The St. Louis Blues were quite slow out of the gate against Dallas, giving fans some pause. However, by the final buzzer they were in clear control.
The St. Louis Blues don’t always make it easy on themselves. However, when they are at their best, they can win in spite of themselves. They were very close to their best against the Dallas Stars.
For whatever reason, the Stars were somewhat out of control in their second trip to the Scottrade Center. Perhaps Ken Hitchcock had them too amped up.
Whatever the reason, they gave the Blues a lot of power plays. The odd thing was many of the penalties taken were not even hustle plays. More often, they were just frustration moves of bone-headed penalties.
St. Louis was gifted seven power plays by the Stars. It was not the referees handing out penalties either – it was Dallas clearly taking them.
Still, despite the relative dominance in most aspects of the game, St. Louis was never in firm control until the end of the game. Nevertheless, it was a win.
The St. Louis Blues power play.
The Blues actually scored both of their goals coming in regular play on the power play. It has not really been this rare, but it feels like the first time they’ve scored two meaningful power play goals in forever.
The first one was another Brayden Schenn goal, giving him 14 for the season. There is still time for him to fall off, but right now all those Philly fans complaining about streakyness aren’t looking so smart.
The second goal was even better, from the perspective of giving confidence. Colton Parayko actually unleashed a one-time slap shot and scored. It is something we keep wishing he will do more of and he was rewarded for it.
The power play.
As great as it is they scored twice, they had seven power plays. They also had a lengthy five-on-three advantage.
If a team is going to give you that many opportunities, you have to bury them. We’ve continually said this year after year, no matter who the coach is. Even so, we circle back to the same issues.
The Blues pass way to much, especially up by two men. It’s almost as though nobody wants to take the responsibility of shooting, as though they’d be seen as selfish.
In recent games, the puck possession has been very good. The Blues have had plenty of zone time. However, that’s all for nothing if you aren’t scoring.
Again, two goals is great. You have to get three or four though, if a team is going to be that undisciplined.
Vladimir Tarasenko scored.
It’s an empty net goal. He seemed almost ashamed to put it in and/or celebrate it. They all count the same though.
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Vlady had not scored in six games. As streaky as he can be, that is a lengthy period.
He did have three points in his last five games, but assists only count for so much. The Blues need him scoring.
Even if it’s a “cheap” goal, sometimes you need the little tap-ins to get you loose and going again.
The Blues lost the shots and faceoffs.
St. Louis seems to be feast or famine in the faceoff circle. They won their fair share of draws in a game with a lot of stoppages. Still, losing the faceoff battle again is not becoming of a top-tier team.
The shots can be looked at different ways. Yes, Dallas had more, but as has happened to the Blues, many of the shots came from innocent areas. The Blues defenders did a good job, for the most part, of keeping the dangerous chances away.
The disappointing thing about losing the shot battle is that Dallas did not get their first shot on goal until there was about six minutes left in the first period. That means, the defense slacked off enough to let Dallas have plenty of chances through the next two periods.
Overall, this is very nitpicky. 29 shots against is something your defense would be proud of most nights.
Jake Allen got the shutout and moved up the all-time wins list.
As alluded to, Allen did not have a crazy, busy night. His first period was very dull and then Dallas came alive toward the end.
Anyone that has played goal knows that you want that shutout, no matter how it comes about. Just as you want from your goaltender, he turned away the easy ones and made a couple good ones right when they needed it.
Surprisingly, this is the team’s first shutout of the season. The last time they had one was back in March.
Additionally, Allen is already tied for fourth on the team’s all-time win list. He now has 104 wins and will surely take sole possession of third, as Grant Fuhr had 108. Second is not out of the question, but we’ll worry about that down the line.
A good follow-up performance after Montreal.
Montreal was by no means a perfect game. The Blues managed to win though, mainly due to pure effort.
St. Louis did not need as much effort poured into this one. Even so, their talent shined through from beginning to end.
Perhaps that’s what the Blues fail to realize now and then. They don’t have to pour their guts into every single shift as though it’s a playoff game. When you come out with good, up-tempo energy though, they are difficult to deal with as the Stars found out.
I am not a Hitch hater at all, like so many of my fellow fans. Even so, once they leave, it is always nice to pick up a win at either a former coach or player’s expense.
Even better, the Blues vaulted back to the top of the division and gave themselves cushion over Dallas, who had been surging.
Now, let’s see what they can do in an afternoon start against Detroit. St. Louis doesn’t always fare well in early games.