St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2021-22 Game 54 At NY Islanders

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

The St. Louis Blues had a rather disappointing game against the New York Rangers. They only played about three minutes the entire game, dominated those minutes, but slacked off the rest for a 5-3 loss.

The hope was a little rest and relaxation in the New York area would clear their heads and have them come out strong. That’s not really what happened.

The Blues were a little more turned on and a little sharper than they had been in Madison Square Garden, but only slightly. It was nowhere near the domination you need to see from a team challenging for a guaranteed playoff spot against one that will likely miss the postseason.

The Blues got a very early power play, in the first 30 seconds of the game, which is never good. When you have not gotten in the flow of the game, going to a special teams play just seems to throw a wrench in the cogs.

St. Louis was doing a decent job of possessing the puck, but the shots still were not there in the first half of the period. Then, New York struck first.

St. Louis got caught in a cycle game where the Islanders just kept the puck moving and the Blues could not react. Sadly, it ended as a bad goal with Jordan Binnington leaning outside of his post, giving the player below the goal line an avenue to sneak the puck in off his shoulder for a 1-0 Islanders lead.

The Blues started winning the shot total battle, but that meant little. They weren’t generating real chances and then it looked as though the Islanders doubled their lead with around three minutes left in the period.

The puck went through the five-hole of Binnington, but the Blues ordered a review. The screener in front did knock Binnington’s stick away, clearing the five-hole, so the goal was eventually disallowed.

The late period penalty on the Blues proved costly. St. Louis gave the Islanders fresh ice and a man advantage for the second and they capitalized for a 2-0 lead.

The Blues got their own power play due to a hand pass off a faceoff moments later. For the second time in the game, they did nothing with it.

St. Louis finally had a good flurry of activity halfway through. A groin-ripping stretch kept them off the board again.

The Blues did nothing the rest of the period other than get into a few scraps. The few chances they did generate, they either passed themselves out of a shooting opportunity or got the shot blocked.

St. Louis got into a fight to begin the third period, hoping to spark some energy. Like the rest of the game, they were still getting shots but there was nobody around for rebounds.

The Blues seemingly gave up another power play goal with eight minutes left. Thankfully, it was reviewed and called back for a high stick.

It was not until the final three minutes that the Blues finally scored. After a good forecheck, the puck came to Robert Thomas. Thomas sent it off the goalie’s pad from below the goal line and then jabbed it in off the goalie’s body to make it 2-1.

The Blues managed to keep the puck in and generate great zone pressure after that with the goalie pulled. Unfortunately, they simply could not get enough pucks through in the final minutes and lost by that 2-1 score.

Cons: First goal against

Unlike many, I’m not going to put this goal solely on Binnington. However, he does have some blame, to be sure.

Similar to the poor goal given up against the Rangers by Ville Husso, this could have all been avoided if the Blues got the puck out of their own zone. Instead, it was turned over by Klim Kostin and that allowed the Islanders to set up against an ill-prepared Blues defense.

When the Blues are at their best, they have clean zone exits and take care of the puck. When they are losing games, they are consistently turning it over in horrible areas of the ice and putting their defense and goaltender at a disadvantage.

Then, there’s the goal itself. It’s a lot harder to stop those shots up high near the post than many think, but you simply cannot let that go in.

Binnington has to find a way to seal himself against that post. Just that little over extension past the post allowed there to be a little crack and that’s all today’s shooters need. Look at the Thomas goal too. There’s always a hole there, but those goals always look bad to the eye.

Pros: Typical Blues fight

Though the scraps in the middle of the game were somewhat entertaining, that’s not the fight I mean. Honestly, those actual fights did little to impact the game in any meaningful way.

However, whether we think this team needs tweaks or trades or whatever, you have to like the fact they are never quite out of a game. Even when they’ve laid a total egg and have no hope of winning, they find a way to scratch and make a mark.

I’ll be honest, I had no illusions the Blues would make a comeback once it got past about five minutes left and the Blues had not scored. Then, just like the Rangers game, they strung together a strong three minutes of hockey.

They pinned the Islanders in their zone several times, forcing icings or gaining the zone right back if cleared to center. They had sustained pressure and finally cracked that goose egg with a Thomas rebound.

The Blues forced a legitimate, difficult save in the waning moments. If they ha been more focused on rebounds all game long, perhaps they would have gotten another in late in the game, but it was not meant to be. Even so, just the fact they will themselves into it, even if for brief flashes, is a positive.

Cons: Three minutes

The opposite side of the coin to the final push of the game is that they didn’t do anything for 57 minutes. Don’t tell me about shot totals or fights or scrums or whatever.

In the grand scheme of things, the Blues did not play a hard game until those final three minutes of the game. You simply cannot do that and expect to win.

The Blues are a better team than the Rangers. They are better than the Islanders.

Heck, if you play as hard as you did in the six combined minutes against those two teams for, say, 15 minutes, you probably win. Instead, the Blues just kind of coasted and got no points out of either game.

It doesn’t matter when the three minutes occur, be it second period, third period or the very end of the game. If you only play hard for three minutes out of 60, it’s just not good enough.


As sour as I am after losses, you do have to credit the Islanders. They formulated a game plan once they got the lead, and followed it to perfection.

They sacrificed their bodies, blocking a lot of shots almost like it was a playoff game. They deserved this win because they fought for it.

They also mucked the game up properly to slow down anything St. Louis wanted to do. It was about as boring a performance as you will see this side of a 1995 game from the New Jersey Devils, but that’s what the Islanders wanted it to be.

The counter point is that the Blues did not do enough to counter that. They did not make the adjustments.

Many of the Islanders blocks came because the Blues allowed them too much time to collapse their defensive zone. It’s hard to get a shot through when you have five guys within 10 feet of their net.

St. Louis’ best opportunities often did not result in a shot. When they had the occasional rush up the ice, they passed it and passed it and passed it again. Even snipers like Pavel Buchnevich passed up a look from the slot to miss a pass back to the left circle.

When things are going poorly, you need those types of guys to have the killer instinct. Nobody did tonight.

Too many shots were coming from the boards or the point, making it easier to get the blocks.

dark. Next. Worst three current Blues contracts

Again, credit to the Islanders for their strategy and willingness. That still doesn’t mean it was a good loss at all, even with just a one-goal margin.

At this stage, let us all hope we don’t have another 7-4 debacle against New Jersey.