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 as the Blues take on Ottawa.
In the second of our series of pros and cons featuring St. Louis Blues games taking place on EA Sports NHL series, we take a look at the Blues against the Ottawa Senators. On paper, this one should have been a blowout.
Unfortunately, it almost was, but on the wrong side. Things got off to a very bad start and did not get better.
Despite the Senators coming into this matchup several games under .500 in the real world, EA Sports version of the Sens gave a huge middle finger to the Blues. They came out strong and did not let their foot off the gas.
Adding salt to the wound, St. Louisan Brady Tkachuk scored the first goal of the game in his hometown. Tkachuk scored at the 4:37 mark of the first period and it was basically all Ottawa from there.
Midway through the first, the puck took an odd hop past the defender after the Blues won an attacking zone faceoff. This led to a partial breakaway and the Senators scored, beating Jake Allen on the short side. It was not the easiest of shots, but one Allen would like to have back.
Ottawa was not done in the opening frame. With 1:33 left, the Senators took a shot from just inside the right circle. Alex Pietrangelo was screening his own goaltender, which Blues players tend to do, and Allen had no chance.
The Snake might have let three by him, but he came up big in the final moments. The Senators got a breakaway late and Allen came up with a big pad save to keep the score 3-0 and, at least, give his team a shot to come back later.
The second period went by with little action, at least on the Blues part. They struggled to get shots from anywhere except the perimeter and were often one-and-done.
Ottawa kept their foot on the gas, but the pedal was not to the metal. They did hit the post twice, beating Allen cleanly over the shoulder once and just over the glove the other time.
The Blues did come close once in the second. They beat Craig Anderson through the five-hole, but the puck did not have enough momentum and Anderson dove backward to cover it up.
St. Louis, like their game against San Jose, would make a charge late. Jordan Kyrou would score with under two minutes remaining to make a game of it, with the score 3-1.
It was too little, too late though. The Senators shut the door and only allowed one more shot and would win by that 3-1 scoreline.
Pros: Jordan Kyrou
It is only a video game version, but like real life, we saw glimpses and flashes of what we all want to see out of Jordan Kyrou. He showed his speed and puck handling throughout the game.
It is only his lack of physicality, mostly due to his size, that kept him from having an even better game. There were a couple times he tried to enter the zone with possession and had it poked away.
That will come with experience and the strength you add as you go through your career. Unfortunately, he was one of the lone bright spots offensively for the Blues.
It was another backhanded goal, which seems to be happening a lot in these video game versions, but we’ll take it. Kyrou cut across from the right wing, through the slot and picked the perfect time to take the shot, slipping it just past the stick and through the legs.
Cons: Everything else
The Blues just had no jump in this game. They got hemmed into their own zone for far too long, surrendering a lot of shot opportunities, even if not all of them hit the net.
Allen would like to have that second goal back, but he was decent other than that. The defense did absolutely nothing to help.
There were times it looked like the Senators were on a power play because the Blues would be standing around in a defensive shell. Ottawa just kept passing the puck around with ease and if Allen made a save, the Senators would grab the rebound and set right back up.
The Blues could not create any sustained pressure. They would get into the zone and either lose the puck or get a shot off from a bad angle.
The final score doesn’t seem that bad, but this was a bad performance against a bad team.
In and of itself, this was a bad game for the Blues. A loss at this time of year is bad enough, but one to Ottawa is even worse.
Couple that with a loss to San Jose in the previous game and things are really going south for the Blues at the wrong time. These are the teams you should be sharpening your skills against, not dropping a toilet bomb in.
It would be one thing if the Blues played well or, at the very least, the game went into overtime and you get a point. 3-1 does not tell how bad this game was though.
Ottawa could have easily had five or six goals if not for two posts and a few saves by Allen. Conversely, the Blues were slightly fortunate to get their lone goal, so this easily could have been a shutout on the part of Anderson.
St. Louis needs to regroup. Their homestand is over and now it’s on the road for four games along the east coast.
The Blues cannot afford to keep dropping points. Hopefully, things will change against Philadelphia.