The St. Louis Blues schedule at the end of the season should be what most teams would want. It is just the opposite of what the Blues need, given recent results.
The entire 2018-19 season has been one of head scratching and frustration for the St. Louis Blues. Every time you think they have something figured out, something pops up to make you doubt them all over again.
While this has been somewhat true all year, a recent trend of consistently losing to mediocre-to-bad teams has thrown doubt on the Blues playoff prospects. For whatever reason, the Blues thrive against the upper echelon and fail to do much against the bottom feeders.
The Blues have to find a way to turn that around. The Blues will be playing teams with nothing to lose a lot down the stretch.
As of March 18, the Blues have 10 games remaining in the season. Six of those games are against teams with losing records. Those teams are a combined 29 games below .500. The Blues also have games remaining against Chicago and Colorado. Both of those teams are above .500 and still in the mix for a wild card spot, but on the outside looking in. Blues wins in those games would keep them on the outside.
The last week or so, plus plenty of mixed results throughout the season, makes you doubt the team’s ability to win those games, however. The Blues have now lost consecutive games to lower tier teams like Arizona, Ottawa and Buffalo.
A win against Pittsburgh was the only thing breaking all of that up. Arizona might be in the playoffs right now, but they are still a very young and raw team that the Blues dominated. However, as has also become a habit, the Blues can’t seem to take advantage of any situation. They are all trying too hard, which never results in good things.
The worrying thing is that the team is aware of this. They know they are not stepping up against these low teams.
“It’s just tough. It’s an issue,” said Ryan O’Reilly as reported by the Post-Dispatch. “When you play teams that are out of it, you can tell they’re playing so loose, they’re taking risks, trying one-on-ones. It’s a different game, different compared to the other teams gearing up for the playoffs. We’ve got to find ourselves early in this game and get to it. We gave them too much too early.”
O’Reilly’s assessment makes sense. When teams play with nothing to lose, they play different. They do things they might not otherwise, in an attempt to show skill and keep their job for the future.
If you consider yourself a good team – a team that could win a championship – you have to overcome that and win those games. It is not enough to say you played well enough to win, or even dominate, if the scoreboard does not show that.
The Blues are going to have to figure out how if they are going to secure a playoff spot. If you go .500 or worse, you likely fall out of a divisional spot and maybe even a playoff spot overall.
As good as the players for the Blues are, the problem is there is no leadership, and I’m not talking about the captains, etc.
Nobody on the team has really been through this sort of thing. The Blues usually had things locked up by now when they were good or were mostly out of it when they were not. Having to battle every game is something new and they don’t have those playoff generals that can lead the way. O’Reilly is doing his best, but when you’re new to the team it is harder.
As a collective, they just have to find a way to win those games, look good or no. Wins are all that matters from here on out.