St. Louis Blues: Pros And Cons From Game 48 Against Ottawa

OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 18: Tage Thompson
OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 18: Tage Thompson /
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The St. Louis Blues still can’t seem to manage to play a full 60 minutes. Fortunately, more often than not, they are good enough in those other minutes to get the job done.

The St. Louis Blues seem to be making a habit of coming out of the gates slowly. They are fortunate more teams have not made them pay for such a tactic, whether real or imagined.

That very thing happened again as they made their way east from Toronto and played in Canada’s capital of Ottawa. The Blues had a very slow, methodical first period against the Sens. You do have to give credit to Ottawa for making the game slow down, but it was a very boring period to watch.

Additionally, it is disappointing to see the team’s offense take so long to get their wheels rolling. The Blues offense reminds me of a steam locomotive, where the wheels spin and spin before it actually finally moves.

It took St. Louis until the middle of the first period to get their second shot on goal. They were creating chances, and robbed by a post, but you have to be putting pucks on net to score.

Thankfully, the Blues are a good enough team that their best, for however long they show it, is good enough. It just remains odd how it manifests itself.

The best the Blues looked all night was in the mid to late stages of the third period. They were dominating play and keeping possession in the attacking zone, yet they did not score.

Most of the goals somewhat came from nowhere. Nevertheless, no need to look a gift horse in the mouth. The Blues won, deserved to win and did plenty right.

Pros:

The Blues scored first.

Statistically, it’s been hit or miss whether the Blues score first or not. It all seems to even out. In terms of how it is perceived, it seems like they have been playing catchup more often than not.

As the team has turned things back around, they seem to be striking first more often. That’s what they did in Ottawa.

On top of scoring the first goal, they scored by going to the flippin’ net again. Maybe, just maybe, they are starting to learn their lesson?

We won’t hold our breath, but at least the team is getting dirty goals. This one was dirty and skillful all in one.

You don’t normally think of Vladimir Tarasenko as the man to go to the front of the net, but he was rewarded here. His deflection really pumped him and the team up.

Tarasenko now has five goals in his last nine games. Additionally, this kind of goal can show him and the rest of the team that they don’t all have to be pretty.

When one of the league’s best shots gets a tip drill goal, that is proof that they all count.

Cons:

The power play continues to be disgustingly bad.

We have come to expect the team will not score on the power play. They have given fans no reason to ever believe they will, other than a fluke.

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However, the five on three man advantage shines a light brighter than the sun on all the issues. As Darren Pang said, there was way too much “dusting the puck off”.

At this point, I’m not even sure it is indecisiveness. The Blues might actually just not know what to do with the puck. They want to constantly set up the perfect play, which never materializes.

St. Louis is not 0-7 the entire season with a two-man advantage on the power play – five on threes only, not counting six on fours, etc.

That is horrendous. I would imagine the shot totals are likely in the single digits as well.

They pass and pass and pass and then pass some more. It has driven even the most sane of us to scream shoot at the screen.

Pros:

Brayden Schenn finally got back to scoring.

I mentioned on Twitter that it felt like forever, but did not know how right that was. After starting out so hot, Schenn had not scored since December 20 – almost a full month. In perspective, that was 12 games ago.

Like Tarasenko’s goal, it won’t go on his personal highlight reel for this season or his career. Likely it should have been stopped, but the five-hole was far too open.

It was just the goal Schenn needed though. He bulled his way to the front of the net and just backhanded one on goal and good things happened. Again, maybe it should have been stopped, as it seemed like a pass was more likely. However, they all count and that was Schenn’s reward for driving hard to the net.

Cons:

The slow starts are going to catch up.

There is nothing worse on this team than the power play. However, the slow starts are almost as frustrating.

As fans, we often forget there is another team out there with a game plan, trying their best to shut things down for their opponent. The Blues do not operate in a vacuum.

That said, the team seems to play up or down to the level of their opponent. Put them up against Cup contending teams and they thrive. Place them against the bottom feeders and they struggle.

Ottawa has some very talented players on their team and cannot be overlooked. However, the Blues should be the better team, considering that the Senators are second from last in the Eastern Conference.

Despite that, the Blues barely got any shots on goal in the first. As mentioned, they sort of spun their wheels before gaining any real traction. They were fortunate not to have been scored on by the time they took the lead.

Pros:

An empty net goal and a win.

We can piss and moan until the cows come home. The bottom line, when you clear away the rubble, is the Blues won the game and deserved to considering the bulk of their play.

On top of that, they actually scored into an empty net, which has been a rarity over the last few years.

Much like their power play, the Blues almost blew it after having so many passes again. Why this team feels the need to attempt such unselfishness is insane sometimes.

Overall Thoughts:

Winning on the road is what good teams do.

Sometimes we forget how difficult winning on the road can be. Say what you will about the quality of Toronto or Ottawa, but it is not easy to win in those buildings at times.

Next: Allen Is No. 1, But Blues Should Ride Hutton

The Blues have seen a few rough times, entering this trip at 11-8-3 on the road. Improving to 13 wins on the road is a feat.

There were issues, as there are with this team every game. The more this squad starts overcoming those issues, as they did at the start of the year, the better off they’ll be and the more accustomed to winning we will get again.