St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2022-23 Game 1 Vs Columbus

St. Louis Blues left wing Pavel Buchnevich (89)Mandatory Credit: Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis Blues left wing Pavel Buchnevich (89)Mandatory Credit: Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports /
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The St. Louis Blues were champing at the bit to get their 2022-23 season under way. They were the last team in the NHL to play their opening game.

Despite having their opener for the season be their home opener, the Blues had spent the previous week in South Carolina. The Blues practiced, but spent most of the time on a team bonding trip.

Though generating team chemistry is great, you could tell they had not played a competitive game in a week. The Blues had good energy in the first period, but they were not sharp.

It was an odd first period overall. St. Louis felt like they had the better of the looks, but they did not hit the net.

The Blues finished the first period with just four shots on goal. Fortunately, one went in.

St. Louis scored early on their first power play of the game. Pavel Buchnevich unleashed a snap shot from the right side and gave the Blues a 1-0 lead.

The Columbus Blue Jackets had six shots in the first. Jordan Binnington stopped them all, looking to carry on his hot preseason where he stopped 62 of 64.

It was a quick start in the second for St. Louis. Justin Faulk fed Vladimir Tarasenko for the goal just 64 seconds in, but the good feelings faded fast.

Columbus scored their first 1:17 after Tarasenko. They tied the game just 18 seconds later.

St. Louis continued their disjointed play for much of the middle frame. While the second was their best period for much of 2021-22, it was not the case here.

The Blues turned it on a little at the end of the period. Ultimately, they were probably fortunate to get out of the first 40 minutes with the game tied.

The third period was a bit odd to start. Both teams seemed tentative.

St. Louis especially didn’t seem like they wanted to get the puck in deep and challenge along the walls. However, once they felt comfortable again after the break, they broke the game open.

Like Columbus in the second period, the Blues got two very quickly. St. Louis got the lead at 10:43 when Ivan Barbashev scored his first and then Jake Neighbours roofed a backhander just 20 seconds later to make it 4-2.

St. Louis clamped down on defense, never really letting the Blue Jackets seem like they would get a late push. Tarasenko added an insurance goal when he took the puck off the stick of the defender and wristed it in for a 5-2 lead.

The Blues made that score hold up with ease. Though the game was not easy overall, the Blues won in comfortable fashion.

Pros: Good start

The first period wasn’t fantastic, but the Blues made the most of what they got.

Cons: Second period

It seemed like the second period was going to be like many of the middle frames from last season. When Tarasenko scored, the Blues doubled their lead and it seemed to be headed in the right direction.

When your two-goal lead only lasts 1:17 and your lead only lasted 18 seconds after that, it was a real gut punch. It was a harbinger of the majority of the period.

The first goal for Columbus was just a mess. Binnington went for a poke check that never even came close and Sean Kuraly just rolled the puck up and over him.

However, it was a broken play for St. Louis from the start. After failing to hold the offensive zone, the St. Louis defensemen completely forgot where they were.

Justin Faulk pinched up and got beat. Torey Krug slid over and then disappeared. When the Columbus goal was scored, it was Jordan Kyrou and Brandon Saad as the only two Blues in the defensive zone. That’s not good.

Defensively, the team was just not good. Binnington had to face far too many chances from dangerous areas and the Blues backing in led to way too many looks from the middle and in tight.

As mentioned above, the Blues were probably fortunate to get out of the period with it tied.

Pros: Third period

St. Louis didn’t overwhelm the Blue Jackets in the third period. They did put the clamps down.

In a period where Columbus would need to create chances in order to win, the Blues defense came to play. They limited the Blue Jackets to just six shots.

On the flip side, St. Louis only mustered eight shots in the period. However, when you scored three goals on eight shots, how much can we complain?

It was a solid, team period. Binnington made the saves he needed to, the defense limited the looks and there were next to no rebound chances and the Blues cashed in on just about all their opportunities.

Pros: The Russians

It was a great game offensively for the Russian trio for the Blues. They may not have been playing on the same line, but Barbashev, Tarasenko and Buchnevich came to play.

All three came in with question marks. People asked if Barbashev could repeat his 26-goal performance from a year ago. Who knows, but getting the game winner in the first game of the season is a pretty good way to start.

We all knew Buchnevich was talented, but there were still questions about his consistency too. His goal to open up the scoring was an absolute rocket.

Then there’s the much maligned Tarasenko. I’m not even addressing the fools that still think trading this guy is how the Blues should operate. He’s a streaky scorer and he showcased that in this game.

The first goal, Tarasenko had all day to pick his spot and he buried it. The second, Tarasenko won a puck battle in the middle of the rink and then whipped it past an unsuspecting goaltender who probably didn’t think his defender wouldn’t come away with the puck.

It’s just one game in, but these are definitely three guys that the Blues need to stay hot for much of the season.

Overview

This was not a good performance when you view it as an entire 60 minutes. It was sloppy, disjointed and nearly disappointing.

My worry coming into this game was that the Blues have a bad habit of making teams coming off a back-to-back look good. They did it again here against Columbus.

Columbus had just played Tampa the night before. They also played Carolina, so they should have been wiped.

Instead, they looked the hungrier team. As mentioned, the Blues had energy in the first, but it didn’t amount to much.

That said, when the Blues were good, they were good. It just came in spurts instead of sustained.

It was good to see the Russians all get off to a good start. The goal from Jake Neighbours was phenomenal too.

We can’t get too excited based on a couple goals in his brief NHL career, but I have a feeling he’s going to be a very good NHL player. Maybe not a star, but very good.

Binnington was solid. I feel like he’s either got to get better at the poke checks or react to those plays differently, but he had a good game. He wasn’t called on to make spectacular saves, but he was a calming presence when the defense was a bit timid.

All in all, it was a good win. You’d like to see the Blues get the jump on a tired Columbus team, but the Blues also hadn’t hit the ice in a game situation in over a week. They had their own kinks to work out.

Next. Blues are going to prove the pundits wrong, as usual. dark

We saw enough from this team to be positive about their upcoming slate. The power play still looks good and the special teams was solid on both sides. The Blues rolled four lines when needed and still played a reasonably physical style.

Now, on to Seattle to take on the Kraken.