St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2021-22 Game 58 Vs Nashville Predators

St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

Coming off an offensive explosion against the New York Rangers, the St. Louis Blues wanted to keep the momentum rolling. Of course, the worry is they used up all their goals and would get blanked, or close to it.

St. Louis alleviated those fears rather early. Despite relying on Ville Husso too much for the first five minutes, the Blues would strike first.

While on the power play, the Blues took advantage of Nashville’s failure to clear the puck out. David Perron would dust it off on the left circle and then snipe it over the glove-hand shoulder to make it 1-0.

St. Louis doubled their lead less than a minute later. Brndon Saad used the defender as a partial screen and snapped one up high from the high slot to make it 2-0.

The game settled into a more back and forth flow from there. Each team had looks and the physicality started to pick up.

The Blues would take advantage of another power play attempt. This time it was Robert Thomas continuing his hot streak, scoring his third in two games to make it 3-0.

Unfortunately, the good vibes didn’t last. St. Louis was very lackadaisical on a Nashville dump in and once the Predators got the puck behind the goal, they went tic-tac-toe to tap it into an empty net from the near side to make it 3-1.

The Blues then got called for a ridiculous hooking call that was not, in the second period. After not clearing the puck, the Predators cycled it around and fired one past Husso from about 10 feet inside the blue line.

Things continued to unravel in the second period. The referees also continued to put their own stamp on the game by calling ticky-tac hooks that were on the stick instead of the body.

It went both ways with Nashville getting another brief power play, which was negated by a hooking call on them that was not a hook. However, the Predators utilized the extra space and tied the game when the Blues could not get established on a rush play.

It got even crazier in the middle portion of the period. The Blues regained the lead when Torey Krug got a long shot to deflect off a defender and in to make it 4-3.

Not long after, a turnover cost the Blues. With Nashville driving in on the left wing, Husso cheated on what he thought would be a pass and exposed the upper portion of the net for the tying goal.

The second period ended with that 4-4 tie. It basically boiled down to who would win the third period.

St. Louis had a good start to the period. They had a partial break that was stopped in the early going and generated some good shots throughout the first half of the period, but you didn’t get the feeling they were on the verge of scoring, despite what the TV crew said.

Meanwhile, defensively, the Blues continued to look shaky. Husso had to bail them out several times with around 11 and 10 minutes to go in the period.

Husso had to keep making tough saves as the game waned. St. Louis’ best look during that period was a couple cracks on goal by Tyler Bozak, but his initial shot was stopped and then the spin-o-rama backhander went wide.

As proof that speed kills, Jordan Kyrou finally got involved. He outraced the Preds down the wing, calmly dragged the puck to the inner part of the circle and then dished to a wide open Thomas, who snapped it into the open net.

Surprisingly, Nashville pulled the goalie just after that. Perron missed the empty net from center, but once he got the puck back after a giveaway, he went into the zone and netted it for a 6-4 lead with 1:57 left.

Nashville kept the net empty and got into the zone with speed. The puck squirted off the wall and Justin Faulk sent it the length of the rink for a 7-4 win.

Pro/Con: Husso

It feels wrong to give Husso anything but a positive from this game, but I try to be as fair as possible. While he was a huge reason the team won, he also didn’t look great for 60 minutes.

Getting the bad out of the way, the Predators second goal was savable. It was a hell of a shot with a smoke trail behind it, but there was really no screen in front. You’d like your goalie to stop a shot from that distance most times, even though it was not a guaranteed save on average.

The fourth goal was also kind of iffy.

Seeing the replay, it doesn’t look quite as bad. Duchene made a solid move to fake Husso off his post. Nevertheless, a goalie should guard the post side.

If you get beat on a backdoor play, nobody is going to blame you, but if you lean and expose the net, it looks worse.

On the flip side, the Blues win this game because of Husso. When there was a big lull in the offensive looks for St. Louis, Husso was making the big saves to bail out his teammates.

The save highlighted above was probably the biggest of the game. Seeing it live, I almost thought the shot just went wide, but upon the second look, that was clearly going in and Husso just got a skate onto it.

Cons: Defense

I saw a lot of whining about Marco Scandella in this game, but I just was not impressed with the defensive unit as a whole. The few times they looked good was when Husso made a save, there was a scramble in front and the defenders started flying in and keeping Nashville away from it.

However, in terms of defensive structure, it was messy. It was not the worst game we have seen, but it was not solid.

The puck control was worrying too. Nashville got at least two goals because of either a failure to clear the puck or a turnover that led to a rush the other way.

At this point in his career, we’re never going to get a nasty Coloton Parayko and that’s ok if that’s not his mentality. Still, he’s an imposing human and he needs to stop being a human bull fighting cape. Even with his long reach, he’s not knocking pucks away the way he used to.

Oddly, despite having a goal and an assist, Krug was the only minus defender. Even so, Bortuzzo had bad moments and it was just far too loose overall.

Pros: Thomas

Thomas had a heck of a game. What was even better was it was his second top notch game in a row.

Thomas had two goals against the Rangers. He turned around and got two more in this game against Nashville.

What has impressed me is his willingness to shoot. I don’t know if it has clicked completely or is just a good stretch, but Thomas seems to have realized that he can score and can also be a decoy just by actually putting the puck on the net.

In prior games and seasons, he would only look to pass and the defense would key on the pass. Now, you cannot cheat on the play or he’s going to bury them.

Pros: Fourth line

Let’s not get overzealous and think this fourth line will be seen in the playoffs. The current trio is not long for this world, but it’s doing the job perfectly right now.

Toropchenko is using his size and speed to bully his way around. He’s doing what some of his veteran teammates would not, which is get to the front and screen the goalie.

You always know what you’re going to get from Tyler Bozak. Whether he’s third or fourth line, he’s just a steady presence that will be responsible with the puck and make smart plays.

Mackenzie MacEachern is looking more like the wrecking ball from the 2019 playoffs.

While he was not really a fourth liner, I was still happy to see Logan Brown back in the lineup and lump him in the same group. Clearly there is still stuff the coaching staff needs that they are not seeing from him, but I don’t recall a bad game from him.

In this one, he was grabbing guys and tossing them around and getting into the mixer. When you can get buy in from guys like him and Toropchenko, who both have lots of skill too, then you make it a matchup nightmare.

For long stretches of the game, this was the team’s best line.


If you like offensive hockey, this was a heck of an afternoon. If you are not a fan of goals, this game was enough to give you heart burn.

There were 70 total shots between the two teams. There were over 100 chances toward net combined.

It was an odd game. Husso lets four goals in, but was a big reason the Blues won. Four goals against never looks good on the stat sheet, but you cannot argue with 31 saves.

The Blues got big scoring performances with familiar names stepping up. Vladimir Tarasenko had a strong game despite not scoring and Ryan O’Reilly had plenty of looks too.

It was also good to finally get another win during an afternoon game after some rotten eggs on that New York trip. I guess the Blues can beat Central opponents during the afternoon, but not the East.

Next. The Blues might have an LTIR workaround. dark

Other than the win, the one good thing about an early game is it gives the Blues a little extra rest despite having back-to-back games. There is now more than 24 hours from the end of the game to the start of the next home game against Winnipeg.

Hopefully we see the same offense and better defense against the Jets.