St. Louis Blues: Pros And Cons From Game 34 Against Winnipeg

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 16: Bryan Little
ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 16: Bryan Little /

The St. Louis Blues certainly have a way of doing things. They don’t seem to want to make life easy for themselves, but in the end the result is what was needed against Winnipeg.

The St. Louis Blues put very few doubts to rest about how much better they are then Winnipeg, the team chasing them in the Central Division. However, when the final horn sounded, the Blues got the result they needed.

The problem St. Louis faced was not that they played poorly overall. They allowed Winnipeg to gain way too much momentum however.

The Blues got outshot quite badly for much of the game. If not for a standout performance in net, the Blues would have been much less likely to get the victory.

Some of it also has to do with the home atmosphere. If the Blues play like that in the return game in Winnipeg, the final scoreline might not be as favorable.

For now, the Blues got the win and we should be pleased enough with that.


Carter Hutton was Superman in his shutout bid.

Jake Allen is the team’s starter and the better goaltender overall. However, it’s hard to argue against the Hutton supporters when he has nights like last night.

Hutton absolutely shut down the Jets. He also set a team record in the process.

Hutton’s 48 saves were the most ever by any Blues goaltender in a shutout. Considering some of the great goaltenders the team has had, that’s an impressive feat.

Very few of the saves were highlight reel stuff. However, more impressive overall was his focus and positioning.

Coming back from injury, sometimes you pick up some rust. Instead, Hutton picked up right where he left off and led the team to this win.


The defense allowing 48 shots.

It’s one thing to praise your goaltender for making all those saves. However, the realist in us all has to wonder what the heck was going on to allow all those shots.

The Blues blocked 12 shots too, so the overall total could have been much worse.

St. Louis has a little bit of an excuse as they’ve been hit by injury along the blue line. However, the players they still have are not pushovers and need to be providing more resistance to opposing offenses than this.


The Blues power play.

St. Louis got two power play goals. The first goal was for Vladimir Tarasenko. It was nothing special, but a solid rebound goal. It did get him off a power play drought though.

The second goal was more proof that the guys have to keep shooting. Vince Dunn just fired a strong wrist shot from the point and scored.

It was not the hardest shot you’ll ever see. It got the job done though and, overall, so did the team’s power play.


The power play’s creativity.

We had a discussion at my full-time job about the team’s power play and my co-worker talked about how the powerplay is way too predictable. You could see it on the Tarasenko goal they scored.

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The Blues continually run the same couple plays, with this one setting up Parayko at the point and trying to go circle to circle. It worked in this instance, but not really because the play worked.

It worked because the Blues actually took a shot and got the rebound. That’s more luck than pure skill.

Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good, but you’d like to know these things you practice are actually valuable.

The Blues do need to keep things simple with their special teams. However, running the same thing over and over and expecting new results is foolish. The rest of the league has too much of an idea how to defend the Blues’ PP.


The penalty kill.

St. Louis did a good job of keeping the Jets off the board when they were up by a man. Winnipeg had four power plays overall and clearly did not score on any of them.

For whatever reason, the team’s power play has been on a roller coaster of late. Still, the PK unit seems to have found their groove even with all the injuries.

They had solid positioning and were quick to clear pucks when they had the chance. Obviously, Hutton was the best penalty killer, but the units in front of him got the job done too.


Taking so many penalties.

When you look at the stat sheet and see the Jets only having four power plays, it seems like that’s not too many. There was a stretch here and there that felt like the Blues were in the box all the time.

Making matters worse, the Blues gave the Jets a power play almost right after they took the lead. If the Jets had scored on that, you give up all momentum and maybe this game turns completely in their favor.

If you’re bleeding shots like a prisoner shanked in his cell, then giving your opponent extra looks on goal is just not smart hockey. The Blues got away with it, but you have to find ways to stay out of the box and not let the officials have any influence.

Overall Thoughts:

A win is a win.

There was plenty to give you pause about this game. However, when you’ve given up six goals in two losses and almost got shutout in each game too, you take the W any way it comes.

Next: Blues As Last Jedi Characters

As mentioned in the opening, if the Blues play the same way in Winnipeg, the result is likely not to end in their favor. However, due to Hutton and an effort that was good enough on this night, they got the win.

With the Nashville Predators playing out of their minds, every point counts. Getting both points against the team right behind you will prove important.