St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2021 Game 32 At Vegas Golden Knights

The St. Louis Blues continued their road trip out west. This time, the Blues took on the Vegas Golden Knights.

After winning both games in San Jose, you thought St. Louis would have some jump and momentum. Instead, we got another lackluster first period out of the Blues.

St. Louis was pitiful offensively. They did not get their second shot on goal until over nine minutes had gone by.

That was actually their first even-strength shot. This team used to be dominant at five-on-five, but now struggle to generate anything until they’ve seen a goal hit their own net.

That happened in Vegas. The Blues lost a faceoff and the Golden Knights scored almost immediately afterward, giving them the 1-0 lead.

The Blues just sleep walked through the rest of the opening period. They started getting into the game a little, but the mistakes kept showing up.

St. Louis took a penalty late in the period, but got to the intermission without surrendering a power play goal. They also killed off the final 44 seconds when the second period began.

Still, the Blues began finding a stride. They were carried mostly by their top line, with Jaden Schwartz being the workhorse and Vladimir Tarasenko as the creator.

The Blues tied the game on just such a play. Schwartz fed to Tarasenko, who just missed scoring on a wraparound and then Vince Dunn tied it.

The Blues poor luck showed back up in the third period. Mark Stone ran around the goal and tried to force a pass through the slot that went off a Blues skate. The puck came right back to him and he sent it to the side of the net, but it went off Vince Dunn’s skate and in for a 2-1 Vegas lead.

Instead of turning on the afterburners, the Blues just milled about. There was hardly any offense and more defensive zone turnovers.

After a silly offside on the offensive end, the Blues let Vegas come down into their zone. St. Louis could not clear, yet again, and due to a defensive breakdown, the Golden Knights slipped it into an empty net.

Minutes after that, Vegas kept the hammer down. After a ridiculous slashing call against the Blues, the mustard packets scored on the following power play to make it 4-1.

The wheels were completely off after a Jordan Kyrou penalty. Stone scored again, making you want to punch that weird nose of his right into his face, but there was no fight in the Blues.

Cons: Getting scored on first

The opening goal of this game left a lot to be desired. It was a bad play all around.

The Blues got caught with their fourth line out too long and they iced the puck. St. Louis lost the ensuing faceoff and Vegas wheeled around the circle only to fire one through a mysterious gap in Jordan Binnington.

There is little doubt that Binnington did not expect a shot at that time or from that place. Nevertheless, he needs to make that save.

Beyond Binnington, though, the Blues have to find a way to stop allowing the first goal. Their ability to come from behind is admirable and impressive, but frustrating.

St. Louis has allowed the first goal in six-straight games now. They’ve been scored on first in 20 of their 31 previous games, making it 21 of 32 now.

The Blues were 10-9-1 in those 20 games. It just doesn’t make sense for a team with as much talent as they have can’t get their motor going until they’ve been scored on.

Pros/Cons: Dunn

Vince Dunn has been an enigma wrapped inside a riddle in 2021. For every good play, there is one or two plays that make you wonder why he’s still in the lineup, or vice versa.

This was one of those games. With the goal, you saw a good example of his offensive ability.

He has a good sense of when to jump into the play. He can snipe with the best of them, as far as defensive goals.

However his hockey sense just takes a vacation at other times. In the second period, he was skating up the middle of his own zone and somehow turned the puck over. That did not lead to a goal, but it is mind boggling how something like that can even happen.

Dunn was partially to blame on the Stone goal that put Vegas up too. While there was not much he could have done about it, he’s had poor luck, just like the entire team. Both passes went off his skate. It’s just one of those nights for the Blues defender.

Cons: Offense

The Vegas Golden Knights are the best team in the division, if not the league this season. There should be no credit taken away from them and the game plan they implement against the Blues.

That said, this was another example of the Blues just not doing anything to counter. 16 shots is unacceptable.

It’s not just the low total, but St. Louis had nothing to offer. They didn’t break into the zone, they didn’t funnel pucks toward the net and they didn’t threaten at all.

I’m tired of hearing how Craig Berube wants the team to work the puck around to tire teams out and then get quality chances. That’s fine when you’re in command and playing your game, but the Blues have not been there for awhile even when they’ve won.

No, you do not want to just toss pucks at the net from the boards or bad angles in tight. Yet, the Blues pass up good chances to shoot just because they want to set up someone else. Can’t anyone on this team be a leader and a little selfish?

Nobody cares about the assist five minutes after it happened. All we care about is the goal.

Clusters of shots don’t matter either. You cannot go five or 10 minutes between shots. Three shots on goal in the final period, when you should be pouring it on, is pathetic.

Overview

There is no doubt how good Vegas is. However, I just don’t buy that they are as good as the Blues make them look.

They’re still playing with a team full of second and third-line players from other franchises. Yes, they’ve found the right mixture, but St. Louis makes them look unstoppable.

The Blues didn’t do a damn thing to counter this team at all. They let them build speed through the neutral zone instead of taking the body. The Blues got outhit and lost. Typically the team with more hits doesn’t win because if you’re hitting more, you don’t have the puck. St. Louis didn’t have the puck and also got outhit.

The penalties called were bad and should have been non calls, but the penalty kill is stuck in cement again. Every single PK unit across the league (this is going back to last season) pressures the hell out of the Blues. St. Louis’ PK stands around in their defensive position and just shuffles back and forth.

The Blues don’t have a ton of speed, but they’ve got horses. This weird thing of all special teams units being anchored to little zones is holding them back, whether that’s by coaching design or player laziness.

Binnington was not good, yet again. He was not to blame for this loss, but it feels like the lack of support is wearing on him. The body language is not good and he looks irritated almost immediately after being score on all the time now.

It’s great to get Jacob de La Rose and Robert Thomas back, but it makes no sense that the Blues play worse when they get these guys back. We shouldn’t expect a goal or big play right off the hop, but just the energy boost should propel the team and it has the opposite affect.

St. Louis has the vast majority of their remaining games against the top three teams in their division. They better find a way to win or the playoffs might be a pipe dream, let alone a Stanley Cup.