The St. Louis Blues went into their brief Thanksgiving break with pep in their step. They came out of the break looking like they were still in a turkey-induced food coma.
The St. Louis Blues had high hopes of ending November with a bang after destroying the Edmonton Oilers 8-3 prior to the Thanksgiving break. The team came out of the break looking like the tryptophan still had a hold of them from the previous night’s festivities.
The Blues did not have the best of first periods and that was basically all the difference. St. Louis was unable to find their game enough to really make the difference in this one.
St. Louis has had other games where things did not go quite right. This was one of those games that things did not go right, but did not go wrong either.
As we always seem to say, there did not seem to be much to worry about for the next game. However, you can’t tell that for sure until you see things either corrected or go wrong again. We shall see.
The Blues were still asleep in the first period.
St. Louis did not play a bad game. They did not play a bad period either. It was just very lethargic and that was all Nashville needed.
If you don’t want to blame the holiday (since both teams celebrated it), then the Blues came out with the wrong mentality.
If you want to compare it to boxing or soccer, the Blues seemed to think there would be a feeling out period. Instead, Nashville came out quick and took it to St. Louis. They scored less than three minutes into the game.
Nashville also got away with a penalty that freed up some ice while Colton Parayko went searching for a stick in the corner. Still, the Blues just did not come out with enough jump.
Carter Hutton played well.
Hutts, as they call him, ended up with a .963 save percentage and 26 saves. Most nights you would take that in a heartbeat.
Unfortunately on this night, Hutton’s play was not rewarded. There was nothing he could do about the goal and he is not paid to score goals either.
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Still, he did his job. Hutton gave his team an opportunity to win the game by the end and that’s all you can ask of your goaltender.
St. Louis could not hit the broad side of a barn.
The first period was just poor overall. The Blues only had six total shots on goal.
The problem is even when they did get shots, they were missing several key chances. The Blues had 13 and 15 shots in the second and third periods, but they missed a lot too.
St. Louis was 0-3 on the power play as well and much of that was due to missing the blasted net. While their zone time was slightly limited with missed faceoffs, they had chances. Some of the chances were close to wide open too and they would clang it off the glass.
The Blues have a habit of cutting the shot too finely and that was the case in this game.
The St. Louis Blues were the better team for 2/3 of the game.
The Blues outshot Nashville both overall and in the last two periods. St. Louis blocked shots and were on par with the Nashville hits too.
The Blues really had a good run of the play for much of the second and third periods. It was just an inability to take advantage of their power plays and puck possession.
Mike Yeo even said after the game, when you give up only one goal at home, you’ll win those nine times out of 10. This was just that one time.
Despite their grasp of the game, the Blues could not get the job done.
Blame the defenders at the start of the game for being a little flat footed. Blame the scorers for missing the net or missing out on key offensive plays.
You can blame whomever you want, but that does not change the fact. The Blues were the better team for the bulk of the game and lost.
That is always disappointing, especially when you have a chance to keep a large gap between you and a divisional rival.
The Blues just could not find that final combination for whatever reason. We have grown so accustomed to them getting that one player to step forward in the big moment that when it does not happen, we are left puzzled.
There were too many things working against the Blues.
There were a lot of things going against St. Louis in this one. They had a chance throughout, but you never got the sense they would score.
The Blues put on pressure. They could not find that finishing touch.
The Blues had power plays. They were ineffective and still allowed odd-man rushes the other way.
St. Louis’ third line was inept at best. Magnus Paajarvi had less ice time than Chris Thorburn to put things into perspective.
Still, looking at the silver lining, the Blues still have chances to win when they are not at their best. Perhaps that is what has been so encouraging about this squad.
We’ve seen flat games and bad games and with an exception or two, the Blues usually could still win most of the games they haven’t. If you give yourself a chance every night, then you at least put pressure on your opponent to hold on.
St. Louis just did not have that magic in them on this night.