The St. Louis Blues were in desperate need of some positivity in just their 12th game of the season. They set a franchise record for regulation losses with eight straight.
Playing a lower-tier team like San Jose could have been the recipe to turn things around. You still have to get it done.
The Blues looked sharp early on. They were energetic, connecting on passes and being physical.
They were going to the net and causing havoc for the goalie too. That helped Torey Krug score 2:30 into the game, giving the Blues a 1-0 lead.
However, old luck started creeping back in. Despite continued effort, the Blues passing started missing the mark and so did their shots.
Despite having 17 looks at goal, the Blues only had nine shots on target. They also fanned on what would have essentially been an empty net goal, with the goalie out of position.
In typical bad luck fashion, the Blues gave up the tying goal in the final four minutes. After a Jordan Binnington save went in the air, Justin Faulk tried to swat it behind the net and mostly whiffed, knocking it into his own net. It was 1-1 after one.
The second period sort of played out in a similar way. The Blues got the early goal, with Jordan Kyrou finding the back of the net on the power play, only to see it get tied up later.
The main difference was that San Jose made the early adjustments and were outplaying the Blues early in the second. The fact the Blues scored was slightly against the way things had been going, but it’s good to get a reversal now and then.
The Blues looked like they had really reversed some of their fortune, scoring their own late goal to make it 3-2. Things looked decent going into the third.
That dried up rather quickly as San Jose tied it in the first two minutes of the third period. It was a deflection from the far wall to make it 3-3.
The Blues were not bad as the game went on, but things were not crisp either. It seemed like things would not go their way since all it would take was another bad bounce and San Jose would be in control.
Instead, the Blues regained the lead. Calle Rosen scored at 8:20 to get his first of the season and make it 4-3.
Noel Acciari added an empty net goal, a rarity for the Blues. St. Louis hung on in the end for a 5-3 win, snapping their eight-game losing streak.
Pros: Power play goal
Look, we can argue until we’re blue in the face about the value of the contract the Blues gave to Jordan Kyrou. Firstly, we forget that doesn’t kick in until next season, so St. Louis is getting the production based on the value of his current deal. That’s still not good enough.
However, whether he’s a $2.9 million player or an $8 million player, he hasn’t had the start to the 2022-23 season even he would like. So, to get him rolling in any fashion is very important to this team.
The way he scored in this game was excellent and something that can be built off. Scooping it over the goaltender from a tight angle on a one timer was a goal scorer’s goal.
We often accuse Kyrou of not going to the net or getting into the dirty areas. Perhaps the backdoor was only vacated because the Blues had an extra player, but you take advantage when teams slack off in any way.
Also important for the team is simply to score on the power play. St. Louis had one of the best man advantages in the league last season.
Even if they’re not top 10 this year, you have to be in the top half of the league and they haven’t looked like top anything. While they were 1-2, they got the goal and that’s half the battle. At this point, you’d take one ping-ponging off all the Sharks players and going in,
Cons: Not holding leads
This is not solely a Blues problem. No lead is safe in today’s NHL and that’s how the league likes it. It draws eyeballs and puts butts in seats.
When you’re a team looking to end a losing streak, holding a lead is paramount. St. Louis could not do that.
Some of it was luck. Faulk knocks one into his own goal and the Blues were soft on the puck, leading to another one.
Regardless, they had three one-goal leads in this game before finally taking the lead for good.
It’s not just a defensive problem either. It seemed like they were only capable of pushing forward to attack when the score was tied. When they had the lead, its almost as though the offense shut down.
Thankfully, this didn’t turn out to be the ultimate detriment. Nevertheless, St. Louis has to find a way to get and keep a lead.
Pros: Getting the win
Maybe it was ugly. Perhaps it wasn’t the prettiest for 60 minutes.
Whatever the case, the bottom line is the Blues got a win. When you’ve lost eight games in a row, you don’t care if your opponent accidentally kicked in every goal.
The Blues could have played shorthanded the entire game, looked like they didn’t care a lick and have a fluke go in and it would still be a win. Thankfully, that didn’t happen and they looked more like the team we know they can be.
This was a much better performance by the Blues. Oddly, they might have played better against teams like New York and Boston and got their butts kicked in the score.
However, as mentioned, they got the win and that’s all that matters. The goals were not flukes.
Kyrou’s goal was vintage. Krug just snapped one toward goal.
The defense was actually releasing shots and the forwards were actually screening the goaltender more than we’ve seen in quite some time.
St. Louis finally outshot an opponent, getting 33 shots on goal. The only downside of that is they had almost 60 chances, meaning they missed a lot or had plenty blocked.
Ultimately, it’s a win. Who knows if it turns anything around or if it’s one, lone win and the Blues lose the next one.
I don’t care right now. It was finally a fun game and they didn’t look like lost puppies on the ice.
Take what we can get Blues fans.