As fans, we often don’t like back-to-back games. It always feels like the St. Louis Blues don’t do well in one of the two.
However, as players, they’d rather the game be that quickly, especially if they had a poor result the night before. So, there was no time to waste trying to get over a disappointing home loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
Speaking of little time wasted, the Blues took the lead just 67 seconds into the game. Robert Thomas got on the board for the first time this season with a helper from the red-hot Justin Faulk.
The Blues made that lead last almost the entire period, despite getting outshot. The offense just disappeared, not getting a shot on goal for over 10 minutes.
Despite quality goaltending from Thomas Greiss and denying a Nashville Predators power play, the Blues couldn’t keep them off the board. On the faceoff following the penalty kill, the Preds got a quick shot off, Greiss kicked out the save and Nashville tied the game on the rebound.
The Blues had a flurry of activity in the final minute of the period. Still, the offense was not getting enough done.
The Blues seemed determined to adjust that problem in the second period. They still look disjointed at five-on-five, but at least they looked better.
St. Louis drew an early-period power play and got some great passing, but there was too much cross-ice action, which leads to turnovers. The Blues were not made to pay and eventually turned things around.
With the power play dwindling, St. Louis scored on a second effort. After being denied by the blocker, the Blues cycled back around and then Brayden Schenn hammered it off the blocker shoulder and in for a 2-1 lead.
St. Louis held that for about 10 minutes and then things went sour. Nashville tied the game on another funky rebound when Greiss couldn’t control a fluttering, deflected puck. Then, to rub salt in the wound, Zach Sanford gave Nashville a 3-2 lead when his wraparound went off Torey Krug’s stick and in.
Despite a strong start, the Blues fell behind 4-2 early in the third. It was another rebound goal, though I’m not sure how Greiss was supposed to control some of these shots, though lots of people were blaming him.
It didn’t get any better for Greiss. The Preds scored a fifth goal by banging one off the end wall, off Greiss’ skates/calves and it just trickled over the line.
To show how poor the night was, the Blues were ripping shots left and right and possessing the puck like crazy when they pulled their goalie. One bad handle went the other way and Nashville made it 6-2.
Cons: Bad luck
If you want to be one of those people that blames Greiss, go ahead. The truth is there wasn’t a lot he could do about those goals.
The Blues had a lot of bad luck.
Three of the four goals came directly off rebounds. Part of that was not clearing people out of the way and part of it was just the bounces of the game.
I saw a lot of people whining about rebound control. Hard shots don’t stick to goalie pads. They tend to bound outward and Nashville was just fortunate to have people right where the puck went.
Also, playing into the bad luck was the Sanford goal. Krug is going to reach out to keep the shot away 99 times out of 100 and he doesn’t impact the play negatively around the same amount. Unfortunately, this one went off his stick awkwardly and beat his own goaltender.
Then, making matters worse, the fifth goal was just nonsense. It comes off the end boards, off Greiss’ skates and sneaks over the line by about an inch.
Pros: Thomas on the board
You know things didn’t go your way when we have to give a positive note to a guy scoring his first goal of the season. Especially when that guy will be getting paid $8 million a season from now.
However, you have to start somewhere. Getting Thomas a goal is important.
That goal being at even strength is just as important. St. Louis has struggled to get the offense rolling when not on the power play, so this goal seemed like it would be a two-for.
Instead, it proved to be inconsequential. Nevertheless, you need Thomas to shoot and get goals. Hopefully getting his first will spur something.
Look, we are all frustrated as fans about three-straight losses. St. Louis has had a hot goalie go against them in all those losses, but eventually that can’t matter. You have to beat them, either by outworking or just having well placed shots.
On the flip side, I saw a lot of tweets about how you can’t win if you don’t get saves. You can’t win if you don’t get goals either. This one wasn’t on the goalie. Sorry, not sorry.
Two goals won’t win you many games in today’s NHL. Not scoring five-on-five makes it hard to win too.
Saros was on his game, for sure. The counter to that point is that the Blues were far too predictable on a lot of their plays.
There was way too much cross-ice passing. When things are clicking, that’s fine, but they’re not right now. St. Louis needs to just drive the net and look for dirty goals because the pretty stuff isn’t happening.
Blame Greiss if you’re lazy. Blame Krug for having bad luck, or getting caught puck watching.
The truth is the Blues were only in this game because of Greiss. They’ve only been in every game this season because of goaltending.
Their leading scorer is a defenseman. The forwards have to do something because they look bad right now, including the team’s captain.