The St. Louis Blues were hoping for a repeat performance after jumping all over the Anaheim Ducks in the first of two games against them. While a goal was scored early, it was by the wrong team from the St. Louis perspective.
The Ducks got an early power play and made the most of it. Social media went nuts about Ville Husso letting in another goal, but the puck was clearly deflected to give Anaheim a 1-0 lead.
After that, it was a slog through the first period. The Ducks kept the pressure on, creating a few chances here or there, but the Blues had settled down.
Unfortunately, the offense just disappeared. The Blues barely got a shot on goal in the first frame, much less a legitimate scoring chance.
The second period did not start much better. While the Blues got an early power play of their own, they generated absolutely nothing off it.
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They worked the puck around well enough, but got no shots. That’s the point of a power play, to get shots on goal.
The offense continued to be paltry. St. Louis had one shot on goal eight minutes through the second period.
They also proved that all it takes is one. Justin Faulk snapped a shot toward goal and it was deflected in, by a diving Brayden Schenn, to score the first goal for St. Louis on just their second shot of the period.
The Blues started to get back in a little grove after that. Husso made a huge sliding save to preserve the lead.
The third period really saw the Blues come to life. While shots were still a little slim, they made the most of their chances.
Schenn scored his second of the game on the power play. Not long after that, Colton Parayko slapped one in from the point for a 4-1 lead.
The Blues managed to keep hold of that lead for the rest of the game. The Ducks had a chance here or there, but either Husso or the Blues defense was up to the challenge.
They finally broke their streak and swept a series
Cons: First period offense
It might be a slap in the face to hockey offense to call what the Blues did in the first period offense. It was more like being allowed into the zone a couple times.
The Blues had absolutely no threatening moments in the first period, other than that Sanford shot. Gibson is a tall enough goalie that a shot off the mask might not count as a shot some nights.
The Blues only had two shots on goal through most of the period. They did not get their first shot on goal until almost nine minutes were gone.
The problem was not just a lack of shots. The Blues lacked jump, energy and legs again, which is discouraging for later in the season.
St. Louis was flat footed and also straight legged. That combination against a better team would have wound up in another embarrassing loss. Thankfully, the Blues outlasted the Ducks.
As impressive as one of the Blues prospects has been, Schenn has matched goal for goal. Schenn’s two scores put him on top of the team’s goal list.
What is more impressive than just Schenn scoring is how they come. The deflection was a thing of beauty.
Schenn dove out, perhaps pushed, and kept his wits about him. To still steer that puck on goal and score was impressive.
The second one was just a smart play. Schenn came in on the back side and settled into a soft spot in the defense. He was uncontested to rip the shot in.
The guy just works and works and works. If only we could all have his motor.
Cons: Power play
We keep saying the Blues and fans need to be patient, especially regarding their power play. While there is still plenty of season left, we’re getting to the point where patience can only go so far.
St. Louis just is not clicking at all on their power play. There’s far too much talent out there and far too many problems that have been going on for years.
The Blues refuse to shoot the puck. You added power play snipers in Torey Krug and Mike Hoffman and neither one of them do anything.
Krug had a couple shooting lanes. While they were admittedly thin lanes, he still seems like he’s falling into that new guy trap of wanting to fit in, so he passes the puck instead of being “selfish”.
Hoffman is mysteriously buried on the second power play. As poor as both units look at times, why not make a change? Someone has to step up and get something on net.
The second period goal was a nice change of pace. It did not feel like it did enough to change the unit’s momentum.
Was Ville Husso spectacular, giving fans enthusiasm for him to replace their current starter? Absolutely not.
He was good, though. He was an impactful reason the Blues won this game.
Social media does what social media does on the first goal. Blame was quickly handed out despite the fact the puck was deflected and almost nobody in the league was going to stop that puck. Never let the facts deter a the narrative though.
Ultimately, Husso made some very good saves. 25 saves might not seem like a lot, but there were quality stops in there.
The sliding save in the second period was a good example. Naysayers will say the puck was shot into him, but he still needed to get into position.
This was an important win and game for Husso. It gives him and the Blues confidence that Husso can step in and give Binnington some relief.
This was not the prettiest performance and it likely would not have led to a win against the top teams in the league, but it was good enough for the night. The Blues needed to stop trading wins, so getting that second one in a two-game series was important.
Schenn willed the team to victory. Husso played well.
Some of the other players, like Hoffman, played reasonably well too. He might not have got on the goal sheet, but he was starting to get into impact areas and make himself useful away from the puck.
The worrying thing is the lack of energy in these second games. They have to find a way to not get the straight legs.
In the end, it’s a win. You take it, move on and prepare for the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday.