teams they should not need them against. Though the New Jersey Devils have been hot, the Blues were still better. They did not show it until late. The same can be said of the game against Arizona.
The Blues were clearly the superior team based on record. The teams had almost literally opposite records coming in with the Blues at 12-3-1 and Arizona at 2-13-2.
It had all the makings of a trap game though, if you believe in those sorts of things. The Blues were playing a team, in theory, they should have no trouble against – something the Blues have historically struggled with.
St. Louis was coming off the road, having just played in New Jersey. Typically, longer trips affect them more, but the Blues do have a tendency to let their foot off the gas that first time back home.
At the start of this one, it looked like they were going to be discussing all those issues.
St. Louis, for the second game in a row, failed to get a shot on goal in the first handful of minutes. They allowed their opponent to gain way too much momentum at the start instead of snuffing the candle right after it was lit.
It was just an off performance. In the end, the team course corrected and ended up getting the job done.
The power play whiffs again.
We are getting to the point where I could copy and paste this every single game. It’s like a broken record that we keep hoping will get through our favorite song without a major skip.
They can get all the puck possession or improve their faceoffs or whatever. If you are not getting a finishing product on the power play, it is just not good enough.
The Blues had three man advantages and really did not come close to scoring on any of them. There were chances here or there, including a few good ones. In the grand scheme, it just is not good enough and this might be one of the things that brings the team down in the playoffs if they cannot correct it.
The defensemen continue to shine.
It has been an unbelievable season for the blue liners and continued in this game. Guys are not afraid to let loose from anywhere on the ice and that has been productive.
We can argue how sustainable this is, but as long as we are getting it we should not worry about when it will dry up.
The Blues spent the entire second period in the penalty box.
Ok, OK. That last statement is extreme hyperbole. It just felt like they spent the entire period in the box.
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The Blues actually only gave up three power plays to the Coyotes. They only allowed the one goal as well.
Still, they just kept taking penalty after penalty. Even if you agree with the calls the officials made, the time in between calls was not enough for the team to get any kind of rhythm.
Clearly, it was not the pure number of penalties. Going in the box without taking an opponent with you three times is not abnormal for the NHL. The closeness of each penalty really took the Blues five-on-five play, which is their bread and butter, out of whack.
Carter Hutton started off mediocre, but saved the day.
Carter the Hutt was not his spectacular self for the bulk of this contest. He got the last laugh though.
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Hutton did not play poorly by any stretch of the imagination. He was just there for most of the game.
He made some saves, but could not put a big impact on the contest like he had become known for. That was until the very end.
The Blues defenders and forwards were gassed by the time they got to overtime. They had some poor line changes that led to some clear breakaways. That was the Hutt’s time to shine.
Hutton came up big again with two stops in the shootout as well. He was quite deserving of one of the top three stars of the night.
This was not a good performance by the Blues but they managed to win.
In the past, these were the sorts of games the Blues would let slip away. It almost happened anyway.
In the past, that breakaway Hutton stops squeaks by. Previous years, we would be saying the team got a point, which was more than they deserved.
Instead, the Blues got two points and their 13th win of the season. You can argue how much they deserved to win given their quality over 60 minutes, but they did enough in the key moments to pick up a W.
That’s what we all forget at times. Since the Blues have never won it all, we have this delusion that teams that win championships are dominant every single night.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. A lot of good fortune goes into winning and the Blues are making the most out of every fortunate situation they get.
If the Blues are as good as we hope, they should have mopped the floor with Arizona. It should have been over with in the first period.
However, as the saying goes, everyone has a game plan until they get hit in the mouth. The Blues bounced back after Arizona took the game by the scruff.
St. Louis found a way to get it done. Not every win will be pretty and this one was not. At the end of the year, they all count the same.