The St. Louis Blues had plenty to prove after their travesty against Minnesota. One game won’t go all the way, but their performance against Colorado went a long way.
If we are real with ourselves, we can’t get too high about the St. Louis Blues performance against Colorado just the same as we should not get too low about the Minnesota game. It’s extremely hard not to on either side though.
The Blues came out and did everything they needed to do before they even scored a goal. Brayden Schenn orchestrated a fight right off the puck drop and that got the fans into the game. Though the shots and scoring did not come much in the first period, there was a lot of energy in the Blues’ game.
There was a little to fret over. Once Schenn made the game 1-0, St. Louis looked like they might take their foot off the gas. Colorado had several good chances on goal and it seemed as though we’d have another tied game relatively fast.
To compound the slight fears, the Avalanche did tie the game early in the second period. Making matters worse, the Blues could have easily cleared the zone and instead gave the puck up to end up in a breakaway goal.
However, those same old Blues did not show up. St. Louis actually found some resilience and fought their way back into the contest.
They unleashed their offense, capitalizing on a bad goal for Jonathan Bernier and scored four goals in the period.
The seemingly rudderless Blues got supreme leadership from Brayden Schenn.
Just when it looked like the Blues had no leaders in the locker room, Schenn told everyone to get on his back and he carried the team.
There are lots of things that can go wrong with a predetermined fight, especially when you’re not a fighter. You can get hurt, you can bang up your hands or if something truly extraordinary happened, you could get kicked out of the game.
Despite all that, Schenn took the risk and it paid off. The crowd was electrified and the team responded. You can grade the fight separately, but the mere act got the job done.
After that, Schenn settled into what he does best. He got back on the scoring track, which is what the Blues really need from him.
A power play goal kicked things off for the Blues.
Then, Schenn added another one that was a little more skillful, but very similar in how it was scored.
Neither goal will go down as the best of his career. They were incredibly important goals for this team this year though.
The Blues turnover issues continue.
I made the comment on Twitter and it holds true. I wish there was a way to count how many times the announcers have said the Blues could have easily cleared the zone only to give it up and let the other team score a goal.
It happened again and in quite the egregious fashion. Vladimir Sobotka, who played a good game overall, was extremely careless with the puck a few feet from the blue line.
Instead of passing or tossing it out, he let the puck slip off his stick. Gabriel Bourque capitalized by going right in and roofing it.
The goal was good by Bourque, but the play should never have happened.
The Blues finally put their foot on an opponent’s throat.
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The problem with the Blues, all season long, has been their inability to put teams away. They win by the skin of their teeth or fail to capitalize on so many chances.
On this night, the Blues did just the opposite. If not for a couple posts, this game could have been even further in the Blues’ favor.
As mentioned in the open, you cannot over emphasize this game or deemphasize the last one. This was a good response though.
The Blues have struggled to score goals overall. They did have three goals in three straight games in their last home stand, but these kinds of dominating performances have been few and far between.
St. Louis went to the front of the net.
When the Blues are not on their game, their shots come from out wide and from distance. The opposite was true in this game.
Both of Schenn’s goals came from crashing the net and Schenn collecting the rebound. Stastny’s goal came by battling for a rebound also.
Brodziak and Pietrangelo’s goals came from the hashmarks, which is still a prime area. Only Barbashev’s goal came from outside.
It is far too early to tell how this might translate in the stretch run. However, for this game the Blues have learned their lessons.
They’ve had success in recent times by going to the front of the net and either collecting rebounds. They took that lesson and put it to work in one game.
Hopefully that keeps up as that has clearly been a route to good scoring.
At last we saw the Blues unleashed.
Just the same as you cannot continue to think the Blues are as good as they looked early in the season, you can’t think St. Louis will toss six in the bag every night.
That said, it was good to see the offense click on almost every level for the first time in a long time. The last time the Blues scored more than four was when they put up six against Detroit on December 9.
We can’t look to the future too much, but we have to hope the Blues didn’t use up all their offense with a game against Winnipeg immediately after.
For one night, the Blues did about as good a job of washing the foul taste from out mouths as they possibly could. There is still a hint of bitter taste, simply because we’ve seen more tank-jobs than sparkling performances. Maybe this one will start a trend on the positive side.