St. Louis Blues: Pros And Cons From Game 53 Against Boston

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 01: Boston Bruins center David Backes (42) fans on a shot with St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen (34) down on the ice during a game between the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues on February 1, 2018, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeated the Blues 3-1. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 01: Boston Bruins center David Backes (42) fans on a shot with St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen (34) down on the ice during a game between the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues on February 1, 2018, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeated the Blues 3-1. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The St. Louis Blues had a good winning streak going as they entered Boston. It came back to Earth in one game, rather quickly.

The St. Louis Blues were riding high on a six-game winning streak as they came into Boston. As noted in our pregame news and notes, Boston was hot too having gone 7-1-2 in their last 10. Something had to give.

Unfortunately, the Bruins were not in a giving mood. One of the league’s stingiest defenses proved to be just that as they barely allowed the Blues even an inch for most of the game.

Some of that has to rest on the Blues shoulders. Though their offense was not as statistically anemic, they really were not troubling the goaltender.

St. Louis was credited with 14 shots in the first period. According to the radio broadcast, only three of those shots came from the faceoff circles or closer. Basically, all the shots were from long range and that’s difficult to beat today’s goalies like that.

The Blues offense just never really got going. The defense was allowing too much sustained pressure as well.

St. Louis’ goaltender was under duress for the entire second period. The lack of offensive help to back him up is becoming a great concern as well.


Jake Allen played really well.

Haters be damned, the Snake was in form. There were a few moments here or there that might have given some fans pause, but for the most part Allen played very well.

He stopped 43 of 45 shots. I don’t care what you think about him personally, if any goaltender makes 43 saves they deserve better than Allen got.

We saw the old Snake again too. He was solid in his positioning. He was confident enough to play the shooter and wise enough to know when to lay back for a pass. Allen was quick too.

More importantly, Allen looked calm even when forced to scramble. That’s a big change from the body language we’d see when he was deep in his struggles.

If the Blues get goaltending from Allen like that, they will win most nights.


St. Louis got hosed on the first goal.

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Now I know there will be a split, depending on people’s preconceived notions. Some will blame Allen because that’s just what their brain is conditioned to do. They’ll foolishly say he should have controlled the rebound on the initial shot and then there is no scramble.

That’s nonsense. People that think every shot can be controlled need to get their head screwed on straight.

Then there will be those that think it’s just sour grapes. They’ll say it’s just typical Blues fans blaming the officials for their woes.

The reality is that if this was a goal, then the Blues have been screwed quite royally in the past.

Some people said that part of the problem was Allen not attempting to get back. There were two players in his way. What is he supposed to do? You can’t really lunge over them without risking your own safety, even with all that padding.

Secondly, whether the player intended to interfere should be irrelevant. The last replay in the video above showed it the best. The sweeping movement of the downed Bruin took Allen with him. That removes all possibility for further saves/action by the goaltender and should have nullified the goal.

Instead, the NHL keeps these decisions in the officials hands and refs do not want to admit they were wrong. The NFL has replay officials and MLB has a centralized office to look at these things. These decisions need to be taken out of the referee’s hands.

As Chris Kerber put it, even if you disagree with the decisions at least you’d have a more consistent reality as to what would be called. That same play might be ruled as no goal with a different officiating crew. The Blues were unfortunate enough to get the one that wanted to protect their own call instead of the game itself.


Jaden Schwartz finally scored.

Finally seems like a harsh word given this was only his third game back from injury. However, the Blues need him to be in form and producing.

From a team perspective, it was too little, too late. That does not mean the effort should not be appreciated.

The composure and coordination it took to deflect this in is amazing. The initial pass from the right boards got tipped in the slot. Schwartz still managed to find it, get a stick on it and direct it into the goal.

He’s scored flashier goals and more important goals. This one is still important and hopefully sparks him on a good run of scoring going forward.


The Blues offense became stagnant again.

Statistically, you can’t fault the effort. The Blues had 33 shots on goal, which is a good output on most nights.

They just were not getting those shots from prime real estate. Too many shots came from distance or sharp angles. St. Louis was not doing a good enough job of forcing things in tight and creating rebounds.

It’s hard to beat any goaltender that way, but Tuukka Rask has been playing exceptionally well lately. That makes things even tougher.

Additionally, the Blues just can’t perform for Allen for whatever reason. I’ve seen talk online that they don’t feel the freedom to play offense with him in goal for fear he’ll give up a weak goal. That’s utter BS. You don’t allow 45 shots against if you’re too worried about defending for fear of weak goals.

St. Louis just is not getting the job done. They are averaging 1.5 goals in support in Allen’s last 10 games. That is awful.

St. Louis is a big baseball town. That’s like having a pitcher that might have Cy Young caliber stuff, but the offense giving him one run of support each time out. You’re not going to get shutouts each night, so you have to produce some offense.

One goal that comes with under two minutes to go is just not going to cut it.

Overall Thoughts

I’m a regular Nostradamus.

As a fan, I hate ever predicting something bad for my team. I felt this one was going to shake out just this way though.

Boston was too good defensively and even though they won, the Blues offense did not look great. I even called out a 3-1 score if the Bruins were to win.

I’d rather have been wrong though.

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The thing is that the Blues didn’t play a terrible game. They had their spurts and kept the game close long enough to give themselves a chance.

When playing the really good teams, though, you can’t leave it until that late. Boston deserves a lot of credit for making the Blues so ineffective, but St. Louis has to find ways to break through if they want to be considered one of the elites.