The St. Louis Blues were hoping for a solid, rebound performance in their 12th game of the season and third-straight game against the Arizona Coyotes. Unfortunately, it only got worse than the last game.
The Blues waited until the final four minutes of the previous game, scored three goals and still lost. The thought was there was something to build off of.
Unfortunately, things got off on the wrong foot. Just 2:50 into the game, Arizona struck first.
It was a goal that Ville Husso would like to have back, as it snuck between his skate and the post. Nevertheless, the Blues never recovered after Arizona burst into the zone.
St. Louis seemed like they might have found their game. Less than two minutes later, Robert Thomas banked one off the goaltender’s pad to tie the game 1-1.
That would be the last of the joy for Blues fans. Things went downhill from there on.
In the second period, the officiating just went into the dumpster. Barely 30 seconds into the frame, the refs just started making up calls and kept that up for the rest of the game.
The game was rather boring as neither team could muster any offense in the second period. There were only a total of nine shots on goal in the second period.
Despite the fact Arizona only had three shots, they managed to score. St. Louis native Clayton Keller blew past the defense while on a power play and slipped the puck through the five hole.
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Despite two power plays in the second and four over all, the Blues just couldn’t get anything done. Arizona just clogged every gap and soft spot on the ice.
Though Arizona kept the Blues in check, they did not do enough to break down the Coyotes. The Blues still had a chance to tie things up right until the end when their opponent found the empty net.
The Blues lost 3-1, though it was not as close as that might indicate.
Cons: Officiating/Taking penalties
Let’s just get this one out of the way. The officiating was awful in this game.
Usually, the only positive you can give the refs these days is they are consistent. That was not even the case here.
The refs called a slash on Sammy Blais late in the first period. Just as the calls have been all season, this one was very weak.
What made the situation worse was the refs did not call the same thing later. Jordan Kyrou took a similar whack while trying to break in on goal. The Blues power play would likely have wasted the opportunity, but that’s not the point.
The call against Hoffman in the second period was garbage too. It used to be you could not contact the hands, but now even a stick against a stick is considered slashing.
The only legitimate calls in this game were the fighting penalties, the trip on David Perron and perhaps one other. The rest just are not what you expect in a professional game. I’ve seen more allowed in peewee games.
The call against Jaden Schwartz at the end of the game was both stomach turning and laughable. Schwartz did not even mean to connect with his opponent’s stick, but because the guy dropped it, it ends up a penalty.
There is something to be said for players adapting and not putting themselves in position to have penalties called. However, when the officials seem determined to call every tiny thing, you’re sucking the life out of the game.
Maybe the plan is to get more offense, but hockey is built on physicality. If you’re not allowed to dig in and fight for the puck because every stick on stick will be called for a penalty, it becomes a different game.
I do my best to respect the decisions of the coaching staff, even when I disagree. You will have a hard time convincing me that going with seven defensemen and only 11 forwards is ever a good idea.
I understand that they were short players to begin with given Zach Sanford being held out. However, why is Jacob de la Rose suddenly chopped liver?
You cannot plan for injuries, but as it turned out it was the worst decision possible. Thomas got injured in the first five minutes of the game and that put the Blues down to 10 forwards. When Schenn got in a fight, the Blues only had nine forwards for five minutes.
Given how much this game was played on special teams, you had ice times all over the map. For a team built on five-on-five play, it was all just a mess.
Jake Walman ended up playing several shifts as a forward. de La Rose is not expected to be a scorer, but he would have been a better option given how things happened.
Several different sources said this game was incredibly hard to watch. Even listening on the radio was hard too.
There’s just no life in this team right now. You get a few good shifts here and there, but there’s something missing.
You do have to take into account the early loss of Thomas and an altered lineup from normal. Even then, there’s just not enough fight.
Credit has to go to Arizona for their part. Whether you think it’s boring or not, they’ve clogged up every avenue the Blues have tried and slammed the door shut on every opportunity.
The issue from this side of the fence is that the Blues have not done enough to alter their game plan. Their power play is horrendous and don’t try to explain it away with the fact Arizona has one of the best PK’s in the league.
Even going 2-13 would have altered the last couple games. Instead, it’s been no goals at all and very few shots.
The Blues have to get it figured out. Every team is dealing with rest problems and everyone has injuries.
St. Louis still has three of their next four games against Arizona. They need to figure out the secret to beating them, or this is going to be a huge point swing in the wrong direction.