The St. Louis Blues might be sitting at home doing nothing right now. However, via the wonders of technology, we can finish the season in real time via EA Sports NHL franchise.
The St. Louis Blues are waiting to see if they will be able to finish the 2019-20 season for real if/when this pandemic ever subsides. While we wait with them, video games give us an avenue to finish the season.
When the season came to a halt, the Blues had just defeated the Anaheim Ducks in a makeup game from the Jay Bouwmeester incident. The next game on the schedule was against another west coast team, but it would be played in the friendly confines of the Enterprise Center.
The Blues took on their rival, the San Jose Sharks. While the Sharks are not the team they were that made it to the conference final a season ago, they proved to be very troublesome for St. Louis.
The game opened up well enough. Ryan O’Reilly got the Blues on the board first.
O’Reilly scored on a backhander from the left circle. He slipped it through the five-hole to put St. Louis up 1-0.
Unfortunately, the lead was somewhat short lived. San Jose would get the tying goal a few minutes later, on what amounted to an own goal.
The Blues got a goal with about five minutes left in the period to make it 2-1. The team’s defense stayed hot on the offensive end as it was Colton Parayko to snap one home. Parayko managed to charge into the slot and fire one over the glove hand.
The Sharks refused to go away though. San Jose would tie it up prior to the end of the period on a clear goalie interference that was not called.
The Blues were holding on after that. The poor defensive play continued as St. Louis gave up a clear breakaway in the final 20 seconds of the second. Thankfully, Binnington came up with a huge save to keep things ties.
It seemed as though the Blues were going to grab the game by the scruff in the third. They snapped a quick goal in the first three minutes of the period, with O’Reilly getting his second of the game.
Again, it was short lived. Though Binnington had been the main reason the Blues had the lead to that point, but he gave up a softy.
Binnington went out of character and dove out trying to get to a loose puck in front of the crease. Instead, San Jose got there first and chipped it over him.
With 2:37 left in the third, Binnington made a save but attempted to play it to a defender on the wing instead of freezing it. He gave it away and San Jose took the lead off the miscue. Just a minute later, Logan Couture would fire another goal home, giving him the hat trick.
Pietrangelo would score with 19 seconds left. It was too little too late, however, as the Blues just did not have the time to get set up and attempt the tying goal. The Blues fell by a score of 5-4.
Pros: Ryan O’Reilly
In real life, O’Reilly has had a tough year this season. He has still been a leader and still contributed a decent amount, but not to the level he would expect of himself.
In this game, he was solid from start to finish. He was strong on the puck, won faceoffs and did his best to lead the Blues.
Scoring the first goal of the game was quite impressive. While there was an assist on the goal, O’Reilly basically knifed his way through the defense to the edge of the circle to get his shot.
O’Reilly came up big again, scoring the first goal of the third period too. While the Blues may have lost, he gave them a lead and under normal circumstances, they would have held it.
This was one of those games you just chalk up to a bad day at the office and move on. Binnington made some costly mistakes, but he was in charge of things too.
If not for the Blues goaltender, St. Louis would have been behind in the first period. For whatever reason, the Blues came out slow despite their early goal. They allowed San Jose to spend a decent amount of time on the offensive end, which will often tire the legs and possibly lead to mistakes down the road, which it did.
The Blues were shaky defensively all night. Binnington had to make several key saves, including the one on the breakaway.
It cannot be ignored that Binnington cost the Blues this game, though. Uncharacteristic errors, such as playing the puck instead of covering it or diving out somewhat needlessly cost the Blues this game. With the standings up in the air, the Blues cannot afford such mistakes.
This was a disappointing game. When St. Louis scores four goals, you would expect them to win.
The team is predicated on defense and goaltending. Neither one of those things were good enough in the end.
St. Louis will have to try and rebound now. They face Ottawa next.
While the Senators are not a playoff contender, neither were the Sharks. The Blues have to stop playing down to their competition.