The St. Louis Blues came into their second game of the season knowing they were going to get the best out of the Colorado Avalanche. They got just that as the Avs came out hot.
The Blues had an initial push into the offensive zone, but the entire first half of the first period belonged to Colorado. The Blues got outshot 10-2 halfway through the opening frame and were only saved by their goaltender and solid defensive positioning.
St. Louis started clawing their way into the game after having two power plays, but they really made nothing of those. It was more about not having to defend than anything.
The Avalanche offense was slowed down having to kill penalties, but they were no less potent. Only another big save by Jordan Binnington with around three minutes left prevented the first Colorado goal at that point.
St. Louis actually created a couple quality scoring opportunities at the end of the period. They were quite close to stealing the lead just before the buzzer, but overall they were very fortunate to get to the first intermission 0-0.
St. Louis Blues outplayed in every aspect
The Blues were not so fortunate in the injury department. A hit against Robert Bortuzzo contacted his head and he seemed dazed, but finished his shift.
He would not return to the game after intermission and was ruled out for the contest. Time will tell if that leads to a suspension, but it should after the Sammy Blais hit was given a two-game suspension.
The Blues just could not seem to get things together. Normally defensively sound Ryan O’Reilly was caught out of position, which left Gabriel Landeskog wide open in the slot and he buried the shot for a 1-0 lead.
The wheels came off after that goal though. Instead of finding a way to battle back, the Blues just seemed to have even more energy sapped from them.
Whether you agree with the calls or not, the referees have called a lot in the first two games and the Blues kept giving them opportunities. Colorado scored on three of their first four power play chances.
The odd thing is the Blues did a good job of defending right up to each goal. On a couple, they had a chance to get the puck out and did not and then quick passes from the Avalanche led to quicker goals.
The Blues switched their goaltender in the third period, but that did not change anything. Jordan Binnington was not at fault for any goals he gave up and Ville Husso was scored on quickly in the final frame too.
The Blues kept getting called for more weak calls and the Avalanche kept making them pay. Nathan MacKinnon scored on the power play and then the Avalanche just stepped on the Blues throats without mercy.
Colorado made it 8-0 by the 15 minute mark of the third period. By some miraculous turn of events, the Blues actually killed off a late Colorado power play to get out of the game without five getting behind Husso.
I try not to deal too much in hyperbole, but everything is just the easiest way to discuss what went wrong with the Blues in this game. There was absolutely nothing going their way and they gave Colorado too many opportunities to use their skill.
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Take nothing away from the Avalanche. Their best players showed up and absolutely schooled the Blues. They took advantage of everything the Blues gave them.
However, if the Avalanche want to claim they did not come to play in game one, then the Blues pretty much stayed at the hotel in game two. They were lacking energy in every phase of the game.
In the first period, you could make the excuse the Blues were just absorbing the Avalanche’s press after a bad game by the home team in the first one. It just got worse from then on.
Whether it was the altitude or thinking the game came easily in the opener, the Blues just had no energy. They looked gassed the entire time, which just made every mistake look that much worse.
Everything that worked in the first game went wrong in this game. Passes were completely off.
There was no opportunity for a forecheck and when there was, the Blues did not have the energy to get in quickly. There were not enough blocked shots and the Blues did not clear the shooting lanes either.
St. Louis was very aggressive in the first game, but backed off far too much in this one. That directly led to at least two goals, with the Avs just waltzing into the slot untouched.
Colorado set up shop in the goalie’s kitchen. It almost goes without saying that the Blues took way too many penalties too, giving Colorado eight power plays – the stat sheet said seven when writing this, but the Blues killed off an extra one at the end of the night.
Offensively, the Blues were just lost. The passes went to nowhere, the shots were nonexistent or put right into opponents’ bodies when they were taken.
The power play was nonexistent as well. It’s amazing that new coaches and new players mean nothing with this franchise. The Blues have had the same problems on the power play for half a decade.
Not to single anyone out, because this was an entire team loss, but Mike Hoffman looked lost. He looked great in the final scrimmage game, very cohesive with his linemates. This game he looked like a player that had just been traded to a team after half a season with another club in another league. He was doing his own thing and it was not meshing with anyone.
Honestly, the only thing the Blues did well was faceoffs. They won 51% of those.
This game was not on the goalies at all. There was not one shot they were supposed to stop when you give up six power play goals.
This is just one of those games you cannot learn anything from. Don’t even bother watching the film because it would take half a day simply pausing every time the team made a mistake.
You have to hope it was the altitude and just a bad game. Of course, the players should be embarrassed by allowing eight goals against, but you just move on.
St. Louis has to switch focus quickly and gear up for the home opener against San Jose. In a short season, there is no time to dwell, so move on and go fishing for shark in the next game.