St. Louis Blues Pros And Cons From Game 64 Vs. Carolina

RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 1: Greg McKegg #42 of the Carolina Hurricanes banks a puck off of Colton Parayko #55 of the St. Louis Blues who lays out on the ice to disrupt the pass during an NHL game on MARCH 1, 2019 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Karl DeBlaker/NHLI via Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 1: Greg McKegg #42 of the Carolina Hurricanes banks a puck off of Colton Parayko #55 of the St. Louis Blues who lays out on the ice to disrupt the pass during an NHL game on MARCH 1, 2019 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Karl DeBlaker/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The St. Louis Blues should have been a more rested team against the Carolina Hurricanes. Instead, we saw shadows of their early season form start to creep back in.

The St. Louis Blues should have been on their game against the Carolina Hurricanes. After playing every other day for almost two weeks, the Blues had an extra day of rest between games.

They had also dominated Eastern Conference teams, winning the second most of any team from the west against their opposite conference. You would not have known that from their start.

St. Louis came out and they looked closer to the team that dug themselves into a hole than the one that won 11 straight. They were sloppy and loose and were made to pay the price.

St. Louis would manage to score first, but they had a look of a team that thought that made things easier. Instead, Carolina put their foot on the gas and answered with two goals.

The Blues gave up several odd-man rushes and took bad penalties. After one period of play, they were quite fortunate to only be down by a goal.

St. Louis would battle back, but their mistakes just turned out to be too costly to overcome.

Pros: Scoring First

The Blues got Oskar Sundqvist going after a bit of a drought. After a hot period, Sundqvist had gone cold, not scoring in over 10 games.

This was the kind of goal that can reignite a player. Vince Dunn took the shot from the point and Sundqvist was able to get a nice tip on it for the score. Yeah, you’d like to score on a pretty shot, but you take the goals the way you can get them. Sometimes it is the lucky ones that start a new hot streak.

Just as important was the Blues scoring first. The Blues had 25 wins when scoring first, coming into this game. They only won 7 games when getting scored on first. So, the odds are never in the Blues favor if they do not score the opening goal.

The Blues were rewarded for their efforts in the offensive end by getting that goal. St. Louis had dominated the early chances, so by getting the goal, they put themselves on the right foot.

Cons: Sloppy After The Goal

If you give the team credit for scoring the goal and having some good offensive chances, you take that all away with their awful finish to the first period.

The Blues allowed at least two, if not three odd-man rushes after they scored. Jaden Schwartz took a selfish penalty in the offensive zone that put the team at a disadvantage too.

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Of course, there will be those that will be quick to blame Jake Allen for the first period. The lazy narrative is always that the goaltender has to do better, blah blah blah. The truth is that he did not make the save, but they were not exactly shots he was going to save or anyone would have. They were not impossible shots to stop, by any means, but so much could have gone differently before the shot even came.

St. Louis did nothing to clear the net-front. They continually gave the puck away in awful areas. Even before anyone scored, the Blues allowed a prime chance in the slot by giving the puck right to a Hurricane in St. Louis’ defensive zone.

The ever positive Darren Pang was even astonished by how many odd-man chances St. Louis gave up. He said he could not remember the Blues doing that in one game, let alone in one period of play.

It was concerning in and of itself, but it was eerily reminiscent of how they played earlier in the 2018-19 campaign.

Pros: Vince Dunn’s Offense

Vince Dunn was a part of the team’s problem when it came to some bad passes and some questionable defending. However, on the offensive end, he was the best player on the ice – at least the most willing to put it on goal.

Dunn was initially credited by the television announcers for the team’s first goal. While it was switched to Sundqvist, Dunn’s shot set it all up. He was confident enough in his shot to get it through some bodies in front.

The second time around, who knows if he intended it as a shot or just a toss toward goal. It ended up working either way.

The puck knuckled so much that everyone assumed it had to be tipped. Upon further review, nobody tipped it from the Blues and Dunn would get his ninth goal of the season.

These were not eye-popping goals that will hit the highlight reels at the end of the year, but they were important. St. Louis was reluctant to shoot for some reason.

Having Dunn show some confidence from the point was big for this team.

Cons: Jake Allen’s Gaffe

Those that have read my articles long enough know that I’m a big Allen defender. There just is not much of a defense on his blunder that led to Carolina’s third goal.

The Blues were on the power play and the Hurricanes managed a hard clear with a player streaking down the ice who would have gotten to the puck first. Allen decided to attempt cutting the puck off before it got into the forbidden area in the corner.

The puck slipped by him and then he slipped on the way back toward the net. I say slipped as an assumption because there was no need to dive toward the net as early as he did. If he stayed on his skates a little longer, he might have been able to make the save.

It is extremely easy to sit in our chairs or couches and say a player should do this or that. You can understand why he initially might have come out, but you just need to assess the situation better.

If the puck was rolling or bouncing, you have to know you can get it. Once you know you will not get it, you have to open yourself up to the idea of just taking the penalty. If nothing else, he could have attempted to hit the player and taken an interference penalty.

Allen was able to accomplish none of those. The Blues surrendered a goal just when it seemed as though they were building themselves into the game.

Instead, this mistake put them back onto their heels and forced the Blues to press again.


In the end, this just was not the Blues night. They did enough to win had they not made so many mistakes, but when not playing your best, they did too much to damage their own cause.

Allen will get the lion’s share of the blame, but he is not solely responsible. Yes, he gave up the game winning goal with his mistake, but nobody else was playing well enough either.

The offense was nowhere to be found. They missed open nets, passed up shooting chances and looked lethargic on the offensive end.

There was little to no sustained offensive pressure. The one time the Blues looked to threaten in the third period, they immediately gave up a goal as soon as the puck went the other way.

Defensively, things were no better. There were careless zone exits that gave the puck away. There was a lot of standing around as well.

You understand the lack of energy given how many games the Blues played in February, but there is no relief in sight. The Blues play again tomorrow and go back to around a game every other day. It is also no excuse because the Blues had an extra day of rest. That seemed to do them more harm than anything since they were out of sorts.

It was a bad game on all fronts. The Blues didn’t get good enough goaltending from Allen. Their top players were not their best players and the defense was lackluster at best.

The only player that played hard every shift was Sundqvist.  If you want to be generous, you could throw Mackenzie MacEachern in that category too, but if those are your best players, you’re in for a rough night more often than not.

Next. Confidence Got The Blues Back In Playoff Race. dark

St. Louis has to turn it around quickly with a determined and desperate Stars team going to be in St. Louis. It will be hard to find an answer, but that is what this current schedule will demand.