St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2021 Game 45 Vs Colorado Avalanche

St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports /
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The St. Louis Blues desperately needed a win over the Colorado Avalanche. After dropping some depressing games, the team needed to feel like they were turning some sort of corner.

Alas, the Blues had about as bad a start as you could possibly imagine. Brayden Schenn got a penalty called on him not even 30 seconds.

Then, Robert Bortuzzo took a dumb penalty shortly after. He got up high on a hit, busted someone’s nose open and yet fans said it was a weak call.

Colorado scored on the five-on-three power play shortly after. They would add a second goal not long after that after the Blues imploded defensively.

It had the feel of a game that was going to turn into another 6-0 or 7-1 laugher. Thankfully, the Blues have Ryan O’Reilly.

The captain finally had enough and took matters into his own hands. He scored the team’s first goal by not giving up on the forecheck, stealing the puck and flinging it in off the defender.

O’Reilly would tie the game by faking the goaltender out, exposing his weakness of cheating off the post and tucking it in.

Those moments seemed to help the Blues find their game. They were not pretty goals, but goals that proved how the Blues should play.

They kept it up later into the period. Following a scramble, the puck came to Ivan Barbashev on the right circle and he took care of business to gain a 3-2 lead.

However, the Blues held on to that lead by the skin of their teeth as the Avs were buzzing in the final two minutes. That would carry into the second period.

St. Louis did not play a poor period, or at least not as poor as so many other second periods. It was not great though.

The Blues continually turned the puck over. They also kept getting put in the box, where the Avs would tie the game on the power play.

Somehow, the Blues managed to only surrender that one goal in the middle frame. Given how things have gone recently, they had to feel good about being tied into the third instead of behind.

Things weren’t squeaky clean in the third period, but the Blues got the job done. Offensively, they were finally driving the net with regularity and getting pucks on target.

While special teams was not great throughout the game, they came up huge in the third. The Blues finally broke through on the power play on their fourth try.

St. Louis managed to set up the play they try quite often, but this time it worked. Mike Hoffman unleashed a one-timer from the right circle that was hard to see even on replay, but it gave the Blues a 4-3 lead.

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Later in the period, the Blues got called for another penalty. Though they needed some big saves and Colorado had a lot of possession, St. Louis killed it off.

They would add another goal into an empty net, which is rare as well. Even after that, it was not a comfortable end to the game, but a 5-3 win is more than acceptable.

Pros: O’Reilly

This is one of the easiest choices to select as a good thing to come out of a Blues game in quite some time. The captain, Ryan O’Reilly, pulled a Thanos and said he’d do it himself.

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O’Reilly’s frustration was palpable early in the game. The team wasn’t playing well and, if we’re honest, O’Reilly was somewhat to blame for the Avalanche’s second goal.

He would not let this team give up though. The first goal he scored was nothing but pure effort and determination. There was nothing pretty about it, other than the little move through the defender’s legs. In fact, it wasn’t even a real shot.

The second goal was just a smart play and an example of what the Blues needed to be doing several games ago. Devan Dubnyk had been cheating off the post for quite some time since the Blues were so enamored with the cross-ice pass. O’Reilly finally made him pay for that by just scooping one toward goal.

The captain would add a third goal on the empty netter. It was the third of his career and the second this season. Interestingly, all of them have come with the Blues. The Blues needed all his goals in this one.

Cons: Penalties

There is no doubt that the Blues take some bad penalties. The Bortuzzo one early in the game was a prime example.

The counterpoint to that is that the officiating in the NHL right now is as bad as it has ever been. One of the few things that is currently uniting fans across the league is their general disdain for the calls the officials are making.

All together, there were nine power plays handed out. Out of those calls, there were four or five that did not need to be called.

It should be noted the Blues benefitted from this. Nazem Kadri‘s hold penalty was pretty weak and St. Louis would win the game with that power play goal.

Things evened out with a poor trip call on Schenn later in the game, but it’s just the general idea. Two refs was supposed to help, not make things worse.

Pros: Binnington

The boxscore won’t show it, but Jordan Binnington was a huge reason the Blues won this game. The Blues were not peppered with shots, since they only allowed 31 against, which is roughly average in today’s game.

However, the chances the Avs got were very dangerous. It seemed as though this game was going to be a blowout after the first couple minutes, but Binnington kept the team alive.

With it already 2-0, he denied a grade-A chance that kept the Blues alive and allowed O’Reilly’s efforts to cut the lead in half later, instead of making it 3-1.

Binnington had to make several key saves throughout the game. He’s had flashier games or made more saves, but this was a much needed win and he definitely won the game as opposed to just came along for the ride.

Cons: The start

The Blues battled back. You have to give them credit for responding to the will of their captain and goaltender.

However, they just cannot hope to do this all the time. Taking two penalties in the first minute of the game is just not acceptable, regardless of our opinion on the validity of each call.

The way the game began, most fans were very justified in thinking this could be another 6-0 or 7-1 blowout in the Avs favor. If not for the goaltending, it likely would have been.

Overview

This win was about as needed for this team as any they’ve had all season, if not more. If nothing else, the Blues needed to prove they could beat the Avalanche when the final horn sounded.

The Blues have played with Colorado in plenty of games, but not come out on top. Maybe they needed things to fall their way just to show that the first win of the season was no fluke.

There was a lot that went wrong with this game, such as the turnovers and the poor decisions near the blue line or neutral zone. There was a lot that needed to happen too.

The Blues needed another big goal from a scorer and Hoffman provided. They needed some gritty, effort goals and you could give that to both O’Reilly and Barbashev, the latter of which had three cracks at goal before finally banging it in.

They needed their goalie to steal one, which Binnington did. The Blues were more physical than we’d seen in awhile too, which always helps them.

This game means little other than an important two points and getting back into a playoff spot. We can’t expect momentum to come out of this.

Next. Blues defense not the issue many think it is. dark

Regardless, we also can’t care. The next game will be Monday and the Blues will need to do a lot better, but for now we can feel good for one night.