St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2022-23 Game 20 At Tampa

St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Blues seem to be the professional sports equivalent to that Paula Abdul song about two steps forward and two steps back. Instead of being able to stop negative momentum, they just let it snowball.

St. Louis seemed prepared for the game in the first couple minutes. They had a couple early shots on goal and were keeping the Tampa Bay Lightning to the perimeter.

When it crumbled, it went to pieces quickly. The Lightning scored two goals in 28 seconds, almost had a third on the shift immediately following and had a 3-0 lead in less than five minutes following that second goal.

St. Louis just looked disjointed and discombobulated. They weren’t hanging their heads, but they just have these blank stares like a fish out of water. There’s just far less wriggling from the Blues.

St. Louis did manage to get their feet under them toward the end of the first period. They finally started just playing hockey instead of simply reacting to everything Tampa was doing.

The Blues actually took advantage of a power play too. It seemed like they were going to do too much passing, but eventually the puck got to the right side of the zone, a zip pass down to Pavel Buchnevich who tipped it just past the goaltender to make it 3-1.

The open to the second period made no sense for the Blues. They had good jump and decent offensive zone time. However, despite having a power play during that part of the game, they did not have a shot on goal in the first six and a half minutes.

Then, they managed to score on their first shot of the period. St. Louis came in with speed, and after a little hesitation from Robert Thomas, Jordan Kyrou snapped one in to make it 3-2.

That did not last a minute. Niko Mikkola turned it over and then the rebound from the initial shot got shuffled back into the slot for another goal and a 4-2 Tampa lead.

The third period was much ado about nothing. The Blues had tons of pressure and couldn’t do a thing with it.

Like their early second period pressure, they simply couldn’t hit the net. They forced a good save here or there, but there just were not nearly enough pucks on target to present a threat.

The Blues were lucky that Tampa wasn’t much better at hitting the net. They also had the Blues scrambling multiple times, but couldn’t add an insurance goal through the run of play.

St. Louis handed them that insurance goal. Craig Berube pulled the goalie with over four minutes left and Tampa almost immediately went down and put it into an empty net for a 5-2 lead.

Cons: Defensive puck control

While it is almost as easy to blame the defense as it is the goaltender, I have been a defender of the Blues defensive unit. Most of their problems are the forwards not getting pucks in or turning it over, putting the defense in a no-win situation.

However, in this game, you can squarely blame the defense for the poor start. They were responsible, at least in part, for all three early Tampa goals.

The first goal, Torey Krug just blindly tapped it up the wall to no one. There was a Lightning player right there and Tampa proceeded to find the man in the slot, with no pressure because the Blues were scrambling.

The second one, Justin Faulk mysteriously tried a weak backhand to the right side of the rink. Even if the pass was strong, nobody on the Blues expected it to go that way, which means it was completely useless. It turned the puck over and the Blues were left out of sorts in their zone again.

The third was a power play goal, so there’s not a ton to do with the guy alone in the slot. However, why Nick Leddy was pressuring out on top is confusing and the penalty was on a defender in Niko Mikkola. It was somewhat of a phantom hook, but still another defender causing problems.

Speaking of Mikkola, he was the one that turned the puck over on Tampa’s fourth goal. You give Brayden Point credit for heavy pressure, but Mikkola has to be strong on the puck in the neutral zone.

Pros: Buchy

In terms of individual stuff, there wasn’t a ton to like about the Blues. They had moments, but not a ton of sustained good play.

What was nice was Buchnevich continued his hot streak. He scored a big goal when the team needed it and made it a game (at least for a moment).

Buchnevich now has five goals in five games. Hopefully he continues it, because he’s a consistent bright spot to the offense right now.

Cons: Missing opportunities

TNT doesn’t show the final stats the way that the local Ballys broadcast does. So, I can’t give you official numbers.

Even with that in mind, I just know that the Blues hit the net with the accuracy of a Star Wars stormtrooper. St. Louis had a decent start to the game with some jump an and only had two shots for the longest time.

The same with the second period. The Blues opened up well again, but just didn’t force that many good, quality saves.

It was worse in the third period. As mentioned above, it took almost seven minutes to get the first shot on goal.

You have good pressure, good possession and even a power play. Not one shot was gained in all that and the goal came on a transition play.

If you watched the game somewhat detached from the emotion of it, you’d see that the Blues didn’t play that poorly in the offensive zone after those first eight minutes in the first period. But when you watch that and see only 27 shots on goal, you know how much both teams – the Blues in particular – missed.

There were a lot of pucks thrown toward net in this game and somehow only 54 combined shots? That’s a ton of missed nets.

It’s one thing if it’s blocked, but the Blues just miss way too often.


I’m not even that mad about this loss. Tampa is a good team and they smell blood in the water and just keep hunting.

The Blues actually played reasonably once they got themselves in the game. By then, it was too little, too late.

If St. Louis would have not crumbled so early, the game might have been slightly different. The Blues still lose the game even if you only include the second and third periods, but it was a lot closer.

It was that same thing where they can’t stop the bleeding. You just can’t allow four goals with regularity and think you can win.

What is worrying is that this might snowball again. Things have snowballed in the game, but the Blues have to figure a way to stop it in terms of a streak.

They wiped out that eight-game losing streak when you combine their three early wins with the seven in a row. Now they’ve lost two in a row and they’re back to .500.

St. Louis has to figure out a way to beat Florida now. The Panthers have a boatload of talent, but are not a playoff team at this moment. The Blues better find a way to take advantage of that, because if they don’t this might be another spiral of a losing streak.