The St. Louis Blues came into this game on the brink of elimination. They knew they needed their best performance to stay in the series.
Unfortunately, while their minds knew it, the body didn’t seem to care. The Blues came out and had a very lackluster first period.
You could tell they wanted to play better. The legs or the will or whatever just would not respond.
The Colorado Avalanche did not even look that great. They looked like they had a little less energy too, but the Blues could not take advantage.
The Blues seemed so focused on defending that they had nothing left for anything else. As had happened all series, St. Louis would defend well but either not clear it or clear it with a chance to break into the offensive zone and have to dump it because they had no energy and needed a change.
The Blues ended the period with six shots, but none really challenged that much. The team’s best chance was when Ivan Barbashev was all alone in front but pushed the puck wide without even forcing a save.
The second period opened with a little more jump, but the worry was when St. Louis got caught out. Colton Parayko played a single shift that lasted for 2:15.
St. Louis survived that and then seemed to play much smarter. They still passed too much, but the chips and drives were much better.
The Blues caught a break about five minutes in. A lofted pass went zone to zone and found Vladimir Tarasenko. The maligned forward made no mistake and roofed the shot to give the Blues their first lead of the series at 1-0.
Unfortunately, that didn’t last long enough. After the Blues had almost killed off a bogus penalty, Colorado snapped one past Jordan Binnington for the power play goal and a 1-1 score.
The Blues just couldn’t reestablish themselves. They were not playing poorly, but they kept backing off and eventually it cost them.
Another shot from the point got deflected, leaving Binnington with no chance. Even with the Blues scoring first, it felt like the end was inevitable once that one went in.
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The Blues simply generated no offense at all. They had no shots on goal for the first five-plus minutes of the third period.
Marco Scandella had a turnover in the offensive zone and failed to get back to help out on a two-on-one. Since it was the Avs’ top line on the ice, of course they scored to make it 3-1.
St. Louis got a power play goal from Tarasenko with about half the period left. It got some energy into the building but the light of hope was still dim.
Colorado finished things off with two empty-net goals. It was a disappointing, but fitting end to how the series had gone.
Cons: Lack of shots
The Blues offense had been sporadic, at best, for much of the regular season. It got even worse in the playoffs.
The Blues tried to get the energy out there, but as mentioned, there just was not anything in the tank. They spent so much energy defending, there was nothing left to spend on the offensive end and it showed.
St. Louis only had six shots on goal in the first period. The amount of scoring chances was next to nothing the entire game, but in the first for sure.
The Blues had 11 shots through two periods. They did not get their 12th shot until there was only about 15 minutes left.
Even if every shot was a golden scoring opportunity, which it was not, that’s just not enough. The Blues have always been a quality over quantity team, but you still need to get pucks on net to even have a chance.
Credit has to go to Colorado for blocking shots the way a playoff team does. Still, to finish the game with only six scoring chances and 15 shots was never going to get it done.
Haters gonna hate. I am not here to say that Vladimir Tarasenko played a great series or he was the only player out there giving their all because that’s not the case.
In this game, Tarasenko showed he cared. He might not have been the sharpest in the first period, but the entire roster except for Binnington was not on the right foot in the first period.
Tarasenko showed why he needs to stay with the Blues. Don’t give me any nonsense about consistency because there’s really no such thing as a consistent scorer in the NHL.
It’s a streaky sport and Tarasenko is a streaky scorer in a streaky sport. He scored in this game though and they were not lucky goals.
Tarasenko came up big in this game when almost nobody did. Fans can diminish the goals if they choose, because they came in a losing effort, but who else scored when things were on the line?
Tarasenko found his form, even if only for a period or two. Both goals were quintessential Tarasenko goals.
He roofed it off the corner of the crossbar and in. The second goal was just as nice.
Tarasenko made no mistake, going high again and giving the Blues some hope.
Cons: No energy
I’m not going to accuse this team of not caring, because I don’t think that is the case. I think the Blues wanted to go out there, put on a show and give fans a reason to believe.
However, the body simply doesn’t always respond. Call it an excuse or whatever you will, but the Blues were just spent physically.
Maybe the injuries and the protocols and not being able to hang out on the road finally caught up to them. Whether intentional or not, the Blues looked like a team that just could not give any more, no matter how much they desperately wanted to.
This was a fitting end to the season, but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow. This game was the season encapsulated pretty well.
The Blues were just outdone by the opponent and themselves. Nobody should ever think Colorado did not deserve to win or lucked into it.
The Blues got outplayed in every aspect of the game other than goaltending. However, your goalie cannot score and can only defend so many quality shots.
St. Louis reverted to their early season problems where they kept passing it off just to pass it. More often than not, the passing target had no opportunity to do anything with the puck, even if they cleanly handled it.
The Blues basically panicked. They got too antsy too many times when they needed to keep calm and make a smarter, more patient play.
As a Blues fan, you just wanted to see the team play better. Maybe they would have lost the series anyway, but we never got to see a real game of Blues hockey.
Again, credit goes to the Avalanche for not allowing them a chance to get going. Even so, the Blues just couldn’t muster enough to counteract anything.
Blame that on coaching. Blame that on players. Blame it on the GM for assembling a team that did not quite fit the coaching style.
Whatever the reason, the Blues just had a poor year and a bad playoffs.
Now, it’s time to take a breather and look to see where this team can improve. There is no need for whole-sale changes, but this roster will have a different look come the Fall of 2021.