St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2021 Game 54 At Los Angeles Kings

St. Louis Blues Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis Blues Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Blues just don’t have any luck when it comes to their roster in 2021. While plenty of fans were hoping to get starters rested, the only way players get rest this year is if they’re injured.

The Blues opened their 54th game with more lineup juggling. The team saw the return of Torey Krug, but plenty of changes elsewhere.

Niko Mikkola was originally listed as a healthy scratch, but the radio broadcast revealed that was not the case, though they did not say what the injury was. Since Mikkola could not go and Jake Walman had what the team believes to be a false covid positive, Steven Santini was forced into action.

As far as the game went, this contest was about as bland as you could get. There were a few moments here and there.

The Blues were fairly physical in the first period. Dakota Joshua got in another fight, making his case to be included in the playoff roster, if for no other reason than his willingness to engage the toughestguys on the opponent.

In terms of offense, there was nearly none for either team. St. Louis had the better of the chances in the first and then practically none in the second period.

The opposite was true of the Los Angeles Kings, doing nearly nothing in the first period and then coming alive in the second. Neither team managed to score through 40 minutes of play and this game had all the hallmarks of an overtime game, which is nothing Blues fans wanted to see, given the west coast start time.

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In the third period, things began to look a little better. The Blues had some solid offensive possessions and finally finished one off to take a 1-0 lead.

Alas, nothing good lasts with this team. They have played 54 games and have 0 shutouts. Shutouts are harder to come by these days than in the past, but to have none is a bit ridiculous. Every mistake the Blues make seems to cost them.

Neither team seemed to grab the game by the scruff with it tied 1-1. The Blues got a power play with 5:27 left, but it was about as good as the power plays we saw early in the year, which is to say not at all.

So, to three-on-three overtime we went. Thank heavens, the Blues wasted little time ending this game.

After cycling around a little bit and almost losing the puck, the Blues got a two-on-one break. David Perron set up Justin Faulk and the defender made no doubt by rifling home the game winner.

Pros: Bozak

The guy is not the flashiest or quickest or best at dangling with the puck, but Tyler Bozak is an old-school hockey player that does all the little things right and then pulls a trick or two out of his sleeve. He’s a grinder with plenty of talent to go along with it, i.e. he fits the Blues like a glove.

It’s no wonder he scored the lone Blues goal in regulation. While Bozak only had two shots on goal, you could still sense he might be the one to break the deadlock.

The nice thing about Bozak is he recognizes situations and doesn’t overthink. Other players, in the same situation, might try to roof the puck and fail to score because they were too close to the net to get it up.

Bozak had seen enough from the goaltender in this game to know the five-hole should be open. So, after fielding a fantastic pass from Jaden Schwartz, Bozak just coolly slid it through the legs and into the net.

Beyond the goal, he’s just so steady. He won the majority of his faceoffs, played on the power play and the penalty kill too. Even when he gets caught out on long shifts, you don’t have the worry of a costly mistake the way you do with some others.

Cons: Second period

Maybe the Blues need to dust off that psychologist from the film The Natural. Playing poorly in the second period is apparently as contagious as bubonic plague.

St. Louis had cleaned up their middle frame woes in recent weeks, but reverted to type the last few games. Thankfully, the Kings were not much better in this game or else the Blues would have been squashed like a bug.

The Blues did not have a shot on goal in the second for well over 10 minutes. St. Louis was not an offensive dynamo in the first period, but the long change in the second is not enough an excuse to explain their lackluster effort in the middle 20.

The Blues ended up with six shots in the period, but most of those came late. Six might have been generous and you would be hard pressed to find a legitimate scoring threat among those six shots.

St. Louis simply cannot continue this trend once the playoffs begin. You have to play hard for 60 minutes and generate offense for 60 minutes. You can’t play rope-a-dope in the second period and expect to win playoff games.

Pros: Faulk

While it’s childish and pointless, sometimes you wish you could go back in time and shove the current results down the throats of all those people who were ready to give up on Justin Faulk back in 2020. Clearly, the talent was always there and it just took time for him to adjust to a new city, new team and new style.

Faulk has been the team’s best defender, both offensively and defensively in 2021 and, though some will aggressively disagree, I would argue Faulk is better this season than Alex Pietrangelo was last season. He’s stood up to the challenge of being the top guy and not shied away.

Faulk led all defenders in ice time again in this game. He got some time on the power play and played the bulk of the time the Blues had killing penalties too.

Then, the goal was exactly why you brought Faulk in. He was as calm and comfortable as a forward in that situation and made no mistake in his effort to end the game.


The worrying thing about this game was the Blues lack of intensity for this game. I fully understand the idea that it’s hard to get up for a game that literally means nothing.

However, the Blues proved in 2020 that they are not capable of just flipping a switch and ramping it up to playoff intensity. They need to show a little more urgency in these final games because the injuries keep coming regardless, so just get everyone used to playing with that intensity and let things happen the way they will.

For most of regulation, the Blues were clearly just gliding through every shift. There just wasn’t a lot of push with the legs and little drive to get into the hard areas.

The Blues have had a bad habit of that against the lesser teams anyway, so with a playoff spot clinched, it really set in. However, you cannot argue with a win, no matter how it came about.

The Blues played well enough for long enough to get two points. They got good goaltending and played relatively well defensively. The offense is another story, but again, there was not a lot of will and you never know who’s going to hit the ice until the puck is dropped.

Next. May 7 will always be Pat Maroon day. dark

The Blues take this win and now prepare for two games against Minnesota. Since there is no chance to catch the Wild, these are also meaningless games, but a good chance to ramp up the ferocity before the playoffs.

Even if the final score doesn’t mean much, how the team plays does.