After an appalling/amazing 13 total goals scored between the St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks when the Blues began their road trip, the Note was hoping to play a little more of their own style. St. Louis is known for being a tight checking, defensively sound team and they wanted to show that in this game.
The result was what they wanted, but how it came about initially, not so much. Despite keeping the Sharks off the board in the first period, the Blues allowed a few too many chances.
Ville Husso was up to the task, but he had to stop two partial breakaways in the period. He also needed to turn aside a deflection and a grade-A chance from in tight, which he stopped with the glove.
Besides the quality goaltending, the Blues did quite a bit with what little offense they generated. That’s not to say they were inept offensively, but they only had six shots on goal and managed to score.
Vladimir Tarasenko got an assist, picking up his first NHL point in almost a year and a half. Niko Mikkola snapped the puck in from the point, nabbing his first NHL goal.
The second period looked to be much of the same. The Blues jumped out with some early shots, but nothing that troubled the goaltender a ton.
They were solid defensively until the seven-minute mark. A sloppy line change led to Kyle Clifford, a forward, being the only player back to guard a partial break. While he did a good job, the Sharks beat Husso over the glove side to tie the game 1-1.
The Blues kept up the pressure though. They only surrendered five shots in the second and spent the majority of the period in the offensive zone.
Just when it seemed like it would go to the break all square, the Blues struck on the suddenly red-hot power play. David Perron knuckled in a one-timer to make it 2-1.
The Blues took their foot off the gas in the third period, mentally anyway. Early in the period, Ryan O’Reilly took a penalty.
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St. Louis killed that off, but it was not long until the Sharks went back to the power play. They scored almost immediately after that particular tripping call, making the Blues pay for their inability to stay out of the box in crunch time.
Late in the period, the Blues came achingly close to going ahead. Mike Hoffman deflected one that slipped through the five hold but trickled wide of the post. Moments later, Brayden Schenn one-timed one off the heel of his stick and also just went wide of the bar by about an inch.
The Blues went into overtime, at least gaining a point. Unfortunately, that’s all they got.
Ryan O’Reilly failed to get a shot off despite being mere feet from the net. That sprung a counter attack and Blues killer Evander Kane ended it on a shot Husso should have saved.
Cons: Giving up the lead
Call it whatever you want – complacency, fatigue, bitten by injuries, lack of focus, etc. The Blues are just terrible with the lead lately.
Normally, they cannot hold two-plus goal leads, so you would think only being up by one would keep them on their toes. Instead, they didn’t do anything well enough to expect to win.
St. Louis defended well when you consider the entire 60 minutes. However, when they were up by a goal (both times), they rested on their laurels.
No offense, but San Jose is a bad team. They’re not as bad as Anaheim, but they had no business winning this game.
The Blues needed to get an extra goal and bury them. Instead, it was the same old nonsense of not seeing a game out and going to overtime when there was no reason not to win in regulation.
This loss is not on Ville Husso. He played very well.
However, the human brain is wired to remember the thing we have seen most recently. So, you cannot let him off the hook for a shot he should have saved.
Things should have transpired differently in the offensive zone on that shift. They did not and it resulted in a partial break for Kane.
It was a good shot, right at the area under the glove and over the pad. That said, Husso got a piece of it and just needed to be quicker with the glove.
I’m not sure if he misread it or thought he had the glove where it needed to be. He’s gotta save that though and this is coming from someone who never really blames the goaltender.
On the positive side, since the Blues offense was unable to get it done, Husso was also a big reason they got a point. San Jose did not generate much offense, but when they did, the Blues let them waltz right in on goal.
Husso had to save so many shots from within two or three yards of his net that it was ridiculous. St. Louis defended well in spurts, just as they played offense well in spurts, but their goaltender bailed them out too many times for a team that should have crushed this opponent the way they were playing.
Cons: Kyrou and O’Reilly
Ryan O’Reilly has been one of, if not the only consistent forward for the Blues, so maybe you give him a pass for an off game. Nevertheless, when the captain is off, bad things tend to happen.
St. Louis was not punished for his offense, but O’Reilly keeps getting put into the penalty box. We can complain about refereeing all we want, but he’s putting himself into spots where refs can even think about making these calls. That’s not like him at all.
Couple that with the poor play of Jordan Kyrou and it’s not a great top line. Kyrou seems intent on only looking for Vladimir Tarasenko, no matter what the situation is.
Prior to Tarasenko’s return, Kyrou looked at ease on the ice. He was confident in his game and driving the net to score goals.
Suddenly, he’s reverted to his junior form where he’s trying to be pass first. That’s not what gained him success in the NHL thus far.
I get it. You’re still technically a rookie and the star scorer is on your line, so you feel the need to defer.
Craig Berube needs to have one of his patented talks with Kyrou. Spell out his role in black and white, because the Blues have enough passers to set up Vlady without Kyrou trying to be another one.
This is one of those losses that just sticks in your craw and gives you that sour feeling under your jawline. It’s fine to lose games, but not when you take into account how the game went.
The Blues were playing a goaltender who has been shaky and not had much success against them. They should have lit him up, but only managed two goals.
The Sharks had some good pushes, but if the Blues defend like they can the entire game, this is a 2-0 win. San Jose mustered little to no offense on their own. They mainly took advantage of the opportunities gifted to them by St. Louis.
I try not to take credit away from a team that wins, but it just doesn’t feel like San Jose did enough to get two points out of this game. It had no business going into overtime and the Blues had no business not getting the win.
But, as they have much of the season, bone headed plays are made at the worst times.
What is worse is that the Blues gave away points against some of the bottom feeders in their division. It’s good to get any point you can, but when two were within their grasp and you have a long stretch against Vegas, Colorado and Minnesota coming up, those lost points might haunt you.