The St. Louis Blues might have already known they had their playoff ticket punched before facing off against the New Jersey Devils. They still needed to get on the winning track if they had any hope of moving out of that third divisional spot.
The St. Louis Blues took on the New Jersey Devils for the final time in 2018-19. They continued their habit of struggling against the bottom feeders of the NHL too.
The Blues were slow out of the gate, once more. They failed to hang onto a lead again as well.
St. Louis scored the first goal of the game, despite not truly deserving to be ahead after one period. Then, early in the second period, they surrendered the lead.
The Blues would regain the lead in the second, but they failed to hold onto it. New Jersey did earn their second tying goal, but it just felt like the Blues were not doing enough.
Fortunately, the Blues hung on in the third period and force overtime. As someone I know said after the game, they played 60 minutes of uninspiring hockey and still managed to get a win.
The Blues literally scored before time elapsed, netting the game winner with just two seconds on the overtime clock. It was not pretty, but they all count in the point totals.
Pros: Robert Thomas
Robert Thomas has been your typical rookie in 2018-19. He has had the ups that show ups how talented he can and likely will be during his career. We have also seen some lulls that come along with being a rookie in the NHL.
We saw a lot of those ups against the Devils. Thomas was showing it all.
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He was using the skate edges to leave people in the dust. He was using his speed to blow by. Thomas showcased some of his stick handling ability in tight quarters, nearly scoring on a couple of wrap around attempts.
Then, in the end, he got his reward when one finally slipped in. You can make the argument the goaltender should have done better since the shot was flat on the ice and went through the legs, but it was the ability to separate beforehand that mattered.
Thomas switched direction twice, frustrating the defender each time. When he final circled back around on his backhand, he had the sense to take the shot, knowing he had Pat Maroon in front if there was a rebound.
Maroon’s presence provided enough distraction to allow the puck to go in. It might not make Thomas’ highlight reel when all is said and done, but it put the Blues up 1-0 in a period they might not have deserved to be leading.
While the rest of the team was somewhat slow out of the gate, again, Thomas was on his toes.
Cons: Another Slow Start
Can someone get the Blues some Monster or a Bang energy drink or even some coffee? What is it about these guys to where they cannot come out of the gates with some jump and fire?
For the second night in a row, the Blues did not have the required effort to put their opponent in the dirt and bury them. The Blues did end up with a goal to take a 1-0 lead before the period was over, but it did not feel like they deserved the lead.
It should not be said they did not play better than the first period against the New York Rangers. It might be hard to play sloppier than the Blues in that period. Still, getting outhustled more often than not is getting outhustled.
The Blues relied heavily on Jake Allen in that first period as well. Allen made a spectacular post to post save with his pad that kept the Devils off the scoreboard midway through.
The Snake was also solid positionally for much of the first. He also showed good stickhandling ability, which is one of the few spots Jordan Binnington has struggled.
The bottom line was the team just lacked something. That carried over into the second period too as the Devils managed to tie the game. It was on a power play, but the team just felt a step slow.
We continue to hear how these lower level teams have guys fighting for jobs. Yes, that is true, but the talent level should not be there. The Blues are allowing them to look better than them.
Cons: Post, Posts And More Posts
The St. Louis Blues have some magical ability to find metal instead of netting. I am not sure if they keep official stats about this, but if the Blues do not lead the league in posts and crossbars, I would be really surprised.
The Blues added two more to their total, with one coming in each of the first two periods. The first one seemed like a sure goal.
David Perron had a great chance on goal and if the Blues had any sort of luck, it would have gone in. He deserved better than hitting iron. Iron was what he got though.
The second one was just the usual Blues failure to capitalize on an open net. After Cory Schneider had an awful turnover from behind the net, Jaden Schwartz managed to put if off the far post. There was a touch off a defensive stick, but it was not a block. Schwartz had 3/4 of the net to shoot at and still picked the spot where it was not going to go in.
If the Blues are as good at anything as hitting posts, it is probably missing open nets. Regardless of how you do it, you do not get a goal in those situations.
Pros: Getting The Win
If we are honest, the St. Louis Blues probably did not deserve to win this game. They did not play poorly enough where you deserved a loss, but a loss was definitely within reach.
In the end, the Blues ended up picking up two points. They scored three goals, which is good enough on most nights.
On this night, the Blues had to take it to overtime, but they got the win.
The disappointing part was the overtime itself. The Blues had two great opportunities, one with Alex Pietrangelo and another for Thomas.
In each situation, they held and held and held and then passed it off or tried to. In both situations, the Blues ended up with nothing.
I will take the win and this section certainly does not feel like a good one, but you got the W. At this stage of the year, you’ll take them however you can get them.
Thank goodness this should be the last game the Blues have where they view their opponent as beneath them. The rest of the opponents are under the Blues in the standings, but there is a feeling of rivalry with most.
The Blues continue to showcase their ability to play down to their opponents. They did just that against the New Jersey Devils.
The Devils have some talent, as does every NHL team. As fans, we have a tendency to forget that. However, the Blues have played so well of late, you do not want them throwing it all away with mental lapses late in the year.
There are no excuses. You cannot be tired if you want to win a championship. You cannot have nights off if you want to win the Stanley Cup.
If teams beat you, so be it. They were better on that night and that’s that. We have not seen that against these lower teams. The Blues beat themselves and tried to do it against the Devils again.
There were good things in this game. We have our pros above and also their ability to screen the net. Both goals in regulation were due to net-front presence.
The third line was cooking, figuring in both of those goals as well. It was pure determination that scored Vince Dunn’s OT winner and thank goodness he had that determination.
On the bad side, you just don’t look crisp in too many facets of the game. The Blues looked the more talented team, but did not show it with enough results. I am not just talking about goals either. There was just something quite off during this east coast road trip.
Whatever. It is over now and we can focus on the final four games of the season.
St. Louis is in the playoffs and hopefully they can make a long run. Nights like this make you worried about that idea.