St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2021-22 Game 3 At Vegas

St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91)Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91)Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /
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The St. Louis Blues have had an up and down season in just three games as far as their starts go. So far, it seems that the Blues are rearing and ready to go in the odd numbered games.

St. Louis came out like a house on fire in the first period. They dominated the Vegas Golden Knights in the first eight minutes of the opening frame.

Unfortunately, in typical Blues fashion, they allowed the first goal of the game despite the hot start. St. Louis took one too many passes on their own offensive chance, which led to a two-on-one and a rebound goal for the 1-0 Vegas lead.

The Blues rebounded nicely for the rest of the first period, but still failed to score. Even intermission analyst Wayne Gretzky felt the Blues outplayed Vegas.

Thankfully, St. Louis did not let this affect them. They came out just as strong offensively in the second period and finally cashed in.

After more good pressure, it was Brandon Saad to score his first in a Blues uniform. Saad banged in a rebound, after David Perron‘s chance was blocked, to make it 1-1.

The rest of the second was odd. The game flowed back and forth and had tremendous pace, but there was a lack of true chances to score.

The third period calmed down in terms of back and forth flow, but the shots were still coming. There were over 70 combined shots before the third period was halfway done.

The Blues never lost focus though. They managed to capitalize on a Vegas turnover to gain the lead. Jordan Kyrou would find Vladimir Tarasenko and the Blues were up 2-1 with about 10 minutes left.

St. Louis made it a little nervy by sitting back a bit too much, allowing Vegas to get some chances on goal. However, Jordan Binnington stood tall and the defense stepped up when needed.

Ivan Barbashev iced the game with an empty net goal. The Blues held on for a 3-1 win.

Pros: Tarasenko

Tarasenko was a bit off in Arizona, but still created a chance or two. For the second game out of three, however, he had a solid overall game.

In the first period, he looked like the Vlady of old. He was flying around, skating with speed and also getting physical along the boards.

Tarasenko is never going to be a kind of guy looking to blow someone up, but if he’s digging in along the walls and throwing shoulders in, the Blues are getting a quality turnout by their forward. He was also generating chances.

Though there were a few sloppy plays late in the second, Tarasenko was very unlucky to not have one or two goals as he had four shots after two periods. His best look was on the right side of the slot and a glove save denied him his first of the season.

In the end, Tarasenko would get rewarded. Roughly halfway through the third period, Jordan Kyrou found Vlady on a two-on-one and Tarasenko tucked it in to give the Blues a 2-1 lead.

Cons: Jennifer Botterill

Ok, this one is a bit picky, but when you’re on a national telecast, you’d like to think the announcers could get the player names correct. Maybe we are all just too scarred from years of dealing with Pierre McGuire’s Petra-angelo.

Unfortunately, while McGuire was annoying, at least he stayed consistent. Poor Jennifer Botterill ended up saying his name about six different ways.

The worst was when a frog jumped into her throat and she called him Petralangelo.

To be fair, Botterill was much better than AJ Mleczko, but the name issue got annoying even though it was a player no longer on the Blues.

Pros: Binnington

Recently, I wrote about Binnington looking to prove himself to Team Canada. 42 saves later and he made me look pretty good on that idea.

Binnington was not under siege all game long. Despite allowing that many shots against, the Blues defense actually did a pretty good job overall.

However, Binnington was called on to make some pretty solid saves. He was up to the task.

Frankly, he could have had a shutout. St. Louis could have avoided the two-on-one that led to Vegas’ goal if they would’ve been more decisive on offense at the time. On top of that, Binner actually made the initial save, but the puck went right back to William Karlsson.

The thing about Binnington so far is, regardless of stats, he’s made bailing out his teammates look quite easy at times. They were not easy saves.

A deflected puck late in the second period looked like a routine stop. However, it was all about Binnington’s positioning to take that puck in the chest as opposed to anywhere else or having it score.

Overview

Maybe it was because it was the third late game in a row, but this contest did not feel quite as intense as the previous two, yet it was a better game overall. That is true both for the Blues and for the game as a whole.

There were mistakes and a few sloppy moments in the grand scheme of things, but this was probably the Blues best 60 minute performance of the young season. They were just consistent.

Other than that short period where they invited a little too much pressure after taking the 2-1 lead, there were not any sustained periods where the Blues took their foot off the gas. Ideally, they would have converted on some breakouts earlier in the contest, but those things happen.

The only things the Blues needed to clean up in this game were a couple mental gaffes. Kyrou got poke checked at the blue line, which could have led to a counter breakaway, but didn’t. The Blues were careless with a few perimeter passes into the middle in the second period as well, but they recovered.

I saw some comments on Twitter about Colorado and Vegas missing a couple players each and that’s true. However, the Blues also don’t have Oskar Sundqvist yet and Pavel Buchnevich was serving his first of a two-game suspension.

Next. Binnington playing for Canada starting job. dark

Maybe those two aren’t the high end quality of the guys Colorado or Vegas were minus, but it still bears discussing. You play the opponent that is on the ice and those guys that suited up were still very good. The Blues beat them when the clock hit zero and that’s the bottom line.