The old saying goes if not for bad luck, you’d have no luck at all. That is a perfect description of the St. Louis Blues now.
No matter what happens, things just seem to go against them. This continued at the beginning of their April 5 game against the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Blues dominated the first five minutes of play. They were skating, swarming and doing all sorts of things to buzz around the net – except for getting shots.
Vegas scored on a nothing play just 6:25 into the period. They had barely been in the zone, but tossed one toward goal, got a lucky deflection and the 1-0 lead.
You could tell the Blues were deflated. They started climbing their way back into the game and then, boom, another nonsense goal.
This time, the defense got turned around and screened Ville Husso in an effort to get back into position. Of course, there were some fools blaming Husso, but nobody saves that shot with the team’s biggest defenseman taking away his vision..
The Blues bought a little momentum late in the first. With a delayed penalty called, they connected on a pass from the corner to the slot and Tyler Bozak snapped it home to cut the lead in half.
Then, the second period happened. The Blues played alright for a few minutes and then the wheels not only came off but flew off and rolled down the road a few miles.
Vegas scored two goals in 32 seconds. They added another two goals in less than six minutes.
Neither side really cared in the third period, if we are honest. Vegas just wanted to get back to their hotel rooms and the Blues knew they weren’t going to be able to score six goals to win.
The broadcasters tried to be chipper, saying the Blues needed to win the period to get momentum for Wednesday’s game. St. Louis really didn’t even do that.
They had a couple chances that forced decent saves, but it wasn’t as glorious a performance in net for Vegas as Darren Pang would have you believe. St. Louis didn’t get pucks up and you can’t beat a big goalie low.
It was a really disheartening game. Losing is bad enough, but to play so well out of the gate and get embarrassed 6-1 is just a step beyond.
Cons: No resilience
The sad thing about this team is it is a polar opposite of the one that won in 2019 and you still have so many pieces from that team. That team had a next-man-up mentality and overcame every obstacle.
This team shrinks from every challenge and finds no way to bounce back. As soon as a goal is scored, they hang their heads.
In past years, as soon as the Blues got scored on, you’d expect a tough shift and a big push for that tying goal. This year, they’re just trying not to get scored on again.
The Blues don’t get that push until the end of a game, when it’s often too late. In this game, other than a mild push here or there, they just got schooled.
The Blues played well in spurts, but as soon as Vegas scored, you just got the sense it was over. This team used to be able to come back in any game and any situation, but now they seem done just down by one.
Pros: Penalty kill
Are we grasping at straws? Absolutely, yes.
However, when your team gets shelled 6-1, you look for anything that was not terrible. Given how bad specials teams have been to the Blues lately, you take what you can get.
The Blues were well behaved as it was. They only gave Vegas two power plays.
On those penalty kills, they limited the chances against too. They still did not pressure enough, the way other teams pressure the Blues power play, but it got the job done.
One might argue the Golden Knights weren’t even trying on their second power play, already up by six. The Blues still needed to go out there and do the little things, given the bad bounces going against them anyway.
The PK got the job done. That’s more than you can say for the team’s play in most other areas.
This team is not a team right now. They are a collection of people wearing the same sweater, no different than an entire arena of people wearing the same shirt, but not doing anything in unison.
Everything is wrong at the moment. Husso was not to blame tonight, but there was not that big save to tell his defenders to wake up and get right.
The defense was not terrible, but they just don’t have a clue where to be any more. Two or three of the goals were directly because a Blues defenseman was directly in front of Husso, giving him no chance to even attempt reacting.
The offense is nonexistent. We can try to be rosy if we want, but they can get 50 shots or 100 shots and they’re not going to score right now.
The Blues now have two or fewer goals in 10 of their last 11. The big guns are not getting it done, no matter how much we want to cover for them.
St. Louis just doesn’t have that drive right now. As lucky as some of their goals were, Vegas was unlucky to not score more the way that the Blues would just stand still and try to reach for pucks that were within 10 feet of their goal.
I honestly don’t know where the wins come from now. The schedule is not getting easier and the Blues lost or barely squeaked by all their easy games, so it might not have mattered if there was an “easier” game coming up.
They have to grab their own shirt collar and pull themselves up. The mind is a terrible thing, but they have to overcome themselves more than their opponent going forward.