St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2022-23 Game 40 At Montreal

St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Blues had a mini-win streak going into Montreal to face the Canadiens. The question was would they play down to the competition or keep the W’s coming?

Based on the first period, it looked like the W’s might keep coming, though not with much confidence. Facing the second-worst team in the Eastern Conference, based on win percentage, you might have thought this one should be easy.

The Blues never make anything easy. It was a back and forth first period with both teams getting decent looks.

St. Louis took the lead in potentially the most Blues way possible. A poor defensive zone set up led to a great look for the Canadiens in front.

Jordan Binnington was flat on his belly to keep that shot away. St. Louis went in transition on an odd-man rush, Brayden Schenn fed it to the back post and Brandon Saad made it 1-0 with just 35 seconds left in the period.

Then the second period was stereotypical second period Blues. Their offense is rarely stellar, but it’s truly awful in the second period these days.

They managed just four shots on goal. How in the world does a team that actually has the second most goals scored in the division only manage four shots on goal in a 20 minute span? It boggles the mind.

The fact the Blues scored on one of those shots shows how twisted that whole scenario is. Unfortunately for them, St. Louis allowed two.

Jake Neighbours lost his footing, giving Joel Armia room to charge the net and lift one past Binnington. That was just 103 seconds into the second.

The Blues restored the lead almost seven minutes through. St. Louis picked off the zone exit and fed it to Alexey Toropchenko, who beat former Blues goalie Jake Allen for a 2-1 lead.

That didn’t last the entire period as the Canadiens tied it up. One of the league’s worst power plays found space and Kirby Dach scored from the bumper position with the man advantage.

The third period proved to be entertaining, but a complete seesaw mess. Cole Caufield scored just 36 seconds in when the Blues couldn’t make a simple handoff from goalie to defenseman and then the Canadiens never let the Blues get set afterward.

Less than two minutes later, the Blues tied the score. Nikita Alexandrov got his first NHL goal, banging in the rebound on the near side of the crease.

Pavel Buchnevich gave St. Louis another lead, scoring on the power play. His goal came at 4:42, making it a combined three goals in less than five minutes of play.

St. Louis just couldn’t hold onto anything in this game, however. Armia would get his second of the game to tie it.

Of all people, Joel Edmundson was allowed to go untouched through the neutral zone as three players all backed off. The cycle found an open player in front who banged it off the post and then Armia eventually scored on the rebound.

Four minutes later, the Canadiens would win it. St. Louis turned it over about three feet outside their blue line, a cardinal sin. Montreal came in two-on-one and though the Blues actually broke up the pass, Josh Anderson scored by recollecting his own puck.

Binnington was forced out of position for that shot because he expected the cross-ice pass. The block actually got him in an awkward spot and Anderson took advantage.

The Blues didn’t allow an empty net goal, but also could not even get a shot away in the final minute of play. They lost 5-4.

Pros: Fourth line

One of the impressive things about this game was the play of the fourth line. While that’s good for those individuals, it also is an indicator of how the team played when your fourth line was your best.

Nevertheless, that doesn’t take away from the performance of Tyler Pitlick, Nikita Alexandrov and Alexey Toropchenko

Toropchenko and Alexandrov got goals, Alexandrov had two points and Pitlick had two assists. All three only had around 10 minutes of total ice time, meaning they made the most of their chances.

Cons: More injuries

St. Louis came into this game extremely thin on the blue line. Torey Krug is still out for around a month and Nick Leddy missed this game with an upper-body injury.

Then, in the first period, the Blues lost Robert Bortuzzo. He only played 3:05 of ice time and left with a lower body injury.

Say what you will about Bortz, but the Blues are thin at that position anyway. They can ill afford another veteran defender to be out for any length of time.

Calle Rosen has stepped up valiantly in his time this season. You still should not expect him to play 21-plus minutes a game, which is what the Blues asked of him in this game.

Hopefully, this is a short term thing, but I would not expect great news.

Cons: Optional defending

Those that missed the game, or those simply inclined to, will look at the stats and blame Jordan Binnington. He did let up five goals on 27 shots.

The reality is that the Blues did their goalie no favors. To stop the goals would have required so many highlight reel saves that it’s not even fair.

The turnovers or failure to get it out of their own zone leading directly to goals has to stop. It’s disgusting how every mistake ends up in the back of the net.

So many analysts say you cannot turn the puck over within a few feet of either blue line. The Blues seem to enjoy just leaving the puck right on the blue paint for the opponent to charge in and have their way.

I’m not even sure what the answer is. When this team gets set up defensively, they’re fine. Only 27 shots against is decent. However, get them moving around and scrambling and you’ll have some of the best offensive chances of your life.


As fans, we have every right to be upset at this game. You blew several leads against one of the worst teams in the NHL.

Clearly, St. Louis is not that far above Montreal given they only have three more wins and just lost to them. They continue to make bone headed passes, take stupid penalties and do nothing for their goalie.

However, the team cannot be upset about the game. They should be disappointed in their play, but they have to refocus immediately.

They had to hop a flight to play the Minnesota Wild on the flip side of a back-to-back. That can be good or bad.

It’s up to the players. I am shocked that Binnington played in Montreal instead of saving him for a pivotal divisional clash, but the coaching staff hopefully knows better than I do.

The Blues had better focus and focus hard. Minnesota is not infallible, but the Blues just have no room for error any longer.

Next. Blues should absolutely not tank. dark

They have to beat teams ahead of them, especially if they aren’t going to beat up on the ones behind them.