The St. Louis Blues had plenty to play for as they faced the San Jose Sharks for the second time. Personal pride was among those things, but postseason life was there too.
The St. Louis Blues had a lot on the line entering their second game against the San Jose Sharks. Their playoff hopes were growing dimmer entering the game and they desperately needed a win to keep those hopes alive.
The problem was the Sharks needed the points just as badly. They are trying to hold off the Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division.
Both teams seemed to realize their predicament early on. Each one came out with good energy, but the Sharks were the hungrier team from the start.
The Blues relied on a suddenly steady performance by their goaltender, Jake Allen. His start was surprising enough, due to an injury from Carter Hutton. However, his steady play was just as surprising to some fans who had given up on him.
The Blues could not get much going in the offensive end though. It was an even game after two periods despite each team having firm control of the momentum for long stretches.
Unfortunately, the Blues seemed to want to keep the game even instead of pulling ahead.
Pro and Con:
Early energy but little from it.
The positive side of this was the Blues came out with a lot of energy in this game. They seemed to realize what they needed to do and did their best to do it.
They were taking the body more than we’ve seen of late, which was good to see. They were also defending as a unit, even if some of the control and possession was very sloppy.
The drawback of this is that the Blues accomplished nothing. Goal scoring is not even the main issue here. You’d love to get an early goal, but the Blues could not even muster any offense.
It was a lot of energy shown but nothing to show for it. They couldn’t gain the offensive zone and were spending way too much energy trying to defend by scrambling instead of making the easy plays.
It’s always good to see effort and jump from your team. When it accomplishes little other than to show they are trying, it still doesn’t inspire much belief yet.
Jake Allen was sharp early and throughout.
The Snake stopped nine shots in the first period. He stopped 12 in the second period.
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Beyond just the numbers, Allen just looked confident, which is something we have not seen lately, win or lose. He was smooth in his movements and confident in his positioning.
He stopped the shots you want him to and turned away a couple you would not expect.
The Blues relied too heavily on Allen in the first two periods, but he was up to the task.
It no longer matters who is in net for the Blues. They play well and are not rewarded.
Just not enough offense.
The Blues just can’t seem to figure out how to beat goaltenders any more. They surely are not taking enough chances to do it.
They had four shots on goal in the first period. They had 14 shots through two periods. That’s a good jump with 10 in the second period, but it’s just not going to cut it.
Sure, you have the chance of a lucky goal going in. You’re not likely to earn much with that few shots.
On top of that, the Blues just couldn’t get the support for their embattled teammate, Allen. They’ve only managed one or fewer goals in support of Allen in nine of his last 15 decisions prior to this one. You can now make that 10 of his last 16.
Allen allowed the first goal of the game, but allowed is a harsh word. The shot hit the post and went into the goal on the far side and the shot came from the low slot, which is almost impossible to react to.
The Blues had one shot on goal in the third period for the first 17 minutes. That’s just pathetic. You cannot win if you cannot score.
Another wasted performance.
It was too little, too late for the Blues, as usual. They played with more heart in this game and perhaps if they’d done that earlier in this losing habit, they might have gotten themselves more wins.
Instead we are left to say if they keep playing this way they’ll win games. Time is running out for that to matter. You have to win games, not just say you played well enough to win if this or that went differently.
The Blues are simply not making their own luck. Two shots on goal in the final period is just sad. There is no individual to call out in that instance – it is a team-wide problem.
Allen played his guts out and the Blues didn’t seem to care. They scrambled to defend, but they had no intent to actually score in this game.
The Blues cannot expect to win when you cannot score. They have failed to generate any offense and when they do, they cannot do the other things required to hold it. This team fails to put together a solid performance. Playing well enough to win just isn’t good enough any more. You have to win and failing to do so is just that – a failure.