So far in the 2021 NHL season, the most consistent thing about the St. Louis Blues is their inconsistency. They seem determined to let winnable games slip away or almost slip away.
The Blues had a chance to build some momentum by sweeping the San Jose Sharks after winning the first game of a two-game series for the second time in a row. They did the same thing against Colorado.
The Blues repeated the process they had against Colorado and dropped the second game of the two. The only difference was they did not implode defensively and allow almost a record number of goals.
St. Louis opened the game up ok. Their recent history of slow starts on home ice has carried over into this empty arena era.
Not having a crowd to pump up the team seems to really have an impact. Say what you will about Enterprise Center crowds, but the Blues seem to feed off them.
More from Bleedin' Blue
- St. Louis Blues Prospects Shine And Fizzle In Prospects Showcase
- St. Louis Blues Giving Nick Ritchie A Look Is No Lose Situation
- St. Louis Blues Torey Krug Already Injured Before 2023-24 Season
- St. Louis Blues Need Kasperi Kapanen To Be On Best Behavior
- Former St. Louis Blues Forward Going Into Hall Of Fame
The Blues outshot San Jose 10-9 in that first period, but despite a few decent chances, you never got the feeling the Blues were on the cusp. You didn’t get that build of anticipation where you figured a goal was about to come.
Part of the issue was St. Louis getting a power play not five minutes into the game. The power play just seems to throw off all their rhythm at this point.
The second was a little better, overall from the Blues. Brayden Schenn scored almost five minutes into the period to grab the 1-0 lead.
It was set up by Jordan Kyrou who sliced past defenders, causing confusion as to who was guarding whom and who might get the puck. Kyou just left the puck in an open spot and Schenn cut inside to rip the shot when there were two Sharks that easily could have gotten there first.
Sadly, the Blues could not make it last. They held on for much of the second period, but not all of it.
Marcus Sorenson scored on a rebound, tying the game up 1-1. While offense brings in fans, the Blues were clearly bitten by the overabundence of penalties given out leading to an inability to guard the net. Colton Parayko was trying to front his man instead of clearing the crease. Torey Krug was actually in the proper position, but since his back was to goal, he did not know where the rebound went.
The third period was a whole lot of nothing for St. Louis. They mustered all of three shots on goal.
As bad as the offense was, the defense was not much better. The effort was definitely there as they sold out a few times to block shots, but there were games in the recent past where the Blues allowed 17 shots in one game. Here, they allowed 17 shots in one period.
The Blues only got by based on their goaltender and a few good scramble plays.
Ultimately, once this game got to a shootout, you almost knew what would happen. Anecdotally, the Blues seem only capable of scoring, missing the net or shooting right into the goalie. They rarely force a good save.
St. Louis went 0-4 on the shootout and eventually they got beat.
It was an important point, but not one that made you feel good.
Pros: Penalty Kill
It’s not often that you start off a negative result with a positive aspect, but it has to be noted the drastic difference in the Blues penalty kill. In the span of one off day, they went from last in the league to looking like the PK of old.
Guys were flying around, putting pressure on when needed. They were selling out, putting their bodies on the line.
Even on the plays they were not 100% at their best, they limited mistakes. In previous games, the opponents were getting too many quality looks and grade-A chances.
In this game, St. Louis did a good job of clogging those passing lanes and keeping shots to lower danger areas. It might seem like a small thing, but they had to build from somewhere.
Statistically, it was a great night for the PK. They had seven penalties to kill off and were perfect.
Not all of those were a full two minutes of PK time, but San Jose still had almost 10 minutes of power play time. When almost half a period’s worth of a game is spent killing penalties and you keep a clean sheet during that time, you’re doing something right.
Cons: Taking penalties
The thing the Blues did wrong was take those penalties in the first place. Craig Berube has abandoned giving his team excuses and simply said they were all penalties because the refs called them.
That’s nonsense as the weak calls get even weaker by the game. Love taps are slashes and guys that are just stronger than their opponents are called for holds.
Regardless of what anyone says about the officials, the Blues cannot allow it to disrupt their game as much as it does. It’s easier said than done, but eventually you have to adjust to it.
Seven power plays against you is just unacceptable. Plenty of that can be cleaned up too.
Yet another too many men penalty cost St. Louis a power play of their own. If you have one arm off your stick and reach out for an opponent, you are asking to be put in the box for holding.
When your stick touches an opponent, whether the body or their stick, the ref is going to call hooking or slashing more times than not. It stinks because this is a physical game and slowing down another team’s speed is the name of the game. You simply can’t be so loose about it.
No matter whether they lasted two minutes each or one second, the fact the Blues had two five-on-three penalty kills is not acceptable either. Top guys are missing out on ice time because the team is killing too many penalties.
Jordan Kyrou hits the stat sheet again. It might have only been one assist and one shot on goal, but Kyrou was the team’s most consistent player throughout this game.
Whether the coaches lit a fire under this guy or it was all individual, offseason preparation, he has earned his spot and has given no reason to take it from him. He’s been good enough that you have to tell yourself it’s only four games and to not overreact.
The way he breaks defenders down is just exciting though. Schenn gets the glory for the shot, but the Blues lone regulation goal is all Kyrou.
He starts things up behind his own net with a good pass off the wall to Krug in the corner. Instead of just gliding out of the zone, Kyrou puts on the afterburners and hauls up ice.
He’s then met with a centering pass at center ice and charges right at two defenders. When he pulls up to wait, this actually creates space in behind.
Brent Burns, being the mule he is, thought he’d rough Kyrou up. The kid just slid the pass on by and Schenn put it home.
Kyrou was willing to take a little abuse to make the play. He’s also proving more than willing to go the length of the ice to attack and to defend, which is what Berube wants to see.
Cons: Player tracker
This is a minor gripe, but do we really need the player tracker feature? This just screams of ripping off an NBC idea that was lame to begin with.
I understand we live in a virtual, video game culture/world. Not all fans want a floating bubble above the player taking up visual space.
The puck can be hard enough to see on a television screen. We don’t need an artificial blob taking up even more screen space.
I’m sure there are fans who like it. There are also fans that like 3v3 overtime and shootouts and they’re just wrong.
If you can find a way to put the star around a player, along with their number, like NHL94, then we’ll talk. Until then, let the broadcasters identify the players.
Kyrou was good and the penalty kill was solid. The only reason the Blues get a point out of this game, however, is Jordan Binnington.
He was not flashy or flopping all over making Dominik Hasek saves. We saw that calm, cool, collected version of Binnington in this contest.
The Blues needed that calming effect. That was especially true in the third period when St. Louis forgot they were allowed to exit their own zone.
You cannot expect your goaltender to withstand 17 shots in one period on a regular basis. There are lots of goalies out there that will take more action than standing around, but shot totals that high in one period is a recipe for disaster.
Thankfully, Binnington was up to the task. There was only one shot on goal in a boring OT period and Binnington turned that away as well.
It’s good that Binnington is getting work and finding his groove. It is not good that the Blues are relying on that far too much. He deserved better in this game.
This is one of those games the Blues are fortunate to get a point. Sometimes you say they should have won or could have won if this or that.
Not on this night. You might even say neither team deserved to win, which is why I’d prefer to return to tie games, but that’s a fight for another night.
St. Louis just did not do enough to deserve more than they got. The PK was good, but you cannot put yourself into the box that many times. There has to be more discipline.
You cannot get outshot by a margin almost 2 to 1 and expect to have a consistent offense. The Blues have been hot or cold offensively in their four games, with not middle ground.
Call the penalties weak, but you have to stay five-on-five. St. Louis kills every team in the league at even strength, but their special teams is so mediocre that it kills all momentum.
As Chris Kerber said, you’ve gained points in three of four games this season. That’s not much of a sliver lining given how this game actually unfolded though.