The St. Louis Blues had a gritty effort in ending their losing streak on Long Island a couple days ago. We live in a what have you done for me lately society however, so keeping the winning ways at home against Winnipeg was going to be important.
The Blues actually got off to a very good start in this contest, in the general sense. They had some decent looks on goal, nabbing the first four shots of the game before the Jets got one of their own, and the Blues were also playing a physical brand of hockey.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t always mean much. St. Louis even had a good power play attack, but came up empty and the Jets went down and scored a late goal of their own.
Despite making some good saves earlier in the period, there was little Thomas Greiss could do about the one he let in. It came hard off the end wall and though he was sprawled out in the splits, the Jets banged it home from in tight, just getting it over his toe.
The lack of capitalization in the first period cost the Blues early in the second. Another fortunate bounce off the boards led to a partial breakaway for Kyle Connor, who snapped one to the blocker side for a 2-0 lead just 27 seconds in.
The Jets added to their lead before the game hit the five-minute mark. St. Louis took a penalty and, for whatever reason, their penalty kill just cannot kill anything off.
St. Louis got another power play in the second period around eight and a half in. This one was worse than the first, even getting some boos from the home fans because of the team’s insistency on passing up clear shooting opportunities.
Just when it seemed like the Blues would completely slip into incoherence, they managed to scrape out a goal. While they had been falling and running into one another just a shift prior, the top line finally connected and Robert Thomas actually took a shot and beat the goalie under the blocker to make it 3-1 just before intermission.
St. Louis almost answered quickly. In the first 25 seconds, Ryan O’Reilly got his own rebound, but it bounced on him and went wide on what little he did get on the puck.
St. Louis’ inability to finish cost them, however. Despite a good run of offensive pressure, they could not beat Connor Hellebuyck in the first half of the period and the Jets put the dagger in.
On a counter attack, a shot from about three feet in front of the end line went of Greiss’ blocker and in. It was a save that had to be made and Greiss’ positioning actually put that puck in for the 4-1 score.
As they tend to do, the Blues like to give you hope. One of the team’s best lines of the game scored when O’Reilly hit Josh Leivo for a backdoor tap in and a 4-2 score. Still, that goal made the Jets’ fourth goal even more salt in the wound.
In the end, it didn’t matter much. The Blues couldn’t muster up the offense late enough to even get that third goal.
Winnipeg needed a couple attempts, but eventually they got the empty net goal to ice the thing. The Jets took it 5-2 and the Blues continue to sputter.
Cons: Just about everything
I pride myself on being able to analyze the game pretty well for a fan and someone who never got to play the game at a high level. That said, this team has me at a loss.
I don’t like to generalize things and it feels odd to say everything is wrong, but it is. This team just cannot get anything to go right.
They had a great opening 10 minutes and yet find themselves trailing by a goal after the first period. They continue to be hot trash in the second period and were fortunate to only be down 3-1.
You cannot blame the long change for the issues at this point. The coaching staff has to have made alterations to counter act it if it was just the long change and things continue to be poor in the middle frame.
The team’s horrid play and inconsistent defending has worn out the goaltenders and we’re only at the quarter mark. Greiss is what he is, but he and Jordan Binnington are letting in goals they shouldn’t and it has to be because they’re overthinking things because they never know what’s going to happen in front of them.
Will the shot get blocked or will it be tipped by your own player? Do you play agressive and leave the back door open or stay to your line and get beat by the angles.
Every decision almost every player makes seems to be the wrong one. I cannot remember a team that was collectively this indecisive.
Every team has bad stretches and cold streaks, but there’s a handful of guys doing their best to get the job done. No matter the effort, the bench looks like zombies. The only people more shell shocked than the Blues bench are in the military and that’s at least justified.
There’s just little to no life. When Brayden Schenn blew that guy up, there should have been a huge jolt to the team. It had no effect.
Greiss made saves that kept the team in. However, the goal he did allow was too deflating instead of using those earlier saves to spur them on.
I like Leivo and Noel Acciari. When they’re the only guys you can count on for effort, and Leivo is just not going to get you enough goals to justify his spot, things just aren’t going well.
Pros: Only 2 goals in a period
If you want to look on the bright side, the Blues finally went a game without allowing three goals in one period. They still managed to give up two goals twice, but at this stage we have to look for minor wins.
Wins in the standings column would be better. But, the team is cutting down on the shots against and kept the Jets from getting three in one period and that’s better than many games in recent times.
Springboarding off the concept of the team only allowing 20 shots, let’s dip the toes in the goalie issue. It’s another good and bad thing.
Greiss was the only reason the Blues were still in the game late. Though the shot totals were kept low, St. Louis is still giving up high quality chances and they’re letting multiple players within stick range of the crease while barely putting a body on them.
Greiss made several good saves to keep the game 1-0 and 3-1 so that St. Louis could still make a late push.
The irritation for me is how bad social media is. I saw a Facebook post talking about how bad Greiss was since he was already on his butt and in the net on the first goal. Do you watch the game without the predisposition to blame the goalie? Greiss made every effort to get his skate to the post, putting himself in a spot that would tear most groins, and the puck also took a fortuitous bounce off the wall. It’s not a save many will make.
That said, Greiss was part of the problem in the grand scheme. We can say the Blues didn’t score a third so it didn’t matter, but maybe there’s a better and harder push if the score is 3-2 instead of 4-2.
Regardless, it’s a goal that cannot go in. Those are starting to happen more and more with both Binnington and Greiss.
For those that think the sky is falling, maybe a trade does need to happen. This team doesn’t seem to believe in one another and there’s some clear cracks in the foundation.
For those that want to have hope, the Blues still have three more wins than they did at the same point in 2018-19. There is still talent on this team to go on another run, but things have to change.
There’s too much starting to slip out in interviews and postgame comments to think there’s not a fracture in the locker room. Whether it’s between players or players and a goalie is immaterial. If the team is not playing for one another as a 23-man unit, then they’re not a team.
I still stand by my comments that no trade saves this team as things stand. However, they’re clearly just spinning their wheels right now, so maybe it needs to happen just to reset.
I don’t want to lose any of the players on this team, but we’ve heard rumblings for years about discontent in the locker room. All teams have their disagreements, but if it reaches this point every few years then something has to be done regardless of who goes out the door.
We will see.