The St. Louis Blues roller coaster as a Jekyll and Hyde team continued with another peak before an eventual valley. St. Louis managed a rare win over a team that has owned them in recent years.
The St. Louis Blues continue to befuddle their fans in ways that cannot be accurately described these days. As soon as you give up, they pick up a big win to make you think they might turn a corner. Then, as soon as you think they’ve got something going, they have a soul crushing loss.
Their game against the Winnipeg Jets was the former. Browsing social media, most fans were not going into the game with much hope for victory. As Gandalf said “just a fool’s hope.”
So, the team decides to turn around and stick it in our noses. They pulled off a seemingly improbable 1-0 win over a team that had dominated them.
St. Louis lost six straight games from the end of 2016 through 2017. The Blues had lost three in a row against the Jets too.
So, when you include the fact the Blues have not defended well, got consistent scoring or goaltending, why would you think they’d win? Well, I guess because they’re the Blues. They always seem to do whatever is the opposite of what you think they should.
There were still plenty of problems, but it is a win. Until the Blues are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, which is still months off, then each win is very important.
Pros: Jake Allen
Make no mistake, the Blues won this game because of Jake Allen. That is not to say he was the only reason they won, since there were some flashes of good defensive play here and there. But Allen was at his best in this game.
He did exactly what you want your goaltender to do in these situations. He made the saves you need him to make just to keep you in the game. Then, when called upon, he made the big stops that can win you those sorts of games.
In the past – the recent past in fact – the Blues have still lost these types of games. Normally the situation would have been reversed. St. Louis would manage to give up the lone goal late and not score at all, wasting a good goaltending performance.
Instead, they managed to get things done because Allen would not be denied.
Of course, the haters always find things to pick on. There was a shot that hit the post where Allen never reacted. They don’t want to acknowledge the fact he was never allowed to see it because of his own defensemen.
Several shots just kind of hit him too. But, that’s goaltending. We have this myth in our head of these acrobatic saves where the goaltender wins the game with dominating fashion.
In reality, there is a lot of luck involved in goaltending. You need to be in the right spot at the right time, but more often than not shots hit you as opposed to you actually reaching out and making the stop.
Allen did all that. He got the lucky saves and he made his own. The stop on Nikolaj Ehlers was the best example. Allen saved the game there after a horrendous turnover set up the Jets alone in the slot.
Without that stop, the Blues don’t win and likely lose since they have been so fragile lately.
Both teams were guilty of this, but for the life of me, I cannot understand how this Blues team has become so sloppy and careless with the puck. The turnovers were flowing like wine in this game.
If you look at the boxscore, the Blues were credited with 15 giveaways. We have seen in the past where those numbers are low and there were still tons of turnovers.
If the number is 15 as counted by the official scorekeepers, just imagine how many pucks the Blues actually gave away.
The one handed over to Ehlers was just awful. The Blues tried to make a stretch pass to exit the zone, despite having at least two Jets in the way.
While the puck was deflected, you simply cannot take that risk. Even if it does not lead to a wide-open shot in the middle of the slot, you allow the Jets to set up their offense when it should have been a quick zone exit for St. Louis.
We have seen it all season, but these giveaways that lead to chances right in front of your own net still boggle the mind. It is almost as though, subconsciously, the Blues have an axe to grind with their goaltenders and this is how they punish them.
Every team has issues with this from game to game. For the Blues it has been happening all year and was especially prevalent against the Jets. Frankly, it is a shock they were able to overcome them.
Pros: Colton Parayko
We keep saying finally with Colton Parayko, only for him to take a step backward. With that in mind, there should be no expectation that this will be his offensive game from hereon out.
What it does mean is that Parayko finally let the bomb fly and got rewarded for it. We would all love to see him unleash that slap shot far more often, but beggars cannot be choosers at this point.
In actuality, Parayko is doing quite well offensively. He now has five goals after his point blast against the Jets. With a little over a quarter of the season played, that puts him roughly on pace for his highest goal total. Whether he hits that or not, we will see, but it’s there for the taking.
Beyond just the goal, which was something to see, he played a solid defensive game and an overall game. Parayko took three shots, including the one that went in. That’s what you want from a guy that is gifted with a shot like that. Even Larry Robinson, current assistant coach, marveled at the ripper.
He also had a hit, a block and a steal. The only major drawback to his game was the turnovers.
Parayko was credited with two giveaways. You can’t have that from your best defenders. But, if it does not cost you, then you cannot be too upset.
The Blues just need 55 to take more responsibility. People are ready for him to take the reigns and I’m not sure that’s wise. However, if there are more games like this than not, then maybe he can.
Cons: Playing Not To Lose
Let us give credit where it is due. The Jets are a Stanley Cup contender right now.
That said, the Blues were clinging to life in the third period. As we have come to expect, the Blues seem to play not to lose instead of playing to win.
That can be a confusing statement and highly subjective, but it was about as objective as you could get against the Jets. St. Louis was scrambling around just trying not to make mistakes. That is not really winning hockey, even if it go the job done in this instance.
The problem here is they end up defending way too much. You just cannot do that consistently against good offensive teams.
The Blues relied on Allen way too much in the final five minutes of the game. While he managed to come up with the saves in this game, there are going to be games when that does not happen.
Allen is not a superhero, as pointed out by so many. Even at his best, he is not always going to have the kind of performance he pulled out in Winnipeg. So, the fact the Blues continually do this at the end of games is very disappointing.
The Blues never seem to want to stay on the front foot. Instead of pressuring teams when they get ahead, they end up with cement skates in their own zone. They flop around like fish in a vain attempt to defend and, more often than not, it does not end well.
Fortunately, the Blues had Allen bail them out in this game.
This team is beyond being something anyone can figure out. There is such a disparity of performance, game to game, that it is insane how differently things end up.
The Blues got bailed out by a good goaltending performance in this game, but their overall game is not going to win many contests in the future if it was a carbon copy of it.
That said, if they start to win more of these types of games that they might not deserve to, maybe they can begin turning things around. I would not hold my breath though.
There is something deeply wrong with this team. They seem to support one another when things are going well. But, there is enough smoke to think there is some fire behind the scenes. We cannot get any straight answers as to who is the problem though.
That is an issue for another date. For now, let’s take the win. This team has not had enough of them, so we need to savor the ones that come around. Any win over the Jets is a good one since they have had St. Louis’ number.