The St. Louis Blues fixed a lot of things in their previous win against Washington. Keeping that momentum against the Philadelphia Flyers was crucial.
That went by the wayside rather quickly. The Blues had a decent start to the game, from an energy and rhythm standpoint.
The Flyers struck first, despite the flow of play not really indicating it was coming. The shot itself was quality, with the Blues actually being set up alright, but a laser shot went up high on the glove side.
The Blues settled into their typical nonexistent offense from then on. They only had one shot on goal 13 minutes into the period.
St. Louis put a few more on goal by the end of the period. Even so, they barely threatened and fell into their habit of over passing and passing up good looks on goal.
Philadelphia ended up cashing in a second time too. The Blues defenders got sucked in close to the goal, leaving the slot wide open and the Flyers player unguarded to pounce on the rebound for a 2-0 lead.
Overall, it was a very dull period. The Flyers talked about their energy and what not, but the whole game seemed like it was in slow motion.
Fortunately, the Blues rebounded a little in the second period. They had a good first few shifts and Jordan Kyrou drew a penalty.
St. Louis threatened early, but got denied. After a good zone entry, the puck was eventually buried by Vladimir Tarasenko to make it 2-1.
The worrying thing was the quality of the chances the other way. Jordan Binnington was making the initial saves, but the pucks would just sit there in the slot with neither team getting there.
The Blues kept their offensive surge rolling. Sadly, it didn’t really matter as they had several chances just miss or one hit off the post.
For the second time in the game, the Flyers ended up scoring off a rush. A stretch pass got them into the zone, where a little drop pass led to a one-time slap shot that barely snuck through Binnington’s pads.
St. Louis chipped away though. They drew another penalty themselves, but also kept hitting the blasted post.
Shortly after the power play ended, the Blues would strike with their fourth line. Alexei Toropchenko snapped one from the edge of the circle to bring the difference back to one at 3-2.
The third period started wide open. Both teams created some good chances with the Blues failing to capitalize on a juicy rebound with the fourth line and then Tarasaenko getting robbed by a big glove save.
St. Louis started keeping the puck hemmed into the offensive zone. They had close to three shifts with the puck, but their best chances got put wide.
Just as the Blues seemed poised to tie the game, the air got let out of the building. Another rush down the ice led to a little shuffle shot that Binnington could not control. The Flyers tapped in the rebound for a 4-2 lead.
The Flyers added an empty net goal to make it 5-2.
Cons: Slow first again
What in blazes is wrong with this team in the first period? Why can they not generate any blasted offense?
It’s becoming infuriating to see the time tick down and the shot total stuck at one. Even if it’s two or three, that’s not good enough.
You should be at, or around, 10 shots per period, in my opinion. They ended up with four shots. Four shots on goal.
Some were missed. Some were not even tried because this team looks to set up something pretty way too much. Just get the dang thing on net and crash the goal.
Oddly, Tarasenko’s ice time was somewhat limited compared to his forward counter parts. Part of that was due to the Blues killing penalties.
However, when he was on the ice, he was good. He had his mind focused on taking over the game.
You could point it out as drawbacks, since he missed the net at least twice in key situations. However, the guy was shooting the puck at least. At least he was trying to get stuff done on the offensive end.
Tarasenko finished the night with four shots on goal. Thinking about it now, that’s funny that he had as many shots in the game as the entire team in the first period, but I digress.
His goal was just nice too. He showed some patience, not snapping the puck off before he was ready, but putting it right where he wanted it.
Unlike the vast majority of social media, I am not blaming this loss solely on Jordan Binnington. The team just doesn’t look the same in front of him and when you only have four shots in the first period, you’re asking your goalie to have a shutout every time.
That said, he just looks off. I don’t know if it’s a confidence issue or if he’s nursing something or if he was sick. I’m not in his body, but he doesn’t look right.
There was next to no rebound control. All night long, the puck was getting popped back out into the slot, just waiting for anyone to get it.
On top of that, he looked incredibly slow to react to loose pucks. Again, I’m not sure if it’s a physical thing or he wasn’t tracking the puck, but he looked in slow motion when he went to cover the puck, which allowed the Flyers to steal some away when he should have had it frozen.
They were not the worst goals of all time, but he needed to save two of the four as well. The one was a hard shot, but he got enough of it to keep it out. He just didn’t close the hole quick enough. Then his stick placement was off on the last one and it was a one-handed shuffle to the net. How that gets loose instead of eaten up is beyond me.
There’s something very off about this team right now. At this point, it’s not even just having an off night, they look out of sorts.
They don’t have that late-season drive right now. Clearly the talent level is there to keep them near the top of the conference, but they don’t have that killer instinct.
Maybe all the injuries wore them out mentally. Maybe there’s friction in the locker room with some siding with Husso and some siding with Binnington. I have not heard of any such thing, but we know that occurred with Alex Steen and Alex Pietrangelo when Petro became the captain.
The lazy first periods are just recurring too much. Blame the coach if you want, but there has to be some personal pride with these guys and there isn’t.
They had too many come from behind wins early in the season and now they think they just can. That’s not winning hockey.
They need to score first and give their goalie some confidence, whether it’s Husso or Binnington.
Hopefully playing a good team in Carolina will bring out the best in the Blues. They certainly play like crap against the bottom feeders.