The St. Louis Blues took on the Dallas Stars for the second game of their series. The Blues were hoping to go up by a 2-0 mark for the second time in a row.
The St. Louis Blues were trying to defeat the Dallas Stars for the second game in a row and put themselves up by a 2-0 mark in a series for the second straight series. They definitely did not get off to the kind of start they needed to accomplish that.
The Blues looked alright in the opening minutes of the game, but it just was not quite the same. The Blues had a few offensive chances early on, but mustered only one shot compared to the initial five on goal for the Stars.
Things evened out pretty well through the midpoint of the period. Then, it was some sloppy play that led to Dallas’ first goal of the afternoon.
The Blues turned it over at the blue line and then it fell apart after that. The Stars would double their lead after a two-on-one attack made Jordan Binnington look silly.
St. Louis would cut the lead in half with a seeing-eye shot not a minute after Dallas took a 2-0 lead. Unfortunately, the defense fell asleep and the Blues gave the goal right back.
Things did not improve in the second. Nobody scored and Dallas started showing their colors with some cheap shots like John Klingberg hitting Oskar Sundqvist from behind while Sunny was focused on another player.
Cons: Everyone Off Their Game
All three goals scored against just did not look like typical Blues goals, at least not in this playoff year. The Blues just were not themselves.
Right off the bat, the Blues just did not look comfortable. Pat Maroon made a careless turnover at the blue line that allowed the stars to keep the puck in.
An initial shot could not be grabbed by Binnington, who has normally been strong with the glove hand. The Stars got it back around to the front of the net and somehow a weak shot squeezed through the body of Binnington. It was jarring since he has not really let in many soft goals.
The second goal was a lack of concentration. Another puck battle was lost and that sprung an odd man rush. It was a really good move that got around Binnington, but you wonder if he could have reacted better if he was further back in the crease.
Then, there was a comedy of errors on Dallas’ third goal. Brayden Schenn turned it over at the attacking blue line and failed to retrieve it along the wall. Vince Dunn tried to jump in and also lost a board battle.
That forced another odd man rush. Alex Pietrangelo went swimming and stopped sliding ala Willie Mays Hayes in Major League. Dunn also stopped skating, which allowed a tap-in that deflected in off Binnington who also lunged at the puck, which is uncharacteristic for him.
Passes were off, guys were running into one another. It was just a really sloppy game on the part of the Blues in the grand scheme.
Pros: Answering Quickly
It is almost hard to list this one as a positive, given how quickly things went sour right after the Blues goal. Nevertheless, it was important for the Blues to pick up a quick goal once they went down by two and they did.
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Similar to the Stars first goal, this one was a bit of a softy. It snuck through Ben Bishop on another low shot. That seems to be the secret to scoring on him right now.
But, it was important to get that goal up on the board. Bishop can be hard to beat in the first place and if you let him build confidence, he gets even harder.
Scoring the way the Blues did keeps him in check. He’s going to start worrying about low shots more and more if they keep sneaking in.
On top of that, the Blues got a goal from a defenseman in Colton Parayko. The Blues depth on defense gives them an advantage and they need that depth to help with the scoring.
Dallas will continually pressure the forwards if they feel no threat from the blue line. Scoring from out top gives them something to think about.
Cons: Allowing Dallas In Their Head
One of the things that made the Blues as successful as they were against Winnipeg was their ability to just smile and walk away. No matter what the Jets were doing, the Blues never engaged after the whistle and kept their cool the entire time.
Later in the period, Maroon lost his cool during a scrum at the end of the period. In the end, Maroon’s penalty was washed out by a Dallas penalty but it could have been worse.
Maroon jumped back into the fray and started throwing punches with his glove on. You could easily have seen the referees assessing him an extra minor during that.
Overall, it just feels like the Blues have been irritated by the Stars more than they were the Jets. Perhaps some of it has to do with being an underdog in that earlier series, but the Blues have to go back to that turning the other cheek mentality.
David Perron made one of the most egregious mistakes here. After getting tripped by Bishop, he got baited into putting an arm up high on the Stars goalie. Bishop might have sold it a little, but you just cannot do that, especially when the Blues had the puck at the time.
It is hard because so many of the Stars just make you want to deck them. You simply can’t bite.
There is so much that could have been included in this game. The Blues just looked off in all aspects of the game.
Their power play was truly awful almost all night. The only effective use of the man advantage was when the Blues had a six on four advantage with the goaltender pulled. Prior to that, St. Louis could not even get the blasted puck into the zone.
Binnington was not steady in the first period and that cost the team. The game was not on him since he made so many great saves down the stretch to even give the Blues a chance, but it cannot be denied that this was not the same calm Binnington we have come to expect.
St. Louis got suckered into too many of the mind games the Stars were playing. Tarasenko can smile all he wants after the fact, but if he’s in the box, as good as Benn is, the Stars will take that trade all game long.
Alex Pietrangelo had a horrid game. He was back to looking lost at times, he flopped and flailed on the ice while trying to block passes and he was especially weak on the puck. He got poke checked at a crucial time in the third period, which squashed a lot of offensive momentum the Blues were building.
Bishop took a page out of Binnington’s book and just stayed calm in there. Despite what the announcers said, he was not spectacular. He made the stops he needed to and that was good enough.
Despite all the consternation, the Stars won this game. They took advantage of the Blues mistakes and they were the better team. The sour grapes on our part is because the Blues did not put their best on the ice.
We can say they almost came back despite not being their best, but you can’t afford moral victories at this time of the year. I’ll take a win playing terribly over a loss any day, but you need to always give it all and, despite trying, the Blues just did not have their best today.
They had better find their best quickly or this series might be 3-1 before coming back to St. Louis.