With the St. Louis Blues desperate for points, you expected them to pour it all out on the ice against the Washington Capitals. Instead, we got a game fitting of a January contest.
The St. Louis Blues needed to get every ounce from every player as they played against the Washington Capitals with a handful of games remaining. Instead, they played a reasonably good game, but had a bad second period and that was all it took.
The Capitals were no better, really just relying on a good stretch to start the second period. However, the mark of good teams is capitalizing and the Caps did that. The Blues made some key mistakes to start the second period and Washington just held on for the rest of the game.
You can look at the positives and say the Blues played well enough to win over the course of 60 minutes. However, you’d be deluding yourself if you believe they deserved to win. There was just not enough fight.
St. Louis did not play poorly for long stretches, but they just did not play like anything was on the line. This game was more reminiscent of a mid-winter contest as opposed to one where playoff positioning was on the line.
The Blues just seemed to think Washington would roll over once St. Louis scored. The lack of anything resembling good hockey for the first five to ten minutes of the second period was just astounding. The Blues did a good job to attempt a comeback, but they still did not fight into the middle of the ice.
Maybe the Blues still sneak into the playoffs, but this was a huge loss. So many will point to the Arizona game, but this one is the deal breaker for me. We’ll see if it is the deal breaker for the team.
The power play.
This has been a reoccurring theme throughout the season, so it should be no surprise. Even so, every game they find new ways to be inept.
The Blues got us excited a little bit when the power play showed some life when Vladimir Tarasenko was injured and just after. Now, they are just as bad, if not worse.
The Blues did not even get a shot on goal until their third power play was half over. Even after that, they only managed four shots through three power plays and maybe a couple more on the fourth.
There is simply no urgency. I’ve seen better organized power plays on junior teams. You have your best scorer the furthest away from the goal quite often and the urge to keep passing is beyond frustrating.
The Capitals did a good job of smothering the Blues top line, but Tarasenko still managed to score the opening goal of the game.
Tarasenko takes some criticism – some warranted and some not – but he came to play in this one. He fired pucks at goal, even though only three hit the target. He also thew some body checks as well.
No, they weren’t sternum crushers, but he was letting people know he was there. He even had a brief duel with Alex Ovechkin, which was good to see.
The haters will say he did not score again to tie it up, but he had a pretty good game overall.
This one falls more on Dunn, but as a pair they were not very good in this game. They were the defenders on the ice for each Washington goal except the empty net goal.
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Dunn had, perhaps, his worst game of his young career. He got schooled on Washington’s third goal, looking quite silly and slow.
On the second goal, neither Dunn or Parayko managed to see a player streaking right up the middle, which led to a breakaway goal.
On the first goal, Parayko was right up on Nicklas Backstrom, but he really did not do anything to put the shot off. Parayko is still young, but he has to learn to be more tough. The guy is built like a beast.
These guys have great, long careers in front of them. This was not a night to be remembered for either one though.
Jake Allen did his best.
I saw a few haters on Twitter, but I’m beyond that. By this time, the only reason to hate Allen is because you are biased against him.
This was not his best game of the season, but he gave the Blues every opportunity to win. He stoned Ovechkin on the doorstep and made several key saves throughout.
You can argue he might have been able to save the breakaway goal, but it came from about two feet in front of him. If you think that is easy to stop a roofed shot from that close, you have no clue.
As mentioned, Allen did not look great throughout the entire game. This is not meant to stir up the usual controversy between fans. However, Allen was a bright spot.
The overall energy.
The Blues pushed at the start and the end. However, that opening to the second period just sits in your mouth and irritates you like a popcorn kernel shoved up in your gum. You try to ignore it but you have to deal with it and it just keeps sitting there, driving you insane.
As said a few times, this was not the worst we’ve ever seen the Blues play – far from it. However, with so much on the line, you just figured you’d get a lot more.
The Blues scored first, but it was a slow developing first period. St. Louis had an awful beginning to the second and then finally turned it on a bit in the third. That’s just not good enough.
We’ve been saying for years that this team cannot put a full 60 minutes together. They’ve had a hardass coach and a player-friendly one. At this point, it is on the players even if they have excuses around the perimeter of things.
Just not good enough.
When you score first, the Blues have been fantastic this season. However, when it has mattered most, they have not been good enough lately. They scored first a couple times now and not come away with two points. At this point in the season, that just cannot happen.
There are two teams out there and you cannot take credit away from the Capitals. They had to overcome a hangover from last night and take advantage of a few Blues mistakes. They did just that and made it count. The Caps got the breaks and made their own as well.
That said, the power play has continually cost the Blues throughout this season. This is not an overly talented team, but there has to be more talent than they show on the man advantage. They just don’t for some reason.
Right now, the Blues are still one point out of a playoff spot with the late game pending. They have given themselves next to no room for error though and had some winnable games. This will be another disappointing check on the wall.