The St. Louis Blues needed a good response in Calgary as they took on the Flames. Coming off a horrible first period in Edmonton, St. Louis had to come in on the right foot.
They did just that, scoring in the first minute of the game. Just 54 seconds into the game, Robert Thomas got a deflection on the shot from the right point and it was 1-0.
The Blues let their foot off the gas, or Calgary woke up – take your pick. The Flames came up with the next two goals. Ville Husso oddly went for a poke check on a loose puck, but Brett Ritchie got there first and snuck it five-hole to tie the game.
Eight minutes later, Johnny Gaudreau took advantage of a defensive miscue by the Blues. You simply can’t give talented players those kinds of opportunities and the Blues found themselves down 2-1.
Late in the period, the Blues got a power play. The man advantage has been hit and miss, but they hit on this chance as Ryan O’Reilly buried one in close to make it 2-2. St. Louis went to the locker room with that tie despite being outshot 16-6.
In the second period, it was a lot of oddness. Neither team felt like they were grabbing any kind of control.
Calgary had the better of the offense in terms of shots. 13 minutes into the period, the Blues only had three shots on goal in the frame, but Calgary only had nine, so it was not as though either team was doing much.
Just as though it seemed like the period would completely dissipate, the Blues cashed in. A beautiful pass from the left circle found Justin Faulk on the back door to make it 3-2.
The Blues came close at the end of the period as well. They had a two-on-one, even with Calgary on the power play, but the cross-ice pass was picked off and no shot was available. Nevertheless, the Blues held on to the lead in spite of the Flames hitting the post a couple times.
The third period almost opened with a Calgary goal. Setting up quick passes on their power play, the Flames found the man in the middle on the bumper play, but Ville Husso made the save. On the ensuing faceoff, Husso had to make another save.
The game started becoming a bit of a track meet in the middle portion of the period. That wasn’t in the interest of the Blues, but they were just as dangerous even though they kept missing the net on some of their best looks.
St. Louis also had plenty of oddities to overcome. Marco Scandella lost his skate blade after blocking a shot. Minutes later, Robert Bortuzzo broke his stick and ended up diving head first onto the puck to prevent a Calgary pass from the goal line.
The good luck couldn’t last forever. The Flames would tie the game at 10:43.
St. Louis failed to control the puck on a hoisted play at the blue line. They couldn’t collect the puck after a scramble either and, with Husso down on his back, the Flames slapped in the loose puck to make it 3-3.
This game never lived up to expectations. It seemed destined for overtime and then the Blues took the lead with 1:55 to go.
Robert Thomas drove past two defenders and cut back for a pass to the slot. Nathen Walker went backhand to forehand and snapped it under the blocker for a 4-3 lead.
Not long after that, Husso made a big save and the Blues put one into the empty net. St. Louis needed that goal since the Flames would score with 37 seconds left.
However, the Blues would respond with another empty net goal and win 6-4. It was a gritty 60 minutes where the Blues were not great, but they got the job done.
When the final stats show four goals allowed, most fans won’t think a goaltender had a good night. Husso had a good night.
I think he should have done better on the first goal. Going for a stick check was an odd decision when the puck was grabbable, but that was about it.
The guy faced 43 shots. Calgary is a heck of an offensive team, but that’s not sustainable. Still, Husso was calm and poised and you would not have known he played the night before with turning away 39 shots.
Cons: Defensive awareness
The Blues are not a horrible defensive team. They’re not bash your brains in physical, but they have good defensive structure when they’re at their best.
It’s the mental mistakes that worry me. Colton Parayko looks lost at times out there. This is a guy that’s supposed to be your defensive leader and he gets crossed up and turned around all the time.
Justin Faulk has been the steadiest of the blueliners for St. Louis. Even so, he didn’t seem to know what was going on and somewhat contributed to the Flames second goal.
The Blues have an offensive defensive core. That means you’re going to have gaps when guys join the rush.
However, it just doesn’t feel like that’s really to blame. Guys are back more often than not, but they don’t seem to know where to be or who they’re marking.
The Blues made the most out of nothing in this game. It was not until the third period when we finally saw them turn anything on.
St. Louis had 10 shots through two periods of play. I’ve harped on this so much this season, but you should be getting 10 shots per period and they barely got there through 40 minutes.
The fact they scored three goals on 10 shots is impressive. Yet, it also illustrates that the offense should be getting even more if they’d hit the blasted target or actually let go of the puck.
Conversely, even with two empty net goals, you cannot complain too much on a night where you net six. The Blues got contributions from all over.
You have Thomas scoring and O’Reilly. Faulk added another and Walker stayed hot while Brandon Saad and Ivan Barbashev took care of that empty net.
When you’re getting goals up and down the lineup, it’s a good thing.
Thank goodness that road trip is over. St. Louis got five points out of six, so it’s definitely successful, but it was also stressful.
That Edmonton game really touched a nerve and made us all worry about this team again. They are simply, maddeningly inconsistent.
They can beat absolutely any team in this league. They can also get embarrassed by any team in this league.
The worry is that does not bode well for the playoffs. Clearly, St. Louis can get hot and go on a roll.
They could also have four bad games in a row and get swept. It’s all going to boil down to how they play.
Play like they did against Vancouver and much of the game in Calgary and the Blues can go on a run. Play like that first period in Edmonton and it’s over quickly and the Blues are playing golf.
Let’s hope for that first option. Overall, this was a good win and important points to stay in that divisional spot.