The St. Louis Blues knew they’d have their hands full in their second game against the Colorado Avalanche. The Blues came into the game without their captain in Ryan O’Reilly and a key free agent scorer they brought in without Brandon Saad.
On top of that, the Blues had to know Colorado was going to come in angry. St. Louis took the Avs behind the woodshed the first time they played and Colorado had not played very well since then. What better time for them to have a good game than against the team that started their skid?
That’s basically what happened. Colorado looked like they had a goal in the first couple minutes of the game, but it was ultimately called back after a replay.
St. Louis lacked physical energy, seeming to have heavy legs, and that would lead to plenty of penalties called. In the first period alone, the Blues gave the Avalanche three power plays.
Despite that, St. Louis killed off all those first period penalties. They also scored the first goal of the game.
Colton Parayko fired a blast on net that barely snuck through the five-hole. It was a shot that likely should have been saved, but also showed why Parayko needs to just shoot more.
The Blues had next to no offense though. Colorado tied it late in the period and 1-1 was a fair result, given how the game had gone.
Unfortunately, it got no better for the Blues. If they lacked energy in the first, they were stuck in quicksand in the second.
The Blues moved their legs, but went absolutely nowhere. They were often pinned in their defensive zone and looked like a mid-tier English Premier League team struggling to gain any possession against one of the teams at the top of the table.
The amount of penalties taken by the Blues finally caught up with them. They allowed a power play goal to the Avs, who grabbed a 2-1 lead. Then, of course, enemy of the team, Nazem Kadri had to score to make it 3-1. That goal came off a failure by Jake Neighbours to dump the puck in and an odd man rush the other way.
The third period was not much better, despite a scrap that involved everyone on the ice near the second period. The Blues had a tiny bit more jump, but not enough.
They did score the first goal of the period, with Brayden Schenn finishing off a nice backdoor play. Sadly, that only lasted about two shifts and then Cale Makar slipped one under Jordan Binnington‘s armpit to restore the two-goal lead at 4-2.
The Blues were sloppy toward the end, but still found a little jump. They got the game within one again too.
It was Vladimir Tarasenko to score his fourth to make it 4-3. The snipe went glove side from the high slot on a partial break.
Alas, it was too little, too late. The Blues had a couple chances late in the game and with the goalie pulled. One was a deflection that went just wide on the blocker side, but it all ended in a 4-3 loss and the first loss of the season.
Officiating any sport is incredibly difficult – much more difficult than we make it seem from the comfort of our couches and chairs. Try doing it yourself and you’ll know.
Fans always come in with a bias, so if you don’t call it the way they see it, the official is blamed for bias. Sadly, this game did nothing to dissuade that line of thinking.
Just about all the calls went against the Blues and the Avalanche got away with everything. The disparity was somewhat shocking.
The Blues did themselves no favors by reaching too often. They got caught flat footed and on their heels, putting them in poor position too many times, giving the officials an excuse to make the calls. Given that, the calls were still pretty poor.
A phantom hook that would barely have been a trip, had that been the call, was the weakest of them. You could argue with almost every call other than the holding against Torey Krug. Even that one, the Avalanche player embelished.
In addition, there were some egregious misses that could have helped the Blues. Robert Thomas got tripped early in the game and Colton Parayko was on the receiving end of a trip that would be used by the league to show what a clear trip was, yet neither were called.
The Avalanche probably still deserved to win. When the officials make plenty of mistakes, that hurts though.
Cons: Heavy legs
St. Louis has one thing going for them when it comes to baseball and hockey. It seems the entire team is either hot or extremely cold.
We saw that with the Blues in this game. All 18 skaters, and even Binnington at times, looked like they had heavy legs and just could not get moving.
Those of us that played sports, or even just go to the gym, know this happens from time to time. No matter how much the mind wants to push you or how mentally motivated you are, sometimes the body just gives you the middle finger.
What happened to the Blues in this game is what I call lazy hip syndrome (not a real thing). If you’ve ever done bent-over rows or deadlifts in the gym, you know what I’m talking about.
What happens is you don’t bend properly at the hips. Instead of keeping your body weight distributed down through your legs, pushing your hips backward to make yourself look like a number 7, you get lazy.
This makes your upper body weight sit too far forward, like an upside-down L. It puts you off balance, often makes you roll the weight onto your toes unnecessarily and puts the back in an awkward position.
In the gym, this leads to injury. In sports, it leads to reaching with the arms, but the arms are all dangly and weak with no core stability behind it.
This happened time after time with the Blues. You know things are bad when even with Parayko’s size and reach, he’s unable to jab pucks loose because he was reaching with no power.
These things happen, but it’s odd when it’s the entire team all at once. Sometimes you have a handful of guys that can break you out of it, but it looked like everyone had a long day before they got to the rink.
Forgive me for the lack of pros, but there just wasn’t enough positive in this game to deserve an entire section.
The goal from Tarasenko was very nice. It was the kind of connection between him and Thomas that you hope for every night.
The comeback attempt in the third was good as well. It just never felt like it would be completed once Colorado got.
When you view the 60 minutes as a whole, Colorado simply deserved to win the game. They played harder for longer, won those small battles in the muck of the game and finished more plays than St. Louis did.
If you want to put a positive spin on it, the Blues had a poor game, had the officials against them and had very few shots on goal but stayed in it until the end. Three goals on 18 shots isn’t too bad.
In the postgame interviews, the players mentioned they just didn’t have their skating legs. This game could have been completely different if they had.
Nevertheless, it’s just one loss in a long season. Switch the focus to Chicago, who comes to town Saturday, and start a new win streak.