St. Louis Blues: Pros And Cons From Game 81 On EA Sports

The St. Louis Blues did not fare too well against the Boston Bruins the last time out in the regular season. The two turned in another classic as the virtual 2019-20 season nears its end.

The St. Louis Blues have quite the history with the Boston Bruins. There was never much of a rivalry prior to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

In fact, the Blues had lost 57% of all games against the Bruins. However, it can never again be said that the Blues did not win the biggest one against Boston. Now, the two are even on Stanley Cups won against the other.

But, the Bruins regained the regular season edge with a rather dominant 3-0 win back in October. You could tell they just wanted it more in that game, to get a small slice of revenge for that loss in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

So, it was up to the virtual St. Louis Blues to try to get some retribution. They had their chance on April 2.

In the first 10 minutes, it was a fairly even game with Boston getting the slight edge in the chances. The Bruins broke through with 9:43 left in the opening period.

Anders Bjork got the goal. The Bruins won the faceoff and a quick pass to the right set up a one-time shot that Binnington could not go right-to-left fast enough to make the save.

Things got worse for the Blues. Charlie McAvoy unleashed a slapper about four minutes later. The Blues had at least two defenders in front of their own goaltender, giving Binnington no chance to see it and the Bruins a 2-0 lead.

St. Louis continued to be on their heels. Only some shots wide of target prevented Boston from increasing their lead.

Craig Berube must have said something during the intermission. The Blues came out with some fire in the second and scored early.

Zach Sanford cut the lead in half, not quite six minutes into the second. He made his way around the net and got Tuukka Rask out of position, so when he swung to the opposite side, he fired it past an outstretched glove with no prayer of making the save.

The Blues kept up the pressure. Their energy line of Alexander Steen and Oskar Sundqvist both got denied on solid chances.

Then, the third period got crazy. 6:23 into the period, the Bruins regained their two-goal lead as the defense let Jake Debrusk sneak in behind and he scored on the doorstep.

The Blues did not wait long to answer. David Perron snuck one through the five-hold less than a minute later, cutting the lead down to 3-2.

The Blues then tied it up at 11:04. A great defensive play by Perron jostled the puck loose in the defensive zone. He picked up the loose change, hit a stretch pass to Steen who scored on the breakaway.

St. Louis completed the comeback with a go-ahead goal at 17:12. They threaded the needle with some fine passing along the perimeter to find Brayden Schenn, who snapped one home from just outside the slot for a 4-3 lead.

Unfortunately, things ended almost as bad as they could. Despite just being given a power play, the Blues lost the ensuing faceoff, the Bruins skated down and scored at 19:11. Adding insult to injury, it was Brad Marchand scoring the tying goal.

Notice, the use of the word almost in the previous paragraph. The Blues actually got a five-on-three power play with a penalty called with 14 seconds left. St. Louis won the key faceoff and Jaden Schwartz fizzed one in on the blocker side from the right circle.

The late goal would hold up. The Blues got the season series evened up with a 5-4 win.

Cons: Defense

The Blues defense was not horrific in this game. However, they were not very good either.

There were far too many key mistakes. The first period was close to a travesty.

While St. Louis only got outshot 6-5 in the opening frame, they were outchanced and outclassed much of the first 20 minutes. If not for some missed nets by Boston, the score could have been far different than 2-0.

For the Bruins’ third goal, Sandford and Colton Parayko got caught puck watching while they were on the opposite side of the zone. This allowed Debrusk to brush right past them and into the deep slot untouched for the goal.

Additionally, the Blues screened their own goaltender on at least two of the goals. That includes Alex Pietrangelo making the odd decision to cross from right to left as Marchand’s shot was coming, thus taking away Jordan Binnington‘s eyes on the initial part of the shot.

Pros: Blues will

There were not fantastic individual efforts by the Blues on this occasion. It was all unit by unit.

Each line played it’s part. Jordan Kyrou was just as instrumental in giving the Blues a spark as was Steen and Sundqvist.

Schenn got the goal, but the passes by his entire line, including the defenders, were on point. Sanford’s goal was about as close to an individual effort getting it all done as you got.

It was offense by committee and that’s the way the Blues like it. St. Louis never went away and never gave up.

They had a bad 20 minutes, but it happens. They could easily have been down 3 or 4-0 in the first, but they were not and they took advantage of that.

St. Louis scored a quick goal in the second to get some momentum and even when they gave up another goal, they just kept chipping away.

Next: 2 Blues Recognized By NHLPA, 1 Snubbed

That was their mentality when they won the Stanley Cup. That was their mentality in this game as well.

This game has far less meaning than on June 12, 2019. However, it was still sweet to rob the B’s of any points right at the end.