St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From Round-Robin Vs. Colorado Avalanche

EDMONTON, ALBERTA - AUGUST 02: Ryan Graves #27 of the Colorado Avalanche and Sammy Blais #9 of the St. Louis Blues collide during the first period in a Round Robin game during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff at the Rogers Place on August 02, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, ALBERTA - AUGUST 02: Ryan Graves #27 of the Colorado Avalanche and Sammy Blais #9 of the St. Louis Blues collide during the first period in a Round Robin game during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff at the Rogers Place on August 02, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /

The St. Louis Blues hit the ice for the first game that actually mattered in several months. The end result was not a lot better than their warm up game.

The St. Louis Blues came into their first round-robin game knowing they did not have to win. However, they needed to play much better than they did in their exhibition game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The start of the game was not something that inspired confidence. The team’s offense was all but nonexistent, with the Colorado Avalanche dominating the game.

The Blues relied far too much on defense and goaltending to start the game. They definitely had more jump than they did against Chicago, but it did not lead to much.

However, there has been somewhat of an oddity in many of the games thus far in the NHL games played to this point. Many of the teams that start the game well either don’t score or even end up losing.

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That looked like it might be the case in this one. The Blues struck first with a power play goal toward the end of the first period.

The goal came from David Perron, giving him six goals against the Avs this season.

St. Louis managed to make that hold up through the second period. After 40 minutes of play, it was still 1-0 for St. Louis.

Alas, that was not to be. You could tell the Blues were unlikely to get a shutout, even with top notch goaltending, and had to hope St. Louis got a second goal before conceding.

That did not happen. Ryan Graves fanned on what was intended to be a pass on an odd-man rush, but kept the puck. On a second opportunity, he flipped it over the glove for a 1-1 tie.

Then, the Blues just seemed like they were trying to get it to overtime. They did not completely sit back in their zone, but there was not a lot of quality chances created.

As the game ended, we got a stereotypical Blues ending. The refs made a bad call against Alex Steen and then Colorado scored with 0.1 seconds on the clock.

It doesn’t get much more St. Louis Blues than that.

Cons: First period offense

The Blues managed to score the lone goal of the first 40 minutes, but there was basically no offense in the first period. St. Louis only mustered four shots on goal for the entire opening frame.

Whether it was a game plan by the Blues or just the Avalanche coming out with force, the Blues seemed like they were trying to absorb the pressure. It worked overall, but that’s not exactly the strategy for winning hockey.

The Blues did not get their first shot on goal until after half the period was done. The odd thing was the offense looked better at the very start of the period than it did when they actually registered a shot.

It was not like St. Louis was pinned in their zone the entire time. However, the issue was the same with Chicago – they would gain the zone and then lose possession quickly or fire a shot wide and not get the puck back.

The Blues like to go for quality over quantity, but eventually you have to get more pucks on net, especially to start a game.

Pros: Special teams

Take away the freak goal at the end of the game, which was solid effort on the part of the Avalanche, and the Blues special teams was pretty solid in this game. That includes both the power play and penalty kill.

The Blues scored on their first power play and actually had a decent amount of possession on that play. The Avalanche kept them to the perimeter to start, but St. Louis persevered and started to get into the flow, which has been a problem on the power play.

While the Blues failed to get another power play goal, they still managed to at least look like somewhat of a threat. They moved the puck well, overall, and just did not get enough shots through the blocks or on net.

On the penalty kill, the Blues did a good job until the final goal. There were a few scramble plays that put your heart a little too close to the throat, but the Blues were solid on the PK.

The first PK was one of the best. Guys were blocking shots and sacrificing their body playoff style.

Cons: Ice?

This is one that is hard to pinpoint. You want to blame the ice because the passing was off most of the night and the puck just never seemed to settle.

However, putting that into perspective, it did not seem like it affected Colorado as much. So, while the puck was bouncing and did not settle for the Blues, the Avalanche seemed like they were playing on a different sheet of ice.

Does that mean the Blues were just disjointed? Does it mean the Avalanche were just able to overcome the conditions?

It is very hard to tell. What we do know is the Blues were really thrown off by it.

Players were falling all over. I counted at least three times that Oskar Sundqvist hit the ice attempting to reach for a puck that rolled on him and stayed behind.

He was not the only one. Guys struggled to get the puck off the boards, had it roll over their sticks and all sorts of weird maladies.

As stated, Colorado did not seem to be affected as much, so who knows if it was the ice or just the Blues being off a step. However, there have been some talks about ice conditions, especially in later games, so who knows.

Pros: Binnington

This is one of those games that you could say the Blues might have deserved to lose, but there is no way Jordan Binnington deserved to lose. The guy was just on point from puck drop to the final horn.

The Blues were only in the game during the first period because the Blues had Binnington on his game. As the Blues finally found their game later on, Binnington got even better as things went on.

I saw a tweet about a weak glove side after Colorado scored, but that’s nonsense. Maybe Binnington doesn’t have the quickest glove in the league, but he made several high-quality glove saves throughout the first half of the game.

This was especially good to see after Chicago had beat Binner a few times. There was nothing to suggest any of those goals were his fault, but you just never know how a goaltender will react.

However, we should have seen this game coming from him. Any time Binnington has had a less than stellar performance, he bounces right back in the next game.

It is just a shame that St. Louis could not get at least a point out of this one for him.

Cons: The ending

There were several moments where you could point to and say you could see something bad coming. The final goal was one of them.

The issue of the time on the clock was just typical Blues luck. Yes, we erased 50-plus years of bad luck by winning the Stanley Cup last season, but c’mon…what other team has a play like that where the refs had to look at it for several minutes to determine if it was fully across the line before it switched to 0.0?

Regardless of the time, the Blues were scrambling too much. They were adversely affected by circumstances.

Alex Pietrangelo was out because of a knee injury after blocking a shot prior to the penalty. The Blues were without Steen because of the call. Both of those guys are big penalty killers.

You have to give credit to the Avalanche for moving the puck so well. That put the Blues out of position.

However, the team just seemed like it got them flustered. There is no time to look at the clock in that scenario, but it seemed like the Blues did not know how much time was left and kept hoping each play would be right before the horn. When you do that, you tend to lose track of the extra man, which is exactly what happened.

Cons: Refs

This one is about the entire league, not just this game. So many of the calls in all the games against all the teams have been so weak.

It affected this game because the Avs final goal was on a power play, but you could make the case that the Blues did not deserve some of the power plays they got either. The loss is not on the refs at all, but the quality of officiating needs to improve quickly.

The Carl Gunnarsson penalty was non-existent. The Jaden Schwartz goaltending interference was a joke. He literally jumped in the air to avoid a puck and the goalie was there when he came down, but that’s a penalty.

The Steen call at the end was never spotted. 32 cameras and we could not see what Steen did to get a call against.

The players are trying to get into a playoff mode after what was a full offseason of time off and the refs are calling penalties in preseason style.


This is a weird loss. It stings because it is against a divisional rival and going pointless in your first game out the chute.

However, the Blues played better enough to make you think they’re getting to their game. It is just happening slowly.

In a midweek article, I pondered whether we will actually see the Blues typical game at all prior to the actual playoff portion. The Blues forechecking style is just too physically demanding to waste on other games.

The issue is whether you can just flip a switch. That’s a dangerous game to play if you’re hoping you can.

On the flip side, we have to realize the Blues were playing one hell of a team. The Avalanche came out with speed and a ferocity to open the game that the Blues had to weather.

St. Louis got through that first 20 minutes and while they were lucky to be ahead, they were ahead. The issue is they never went for the throat.

Again, the Avalanche might not have given them an opportunity to do that. Still, championship teams find a way and the Blues did not on this night.

Still, there was marked improvement from the exhibition game. The question now is whether you can get a result against Vegas.

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The Blues lost their last two games against Vegas. Both saw the Blues with a lead and fail to win.

This is not a “must win”, but you also don’t want to go pointless, even if you might not mind finishing fourth. Hopefully, we see more progression toward the typical Blues style if nothing else.