The St. Louis Blues have hit a rough patch here over the last week or so. All the injuries have really put a spotlight on things the team was not doing well to begin with. That could readily be seen against Anaheim.
The St. Louis Blues played the Anaheim Ducks for the second time this season. It was the second time at home and the second game in just over two weeks.
Unfortunately, neither one ended well for the Blues. The first game was a 3-2 loss with the Blues rallying late.
St. Louis tried a similar tactic this time around, with no more success. It ended a similar scoreline the second time with the Blues falling 3-1.
Again, the Blues did not play an awful game – those have been reasonably rare this season. They did not play well and did not deserve to win either.
The issue the Blues seem to be facing now is not so much injuries in and of themselves. Sure, missing key guys is going to hurt. However, the problem is more the issues the team had all season long are magnified when you don’t have a healthy roster to gloss over some of those things.
It’s up to the players on the ice to figure things out or this could turn into an actual losing streak instead of a couple bad games.
The power play.
Do we really even need to discuss this one anymore? The Blues power play just can’t find any answers and it is being given every chance to do something.
You can make the case they were unlucky. Vladimir Tarasenko hit the post on a power play opportunity and the Blues were good in terms of puck control.
That’s all for nothing though. It’s the same old nonsense every single game.
There is way too much passing and not enough chances created. I don’t care if you have the puck in the zone the entire two minutes. If you’re waiting for perfect opportunities to score, you’re going to come up empty handed.
The Blues seem to worry about being one and done, but at this point at least you’re getting a shot. They pass up more chances than a shy, socially awkward guy.
0-4 just is not good enough. It sounds simplistic, but they just cannot accept the way things are in this department.
Patrik Berglund keeps progressing.
Berglund is never going to be a hit with everyone. His expectations were probably too high when he was first brought in, much like all of that initial class brought together in the mid-2000’s.
He is a good player though and shows it in flashes here or there. He’s always going to have the occasional bad game or game where he is a ghost, but he was pretty decent in this one.
Berglund is getting more comfortable with his teammates and being on the ice more. His goal was not the stuff of highlights, but it was a solid effort that shows you don’t need a lot of flash to hit the back of the net.
The funny thing is the Blues probably pass so much that the Ducks goaltender was not even expecting the shot. That’s why you put stuff on the net.
The lack of execution.
This applies across the board. It’s not just offense, but defense and clearly special teams too.
The penalty kill is the only thing that seems to be improving.
Offensively, the Blues are not getting to the hard areas. They take a lot of perimeter shots and even Mike Yeo said they are not getting in position for any tipped goals.
Defensively, they are fine when they get set up. However, on the breaks, they lose the back side too easily.
There is too much puck watching going on and guys have easy taps on rebounds they shouldn’t even see.
Not to point the finger, but Ivan Barbashev was guilty of this on the second goal.
When his mark goes behind the net, he slacks off for just a second by following the puck. That allowed there to be no contesting that rebound.
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This is where the injuries come in. The guys playing are talented, but might not be communicating properly. They’re also playing in different spots and that can cause issues too.
Jake Allen being hung out to dry.
Poor Snake. Fans that don’t care for him will point to the stat sheet to say how weak he is. Three goals on 18 shots is quite bad and does nothing for some iffy stats.
However, for those that watch the game, they can see the entire picture. Allen didn’t have a great game, but if you’re laying blame, the only one you could pin on him was the third.
The first two goals were unlucky bounces and rebound jam-ins. If the Blues could have cleared, they don’t even happen.
Even the third goal was not on Allen. Once it happened, he was way overextended, I grant that. He was scrambling too far from the crease.
However, if the Blues don’t turn it over at their own blue line, that does not even happen. The defense just is not making crisp decisions and their goaltender is paying the price.
From positive to negative.
It’s funny how a 3-1 loss is actually much worse than a 3-1 loss. You’d think scoring the goal would be a net gain.
Instead, it was a token score that meant nothing. The Blues played with heart and passion against Tampa. There was certainly effort against the Ducks. It was just not a good effort with everyone clicking on all cylinders.
Credit has to go to Anaheim of course. They’ve come into St. Louis twice and made the Blues their [insert word that rhymes with itches].
The Blues keep leaving it too little, too late. Even when healthy, trying to come back is hard work. When you have so many key guys out, you’re handing out extra ice time like candy on Halloweeen. Sometimes too much is bad for you, even with good players.
So far, I still don’t see enough to be worried about. The main issue is their problems are not going to go away.
I can no longer see any way back for this power play. We have to realize they’re awful and hope it doesn’t haunt them in the playoffs.
Other than that, it was mainly another loss. No real lack of effort, but not enough energy and drive. Hopefully they find some of that against Winnipeg this weekend.