St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2021-22 Game 53 At NY Rangers

St. Louis Blues goaltenderMandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis Blues goaltenderMandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Blues started a three-game swing through the New York area, starting with the New York Rangers. Playing in Madison Square Garden is never easy, but the Rangers have been one of the tougher teams in the Eastern Conference all year. Meanwhile, the Blues were trying to show they can be one of the league’s elite teams.

Despite this, the Blues had a good start to the period. They were winning all the early board battles and forcing the Rangers to do a lot of defending.

However, possession is not everything. The Blues continued their trend of being far too selective in their shots and also not hitting the net.

Their best chance of the first half of the period was a Jordan Kyrou contested break. Even with a strong move back to the middle, Kyrou shot wide.

This lack of offense allowed the Rangers to get their legs under them. While they looked like pushovers during the first five minutes, they started having all the good shifts and forcing bad turnovers by the Blues.

Eventually, the Rangers struck first. Initially, it seemed a dangerous play as the Rangers were cycling the puck off the rush and getting the Blues defense scrambling. Unfortunately, even when guys settled into their positions, a shot from the boards popped off the right pad and came right into the wheelhouse for a Rangers goal.

The St. Louis offense came to life late in the first period. They finally started getting some pucks on net and generating sustained pressure, though the attempt to set up the perfect play was still there.

To start the second, the Blues kept it up. They came within a foot of scoring to tie the game when a shot got through the goalie’s legs, but the Rangers’ back-checking forward got a stick to it before it could trickle over the goal line.

As the period continued, the Blues just seemed to lose interest. They were hanging in there and getting shots, but they were not doing any of the hard things.

There was no traffic. Despite several big rebounds, nobody was around to cash in on them.

Due to this big lull, the Blues allowed the Rangers to double their lead. Though it seemed as though the Blues snuffed out the play on the rush, they failed to clear the zone and poor positioning by Ville Husso allowed a stuff play to make it 2-0.

Just when it seemed the Blues had fallen asleep for the night, the poor goal allowed seemed to wake them. They scored on the ensuing shift.

It was a fantastic passing play, eventually finished off by the captain. Just when you thought the Blues would make a game of it, they completely turned things in their favor.

Ivan Barbashev snapped one glove side to tie the game on a partial breakaway. Then, David Perron gave the Blues a 3-2 lead roofing a shot from in close with under a minute to go in the second.

The Blues scored three goals on three shots. Momentum meant absolutely nothing in this game.

The third period began much like the first. The Blues had the better of play but didn’t generate much.

Not forcing the issue and getting an insurance goal let the Rangers come back themselves. The tying goal was basically an empty netter as a scramble pulled Husso out of his net while the puck went to the middle.

Then a stupid delay of game penalty eventually gave New York the lead. After killing off the majority of the penalty, the Blues allowed the Rangers too many passes to get them all moving around and then a double deflection went high to the blocker side to make it 4-3.

The end of the game just went belly up. St. Louis got a power play, but just about everything they threw toward net got blocked.

The power play went by the wayside, so they pulled the goaltender. In typical Blues fashion, they turned the puck over almost as soon as Husso got to the bench, leading to an empty net goal.

The Blues pulled the goalie again, but they never really threatened. The Rangers won the game by a final of 5-3.

Cons: Second goal allowed

When seeing this goal live, most fans, including myself, were quick to blame Husso. It just came out of nowhere and from a stuff chance just away from the goal line.

However, reviewing it on the replay, this starts with Colton Parayko. The Blues snuffed out the rush chance and the entire play should have ended there.

Instead, Parayko tries some weird, weak backhand up the boards that had no chance to leave the zone and there were no teammates up that wall to help that puck out either. If that puck gets out, like it should have, there is no chance for the Rangers to score.

The puck does not get out and then New York finds an open man on the far side. The odd thing is if they get the initial shot, instead of Panarin fumbling the puck, they likely don’t score either.

That did not happen and the cycle continued. Then, Husso lets in a softie.

In his defense, when you watch the replay, you understand why his right pad came up. He got drawn outside of his post, thinking Panarin would shoot. When he tried to shuffle back into correct position, that’s when the shot comes, just sneaking it under the pad.

It’s a shot that the Blues really need saved, so Husso shoulders some blame. Given the reason for the movement and the failure to clear the puck, he doesn’t deserve as much as he’ll get.

Pros/Cons: 3 minutes

The weird thing about this game is that the Blues did not play their worst in the first and third periods. It was just sort of meh the entire way.

What was impressive, but also disconcerting, was how they turned it on for the final three minutes of the second period. The ability to flip the switch is good, but I feel like they know they can flip the switch, which is bad.

The second New York goal seemed to slap them in the face and wake them up. The push up the ice that led to the O’Reilly goal was very impressive and showcased how connected some of these linemates can be.

The Ivan Barbashev goal was just pure individual effort. To blast up the left wing and then snap it across the grain is a showing of good skill.

The same can be said of the Perron goal. It took teamwork to get the puck to that point, but to roof it from the angle he took the shot was impressive.

Of course, the way the game panned out, this was basically the only stretch where they Blues played up to their capabilities. The rest of the tine, they seemed to be going through the motions.

This was particularly evident on a shift late in the first period. St. Louis had a hard slap shot that produced a rebound right into the slot. There was not a player in white within three feet of that puck.

It’s great that you can turn things around so quickly. It’s not great when you flip the switch back the other direction, seemingly thinking you had the game in hand.


I don’t think there will be much carryover from this game into the next, but it was a disappointing game to watch. It was boring for long stretches and the Blues just kind of gave it away.

That’s not to say the Rangers did not deserve to win. They made the most out of their chances and made the Blues pay by cashing in on that silly Parayko penalty.

That said, it just never felt like the Blues were all that engaged except for that late stretch in the second period. Even when Brayden Schenn got in a fight, it just felt like there was not enough push from the entire team.

The worry now is that the next two games for the Blues are all early. They play the New York Islanders at 11:30 Central Time and then at noon in New Jersey the day after.

Next. Revisiting the trade for Pavel Buchnevich. dark

While I have no hard data to prove it, it just always feels like the Blues are not themselves in early games. Hopefully they play more like they did in Chicago than other early games in recent years.