The St. Louis Blues were coming off a rather poor road trip, where they lost five of their last six if you include games prior to the All-Star break. They were hoping a return home would change their luck.
The St. Louis Blues were hoping some home cooking, both literally and figuratively, would ease their troubled souls after a poor road trip to start the second half of the season. The Carolina Hurricanes were in no great hurry to grant Blues fans their wish.
However, despite the previous struggles, the Blues got off to a fantastic start. St. Louis had the first six shots on goal and created two great chances, missing on one and scoring on the other. In only his fourth game back, Sammy Blais got the goal to make it 1-0.
The Blues would hold that lead into the intermission. Oddly, as fast as the Blues started, the second period would end up being their best.
St. Louis would score four goals in the middle frame. Two of them would come on the power play. Carolina would notch a goal to make it 3-1, after trailing 3-0, but the Blues answered with two more to make it 5-1.
The Blues did not come out like a house on fire in the third period, but they did not need to since they were already up by four. That changed about halfway through as Zach Sanford would get his second goal of the night to make it 6-1.
Carolina would not give up though. The Hurricanes scored with just under seven minutes in the third period to bring the difference back down to four. They also got a power play late, which they would convert on to make it 6-3.
The Blues would see it out from there though and hold on for the win.
Pros: Hot start
St. Louis was not infallible in the opening minutes of the game, but this might have been the best start we have seen from the Blues since before the All-Star break. They were on their toes and looking to attack without giving up a lot of pressure the other way in transition.
The Blues came achingly close to scoring almost right off the bat. They were buzzing in the offensive zone and Jordan Kyrou just missed.
However, the Blues were not to be outdone. They never let the puck leave the zone and scored on the next push toward goal.
The goal was classic Blais. He was causing trouble around the net and was able to scoop up the rebound.
It was nice to see him get on the board too. He was having a potential All-Star caliber season prior to his injury, so to finally get back on the horse just four games in was good.
On top of Blais scoring, Jordan Binnington had a solid start too. He wasn’t tested as often as his counterpart, but he came up with a huge save in the early moments.
Cons: Kyrou’s near misses
This one is not so much picking on a player for effort, but more about bad luck or lack of finishing. Kyrou had both.
With Kyrou’s name being included in trade rumors along with the idea that Doug Armstrong is actively pursuing these deals, Kyrou needs to start converting to make the team want to keep him. I still say trading him would be a mistake, but I’m not in charge.
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Nevertheless, Kyrou came within inches of scoring on the play right before Blais. If he swings his stick just moments before or waits just a moment for the puck to come down more, he might have caught the puck flush and backhanded it in. Instead, it trickled toward the goal and Peter Mrazek was able to push off and kick it out.
Later in the period, Kyrou had another opportunity that he probably should have scored on. Again, he came up empty handed.
You’re not going to score every time out, but when given clear-cut chances, you’d like a true scorer to convert. Instead, Kyrou had nothing to show for his solid play.
Pros: Second period
As mentioned, the Blues came out with a hot, fast start in the first period. Despite that, they played even better in the second, which is when they have sometimes fell into a lull.
No such dropoff came this time. Zach Sanford scored the team’s second goal by just getting it over the line.
Rarely do you ever want the puck up on edge, but it worked out in Sanford’s favor on this shot. It was right against his blade, which allowed him to use the reach without fear of the puck sliding off and he could stuff it in on the sharp angle.
Following that was a one-time slapshot like you read about.
Blues fans often want to see more of the heavy shot from Colton Parayko. Not only did he unleash the beast on this one, but it was a one timer like the big scorers in the league let loose with.
Parayko’s main goal right now is still to be a shutdown defender. This shot alone showed how deadly he could be on offense if he put his mind to it.
The second goal was more one for the highlight reel.
The Blues passing on their power play got a little careless at times. They often handcuffed Ryan O’Reilly, but earlier in the game and on this play, he managed to find a player despite a poor pass to him and the Blues went tic-tac-toe with Schenn scooping it in.
This game was just what the doctor ordered. Of course, like the St. Louis Cardinals offense, you sometimes worry they used it all up in one game and there will be few goals in the next game.
However, it was a dominant performance overall regardless of how many goals hit the back of the net. It also showed the fickle nature of the game.
Against Winnipeg, the Blues had 40 shots and only got two goals. St. Louis had six goals on their first 20 shots on goal against the Hurricanes.
Schenn regained his hot streak, now with three goals in two games. Sanford finally showcased a little more, even beyond the goals, of what the coaching staff sees in him to continually put him in the top six.
Binnington had no chance on any goal. Some were deflected, like the third Carolina goal that went off his own defenseman. Unfortunately, this made five straight games that Binnington has allowed three or more goals.
One of the detriments of the Blues play was taking too many penalties. Carolina scored their third goal on the power play, though the call never should have been made.
To their credit, the penalty kill did a good job until that last one. They got caught on their heels and the man the drew the fake penalty, Martin Necas, was the one that scored.
Ultimately, it was just a solid win. There were a couple sloppy moments here or there where the Blues did not get the puck out, but it was a good performance by all.