St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From Game 2 Vs. Vancouver Canucks

EDMONTON, ALBERTA - AUGUST 14: Elias Pettersson #40 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates his power-play goal at 5:36 of the third period against the St. Louis Blues and is joined by Bo Horvat #53 in Game Two of the Western Conference First Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 14, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, ALBERTA - AUGUST 14: Elias Pettersson #40 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates his power-play goal at 5:36 of the third period against the St. Louis Blues and is joined by Bo Horvat #53 in Game Two of the Western Conference First Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 14, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /

The St. Louis Blues needed to get things going against the Vancouver Canucks. They took another baby step, but it was not enough again.

The St. Louis Blues needed to show something in Game 2 against the Vancouver Canucks. They did, but it was not enough for a long stretch.

The Blues came out and had some more offensive jump to open the game. They were outshooting the Canucks in the early portion of the game.

Unfortunately, they were not all the highest quality shots and those that were got stopped by Jacob Markstrom, who has the Blues number right now.

Another issue was the Blues could not get a lot of flow going. The teams were trading early penalties back and forth, disrupting the five-on-five play, which is where the Blues dominate.

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Then, the game became the Bo Horvat show for the second night in a row. Having not seen him much this year, who knows how often he does this sort of thing, but he literally stick handled around three guys and then made Jordan Binnington look silly too.

The Blues would creep back into the game now and then, but they continued to look disjointed. Vladimir Tarasenko continues to look off and Justin Faulk looked like he took the entire pause off and is out of shape.

Vancouver took a 2-0 lead with a power play goal late in the second period. That was just minutes after Vancouver seemed to have taken a 2-0 lead.

The Canucks scored on a breakaway as their penalty ended. However, the Blues challenged it and it was ruled offside.

Nevertheless, the Blues seemed like they were beginning to come out of their shell. They started finding their groove, but things just were not clicking right.

Ryan O’Reilly scored a power play goal with great patience in the second period. That made it 2-1, but it was short lived.

Vancouver returned the favor with a power play goal of their own early in the third period. Sammy Blais would not let the Blues go down without a fight. He knocked the puck away and then showed sick mitts in faking out the goaltender for a goal to make it 3-2.

It seemed as though that would be the final. The game got into the final minutes and the Blues almost never scored with their net empty. This game was different as David Perron deflected the puck in with just seven seconds left to make it 3-3.

Vancouver came out hot in the overtime period, pressuring the Blues in the first few minutes. The Blues returned the favor, getting some of their best sustained pressure of the game and making Markstrom flop around.

Sadly, the Canucks found a loose puck and sprang Horvat for another breakaway. Horvat made Binnington look bad again, slipping it five-hole for the 4-3 win.

Pros: Perron

David Perron ended the night with two points, which might have gotten him a spot in the pro section anyway. However, even if he did not pick up an assist or a goal, he would still be here.

For about 60% of the game, Perron was the only guy in a Blues sweater playing like it was a playoff game. He was moving his legs, taking shots, making smart plays and just showing a ton of jump.

In the offensive zone, he was firing shots when it made sense and throwing on the breaks when he needed to get some space. In the defensive zone, Perron was feisty and showing some grit not usually associated with him.

Perron did take a penalty for interference that led to the Canucks’ third goal. However, he bumped the guy, which happens hundreds of times a game and are not called.

Overall, he just played a solid game. You would like him to have not taken that penalty in the third, but that also should not really be called.

Cons: Power play

This one kind of depends on what you expect out of the power play. They were not as terrible as they have been in other games.

They were able to keep the puck in the zone for prolonged periods of time. They managed to work the puck around a decent amount as well.

However, that was part of the problem. All the Blues did was work the puck around.

You don’t want to just fire the puck at the net randomly, but the Blues lack the killer instinct right now. They are going through one of those periods where each man seems to look to the next one to make the play. They keep passing the buck each time they pass the puck.

On the team’s fifth power play, they had the puck in the zone for 40-plus seconds without a break. It led to absolutely nothing. They barely got the defense to move because the passing options were so slow and deliberate.

St. Louis might have got a goal on the power play, but the special teams unit was still useless for the most part.

Pros: Not giving up

Whether you are still negative about the Blues in this series or have some hope, even down 2-0 in the series, you have to give them some credit. They find ways to not give up, even when they are not even close to their best.

The thing that should give us a little hope is we finally started to see real Blues hockey in the third period. It wasn’t even the entire third period, but 15 minutes is better than nothing when you are begging and not choosing.

When you are down by two goals and facing a goaltender that doesn’t seem ready to let anything in, you would understand if things got out of hand. Instead, the Blues managed to put their head down, got to work and finally chipped away.

It still has not come as part of the flow of play just yet, but sometimes you need individual performances. The Blais goal was the perfect example of that.

Maybe the Blues got away with a high stick or not, but Blais did a great job to hold the puck along the boards. He also did a fantastic job on attacking the net.

Then, the Blues went totally out of character in the last couple minutes of the game. During the season, they consistently coughed the puck up, allowing an early empty-net goal to kill off the comeback chance. In this game, they actually sustained a good amount of pressure and it finally paid off with the tie game.

Cons: Binnington/Tarasenko

These two get lumped together because they are two of the players the team relies on the most. Unfortunately, neither one has showed up enough in this series.

As far as Binnington is concerned, before you get your knickers in a twist, he has not cost the Blues these games. He has definitely not helped them win them either.

Binnington has not looked confident at all in this series and actually looked a bit shaken in this game. Instead of the calm, cold demeanor, he started looking behind him on several shots. He was also swimming more than we normally see from him.

Also, Horvat is a good player, but Binnington has been schooled on every breakaway so far. They were not easy shots to defend, but they were not unstoppable shots either. As Blues fans have been so quick to point out when Jake Allen is in net, those are shots you need your goaltender to stop.

With Tarasenko, there is no clear cut answer. He is clearly suffering from not having played hockey in over nine months, but I do not agree with those that contend he will never be the same player again.

His problems are either where the team places him or where he chooses to be, however. The Blues have to put him in advantageous positions and it is not happening at all.

Five-on-five, Tarasenko is somewhat dangerous. He just does not having his timing down on shots and is missing the net.

On the power play, he’s all but useless. He doesn’t want to attack the net and either chooses to play the point or is made to.

He does not have a hard enough shot to be that far from the net and often lacks the will to take a shot from distance anyway. If you’re playing your best scorer in a spot where he is almost sure not to score from, what benefit is he providing?

If the team makes that call, it’s a bad one. If he makes that call, make him change it.

While I don’t blame Tarasenko for letting Horvat in behind everyone, his cough up of the puck behind the net led directly to the spring pass for the OT goal. It’s just not clicking right now for Vlady.


This game gives me more hope than Game 1 did. I am not confident the Blues can keep taking baby steps though.

They have to take a giant leap and win a game 4-1 and really get rolling. This nonsense of saying they played good in this spot or on that shift if not good enough.

Not to bring up the old Ken Hitchcock saying, but you need a full 60 minutes. Trying to play half a period there or 15 minutes here will not cut it.

Vancouver believes they can beat the Blues and are doing just that. All the cons in the world cannot take away the fact the Canucks are beating the Blues at their own game. Add in the fact that they’re faster and it’s a recipe for disaster if the Blues don’t find a way to change things.

We can complain about the officiating until we are blue in the face and we are right. It has been soft in every game in every series.

St. Louis has to figure out a way to deal with that. We have not seen the score bear out the thought, but the Blues dominate when the game is five-on-five. As long as it is a special teams battle, even if the Blues are the ones getting more power plays, they will likely not win.

Next. One Blues lineup tweak nobody mentions. dark

The third period was very encouraging. You need to see results though. The Blues cannot survive on encouraging moments any longer.