St. Louis Blues: Pros And Cons From Game 50 Against Ottawa

ST. LOUIS, MO - JANUARY 23: Vladimir Sobotka
ST. LOUIS, MO - JANUARY 23: Vladimir Sobotka /

The St. Louis Blues had a lot to do to make people forget their previous game. They did not do it all, but they got somewhat close with a good comeback performance.

When the St. Louis Blues finished their game on Saturday against Arizona, things looked about as bleak as you can get after one game. The Blues left such a sour taste in the mouth that many wondered if it signaled something far more sinister.

When the final horn sounded on their next game, against Ottawa, there was a much fresher taste. It might not have totally cleansed the pallet, but it went a long way.

The Blues had a decent first period. They came out with a good jump, though they could not jump on the Senators in the early going.

Even so, the Blues played well enough defensively to get the job done. They did not allow double digit shots in any period and only allowed 25 shots overall.

Offensively, they were getting pucks to the net better than the last time out as well. The Blues averaged about 14 shots per period, for a total of 41.

The Blues finally got a goal late in the first period. It almost seemed as though that one goal would need to hold the entire game, which it would have. The Blues finally got some late scores with two goals coming in the third period.

It was far from a perfect game. It was the kind of result you’d hope for and, under normal circumstances, expect given the opponent.

Still, you can take nothing for granted, so it was good to see.


Vladimir Sobotka had a really good game.

Sobotka may not be the offensive weapon some might have been hoping for, but he’s still putting up decent numbers for him. He now has nine goals, which ties him for his NHL career high with almost half a season to go, after scoring the initial goal of the game.

Whether or not he hits a career high in points is up to him, but goals is almost a certainty. It was not just his offense that sparkled in this one though.

He was 100% in the faceoff circle, blocked two shots and was tied for the team lead in hits with three. As you can see in the featured picture, he was playing a physical game.

It felt like he had more hits as well, but official checks and blocks are sometimes something of a mystery.


The Blues were a little slow again.

This one is a little nit-picky, but it is just something that bothers me. If you tell someone the final score, there seems to be nothing wrong. You get three goals and a shutout, what could be the matter?

The Blues scored the first goal of the game, but as was the case a couple times, the goaltender likely should have stopped it. So, if not for some good fortune, this game stays scoreless into the third.

Even having the lead and getting pucks to the net, the team was not creating enough second chances. A lot of their shots were one and done, which has become a problem for at least a couple months.

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The Blues managed to win in spite of that because their opponent is in a bad swoon right now. If you don’t get rebounds, created second chances or generate sustained pressure consistently, better teams will not be so kind.


Vladimir Tarasenko continued his hot streak.

Love him or not, it should be said that Tarasenko is a very streaky player. Fortunately, he’s on one of his hot streaks right now.

By scoring the insurance goal six minutes into the third period, he continues to put up points in January. Tarasenko now has four goals and five points in his last six games.

He’s up to 21 goals for the season as well, which should guarantee him another 30 goal season. We’d love for 40 or even 50, but might need to be a little more realistic.

On top of simply scoring a goal, Tarasenko scored it on a slap shot as well.

Again, Craig Anderson should have had this one. It was a bad goal to give up considering how long the shot was and that there was not much of a screen.

Still, credit to Tarasenko for firing it right away. He’s not known for his one-time shots, so that may have fooled Anderson too. Also, the wherewithal to fire it back in there immediately after jumping on the ice is the mark of a confident player.


Jay Bouwmeester was the team’s most physical defender.

The announcers can say what they want about Robert Bortuzzo being one of the toughest guys on the team, but the entire corps of defenders for St. Louis are not physical enough. Even by today’s standards, where physicality is frowned upon, they seem weak.

This is not a knock on Bouwmeester himself, but shining a light on the rest. Bouwmeester led all defenders in checks with two. Colton Parayko had one and no other defender had any.

Again, we’ve highlighted that it can be confusing as to what is actually a check, but the numbers are still staggering. No, this not the 90’s where you could line people up and ram them into the boards, but c’mon.

Nobody is asking any of these guys to be the second coming of Scott Stevens, but only three hits for the entire defensive corps?


Brayden Schenn continues to be more than hoped for.

The goal itself is nothing fantastic. It was an empty net goal from just outside the blue line, though those are rare enough for the Blues.

Schenn continues to be a superb addition to this team though. His goal and an assist on Sobotka’s goal give him 20 goals and 49 points in 50 games this season.

If he keeps up his current pace, Schenn could be the first Blues player with 80 or more points since Pavol Demitra had 93 in 2002-03.

Even if he does not make that mark, he seems almost a lock to set career numbers for points and maybe goals. That’s more than worth the price unless Philadelphia uses the draft pick to find a future Hall of Famer.

Overall Thoughts:

Not great, but definitely good enough.

It does have to be said that it would have been almost impossible to completely alleviate all worries brought up from Arizona and over the last month or two. The Blues did a decent enough job.

Ottawa is not a great team this year and the Blues did not have a perfect game. They beat the team in front of them and kept their mistakes to a minimum though, which is all you can ask.

Next: The Blues Needed To Return Upshall To The Lineup

Carter Hutton got a shutout. Those are hard to come by even if Ottawa was not given many chances. That marks his 10th career shutout.

The win also helped the Blues in the standings. They kept pace with Winnipeg, who won. They also stayed ahead of Dallas, who also won. St. Louis is now within two points of Nashville, who lost and widened their lead over Colorado to five points since the Avs also lost.