St. Louis Blues: Pros And Cons From Game 80 Against Chicago

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 4: Connor Murphy
ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 4: Connor Murphy /

The St. Louis Blues had a golden opportunity to put themselves in the driver’s seat for a playoff push. Instead, they just sat back and watched the game be taken from them.

The St. Louis Blues have made a habit of showing everything that has gone right and wrong with the season in the last couple games. Like their previous game, the matchup against Chicago was a microcosm of the good and the bad from the entire year.

St. Louis came out and grabbed the game by the scruff immediately. They were denied what may have been a goal by a good defensive stop on the goal line and a lack of evidence that it clearly crossed the line.

Almost immediately, the Blues actually did score to take the lead 1-0. However, just like their previous game, the Blues just sat on it.

The second half of the first period was much like their second period against Washington. The Blues lacked any energy, were on their heels and flat footed, allowing their opponents to walk all over them.

A little out of character, the Blues managed to have a good second period. They scored two goals to make it 3-1 and seemed to be grabbing the game and pushing it out of reach.

However, a bad turnover led to a bad goal by Jake Allen, which happened to be a shorthanded goal, made the game 3-2.

Chicago scored another bad goal to tie the game. They also scored with eight seconds left to win the entire game.

Allen had a very bad night, but the team was not good for long enough. They sat back and let the Blackhawks come at them in the third period. They had five shots on goal in the third period. That is simply unacceptable.


Jake Allen.

We’ll get this one over with right off the bat. Allen made some huge saves toward the end of the game, trying his best to give the Blues at least a point.

However, even as someone that has supported this guy through thick and thin, it cannot be denied that he should have saved three of the four shots. You can make the case the second goal was more difficult than the NBC announcers would have you believe, but it is still a shot he needs to save.

The first one, the defenders needed to get it out of the zone and had four chances to do so. That said, Allen had bad stick positioning and let the puck deflect off his right leg and in.

The second one had a screen, but he saw the puck with enough time to react a little more than he did. It was a rising shot, which is more difficult to save than some dillweed like Mike Milbury would like to acknowledge, but it was still savable.

The third goal was perhaps the worst. Alex DeBrincat brought it in on the right wing. The shot may have glanced off a defender’s stick, but Allen saw it all the way. It may have even gone wide if he left it alone.

Instead, Allen tried to pin it to his body and knocked it in. Why in the world he did not use the blocker to shove it back out is beyond me.

Fans are quick to forget that Allen is a huge reason the Blues are even still in the playoff race, with his play during their seven game win streak and without a backup to give him rest. However, it cannot be said he has any excuses in this game. He had a bad night at the worst possible time.


The Blues top line.

The top line has been relied on heavily throughout the season. The Blues will have to add depth this offseason, whenever that comes because it is too much strain to put the entire scoring output on three guys.

Still, in this game those three guys were on their games. Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko had two of the team’s three goals. Tarasenko’s was particularly nice in the patience he showed.

They could have had more as well. Tarasenko had five shots on goal, while Schenn and Jaden Schwartz combined for another four. Schwartz may have been robbed of an early goal too.

More from Analysis

This is the time of year you want your best players to step up. They did for much of this game.


The defending.

This is team wide, not just the play of the actual defenders. The Blues just look discombobulated again and it’s coming at the worst time.

I don’t know if they need better conditioning or what, but they look tired ALL the time except brief moments here or there. They’ve played the same amount of games as anyone else.

The Blues rank high on the man-games lost list, but injuries cannot be an excuse right now. You cannot attempt to sit on a one goal lead, especially if you think your goaltender is having a bad night.

You simply cannot rely on a low number of shots or turn the puck over in key areas, forcing yourself to defend even more.

The Blues are just standing around way too much, often flat footed and not attacking the puck carriers. They simply do not have the talent, nor the depth to defend that way. There is no point in saving any energy if you’re just going to be out on the golf course.


The power play.

Having not researched it, this may be an inaccurate statement, but this may be the worst Blues power play I have ever seen.

If we do a pros and cons of the season, the power play will be the biggest con of anything. It is just so awful that it is beyond words right now.

I made a joke of it on Twitter, but it is absolutely true – the Blues suddenly remember how to play offense once the game goes back to five on five.

St. Louis’ power play in the second was particularly awful, giving up a shorthanded goal. They were so inept for long stretches, but once the opponent gets a man back on the ice, the Blues are suddenly able to score again, which they did with Tarasenko’s goal, which came less than a minute after a power play.

We can talk all we want about additions and subtractions to the roster. Doug Armstrong’s biggest challenge this offseason is convincing Mike Yeo to change his power play. Yeo has had different assistants in Minnesota and St. Louis and the one constant is his special teams are always an issue. It is clearly a scheme problem, coupled with personnel issues.

Overall Thoughts:

Sickening loss.

If we step back and look at things, we should not have that big a problem with the Blackhawks’ locker room talk. If roles were reversed, we would want our players wanting to ruin the rival’s chances too.

That said, from a fan standpoint, it is sickening to lose, to lose to your rival and to lose your advantage of controlling your destiny. To be so close to a point and have it ripped away because you take a penalty in the last two minutes of a game for the second time in a row is a huge blow.

As said, this was the microcosm of the season. The Blues showed flashes of brilliance, like a team that could beat any other in the league. They also showed why they have lost games to the worst teams in the league.

Next: Blues Postgame Comments Are Deja Vu

They had bad goaltending, awful defending and offense that only showed up here and there. Of anything in that list, the offense takes the least blame in this one. However, the offense is part of the power play that is just a joke right now.

The Blues can, and I believe still will, make the playoffs. If they play like they did in this one, then the summer will come while we still have snow in the forecast. That’s a tough pill to swallow.