After the St. Louis Blues lost their first game of the season against Colorado, they needed a bounce back game. That’s exactly what they got when they played the Chicago Blackhawks, who looked every bit as bad as I had predicted.
The question after that game was whether the Blues could start a new winning streak or if the win was more due to their opponent. The Los Angeles Kings seemed determined to be a step up from Chicago, but the first period was quite lackluster.
It was an odd 20 minutes of play. It had everything in terms of hits and shots and chances, but it was very disjointed.
There was no energy in the building, even though the players were playing hard. The hits were few and far between, not generating much buzz.
Shots were infrequent, though the quality of the chances was actually pretty good. In total, there were just 16 combined shots. Jonathan Quick was tested more, but both goaltenders kept the 0’s on the board through one.
The second period got underway and the referees felt like they needed to make an impact. Colton Parayko got called for lifting someone’s stick…I mean hooking. The Blues would kill that off.
About eight minutes in, the Blues would get a power play of their own. After not generating a lot, Vladimir Tarasenko whipped a one-time shot on, Quick made a mistake by bobbling it and Brayden Schenn put home the rebound for a 1-0 lead.
The Blues started to put a little more of a hold on the game after that. Unfortunately, they didn’t add another goal in the middle frame.
That would come back to haunt them. Though the Kings had done next to nothing to put consistent pressure on St. Louis, the Blues let them hang around.
Then, St. Louis got extremely careless with the puck. After playing with fire by turning it over on several zone exits, the Kings finally tied it after the Blues failed to gain the offensive zone.
That goal gave the Kings a lot of jump. They started hemming the Blues in their zone and would eventually grab the lead.
The officiating kept making mistakes, but we’ll get into that. Fortunately, the Blues never gave up even though they had one of their worst periods of the season.
Tarasenko got another hard shot on goal that Quick could not keep hold of. Krug crashed the net after a Jordan Kyrou blind pass and swatted it in for a 2-2 tie and at least a point.
Sadly, that was about the last good thing for the team. The Blues got to a shootout thanks to an unbelievable save by Binnington, but they had no shots on goal for themselves in the overtime period.
Though St. Louis had a chance to claim the extra point in the shootout, it was not to be. The Kings tied it and Schenn put one wide for a Kings win.
Pros: Tarasenko’s point streak
It’s funny how the Tarasenko haters have all but disappeared. They’re still lurking, but they’re currently hiding in the weeds of these ridiculous Jack Eichel trade rumors talking about how getting rid of a player who looked to be hurt but isn’t for a player that actually is hurt makes sense.
Regardless of all that, Tarasenko kept up his stellar play. He did not register a goal, but he figured into all the scoring.
The first goal, you could (and should) rightly say that Quick needed to make the save and hold on. However, you need to give Tarasenko credit for actually taking a one timer – something he is not comfortable doing – and still generating enough power to force the bobble.
That assist, earned or not, gave Vladi a seven-game point streak. It also tied for him for eighth with Al MacInnis for all-time points scored by the Blues.
Tarasenko would break that tie by helping the team tie the game. He did not get the primary assist as that went to Kyrou, but without his shot bounding off of Quick, the play dies and the Blues lose in regulation.
As fans, we get on the referees far too often. Officiating is one of the most difficult things to do, especially in hockey.
That said, the Blues have had some really awful referees in the last handful of games. You’re going to have mistakes in every game, but the stuff we have seen against Colorado and Los Angeles just fuels this fire that th eleague has something against the Blues.
All in all, there were not a ton of penalties called. There were only five total power plays handed out. Four went to the Kings.
The Blues are often guilty of silly penalties, but these were something else. On the first penalty, Parayko lifted the stick of his opponent, but it was called a hook.
Later in the game, Brandon Saad got pushed into the goalie. That was goalie interference, apparently.
In the third, the Kings shot the puck out from their defensive zone. That got no delay of game penalty because the defender’s stick hit Bozak’s stick, thus the sound fooled the refs into thinking it had been deflected.
Cons: Third period and shootout
The fact the Blues scored to tie the game hid the fact that the third period of this contest might have been their worst collective 20 minutes to date. The amount of mental errors and lack of intelligent play showcased how off they were the entire frame.
It was a myriad of turnovers and blunders with the puck in some of the worst areas on the ice. If the second period Blues would have continued, they would have won. If we had gotten the third period Blues the entire game, the Kings would have ran away with the game.
The shootout was just terrible. As good as Binnington looked throughout the game, he was equally bad in the shootout.
If the Blues got one save from him, they win the game. He was beaten on all the shots and only two posts kept the one shot out.
The Blues shootout woes continued for the shooters too. I would take Tarasenko all day long on a breakaway, but he rarely scores on the shooutouts.
Schenn may not have a poor shootout percentage, but it seems like the puck always rolls and he doesn’t even test the goalies more often than not.
Kyrou only scored because the puck happened to hit the post and bounce off Quick and in. Even though they could have won, they didn’t really deserve to.
Pros: The push back
While the Blues were just north of horrendous in the third period, you have to give them credit. They found a way to push back and steal a point from this game.
In years past, the team would have quickly surrendered an empty net goal and it would have been a 3-1 or 4-1 loss. Instead, they found a way to regain some possession, even while they were down a man, four on three.
They crashed the net instead of being held on the perimeter and tied the game. That’s the mark of a good team.
This was a fair result for how the entirety of the game went. The Blues were the better team in the first and could not score.
The Blues were far better in the second and only managed one goal. You knew they were going to regret those missed opportunities and they did.
The Kings were better in the third and grabbed a lead. St. Louis was fortunate to get out of there with a point.
They got outplayed during the overtime and were lucky to even have a chance to win in the shootout. Being happy with the point is definitely a reasonable reaction after this game.
On to San Jose.