St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2022-23 Game 44 Vs Tampa

St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Blues had a lot to overcome in their January 14th matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Not only were they facing the three-time Eastern Conference champions, but they had to overcome a pregame ceremony.

As great as these ceremonies are for fans, the Blues never seem to perform well after them. Whether it’s coincidence or not is anyone’s guess.

St. Louis actually got the game started reasonably well. Offense is always harder to come by since the Blues employ a less is more approach, but they did get the opening goal.

The Blues seemed to have some success with stretch passes up the seams. They hit one to Tyler Pitlick, springing a breakaway and the newcomer scored his second goal in a Blues uniform. Whether he fanned on the shot or intended a fluttering shot through the five hole is anyone’s guess, but it counted.

That’s where the good times ended. Tampa found their game shortly after that and tied it up about 10 minutes after St. Louis scored.

Brayden Point scored twice in the first period. On the first one, the Blues turned it over on the right wall and Tampa found Point alone in the slot. For the second one, Tampa came in on the power play and, after good puck movement got the Blues chasing, the Lightning found Point on the back door to make it 2-1.

St. Louis came close to tying it in the final minute. Ivan Barbashev drove the net and hit the side of the cage. The goalie was down, with room above him, but Barbashev just didn’t have the room.

The second period was pretty dull, overall. St. Louis just had nothing going offensively, even with another power play attack.

Tampa took advantage of that and a miscue from Jordan Binnington. A typical shot from the right point made it 3-1 when it hit off the webbing of Binnington’s glove, bounced into the air and landed behind the goaltender.

The Blues finally got some life after that. Not even 90 seconds later, Jordan Kyrou burst into the zone on the right wing, fed Pavel Buchnevich in the slot and St. Louis made it 3-2.

Late in the period, it looked good for the Blues. Alexey Toropchenko broke in on the left wing, cut to the goal and nearly stuffed it in for the tie.

Instead, Tampa countered the other way and got it immediately deep in the Blues zone. A failure by Justin Faulk to get out of the corner after the puck went to the other side of the net left his man open for an easy tap in on the back door and a 4-2 game going into the third.

St. Louis had their best power play of the game in the third period. They were snapping passes right onto the tape and even got one in behind the goalie. Unfortunately, Tampa had a defender back to sweep that puck out and the Blues were held scoreless on the man advantage again.

St. Louis just never really got much going offensively in the third period. Oddly, they turned it on more late in the second than in the third.

Credit to Tampa for not letting them have anything. The Lightning never gave them a real opportunity to gain any momentum.

Still, it was a dull period overall. The main bright spot was not letting Steven Stamkos score his 500th career goal against the Blues.

Neither team ended up scoring. As usual, the Blues never even came close even with six attackers, and the game ended 4-2.

Cons: Offense?

Where is the offense with this team? For a team that, statistically, isn’t that bad at scoring goals, they just don’t threaten much.

St. Louis actually has the third most goals in the Central Division. Would you know it based on the style of their attack?

If they don’t get a goal in transition, it seems their offense is in need of a blue pill due to its impotence. I understand that Craig Berube wants quality over quantity, but that’s a thin line.

If you are regularly getting shot totals in the single digits, you are making it statistically harder to score. Most goaltenders stop 90%, or more, of the shots they face. If you can’t even get 10 shots in one period, you lessen your opportunity to score even one goal, let alone multiple goals needed to win in today’s game.

The Blues were not as bad as some periods in recent past where they had four or five shots. The first and third period had only seven shots in each.

That’s not enough. Credit to the Lightning for their defense, but when the game is on the line and you only get seven shots? C’mon.

Pros: Pitlick’s goal

The Blues gave us all hope early. You get a goal from your fourth line in the first three minutes of the game, on a breakaway no less, and you’re thinking it’s going to be a good night.

What was nice about the goal was the simplicity in it’s beauty. It didn’t require some mind-blowing moves by the goal scorer or a seeing-eye pass that made it through three bodies.

The Blues simply got the puck off a turnover and got it out of their zone quickly. Tampa initially held the puck in, but St. Louis took advantage of a backhanded keep in without much mustard.

A smart play by Pitlick to get behind the defense was met with a simple pass up the seam, blueline to blueline. Pitlick did the rest.

We can argue whether he fanned on it or meant to shuffle the shot. It doesn’t matter. He scored on what should have been a momentum creating moment.

Cons: Third period

Normally, I would harp on the goals given up. I’d point out the poor return to the hard areas of the ice after getting beat in the corner or look to the lack of ability to get the puck out of your zone, which I’ve technically just done.

However, the complete lack of urgency in the third period was discouraging.

Again, Tampa deserves a lot of credit. They showed why they have won two of the last three Cups, won three straight conference titles and are still favorites to return this year. They’re hard to beat, do the simple things right and get great goaltending when they do make an error.

They didn’t really have to do any of that in the final period. The third period just existed.

It wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad. It just was.

Other than the power play, the Blues never really threatened Alexei Vasilevskiy. They didn’t create anything, they didn’t force anything.

What saves absolutely had to be made? What defensive stop or stand can we point to for Tampa truly thwarting our Blues? None.

St. Louis didn’t throw the kitchen sink because they didn’t work to do so. They took whatever Tampa gave them, which was little, and just hoped.


What was disappointing about this game was the lack of urgency. On social media, you’ll see all the usual nonsense about heart and passion and whatever other buzz word.

Use that if you want. I don’t choose to question a professional’s integrity at this point, for this game. They care more than we know and failing sticks with them just like any human. No matter what routine you give yourself, it’s hard to perform at your very peak every minute of every game during a season.

While it is a fine line, I do question their will to work in this game. St. Louis did not play a bad game in the grand scheme of things.

They made some errors and Tampa capitalized. That happens.

However, the third period – and most of the game – was a downer because St. Louis just didn’t do anything. They were out there and they were trying, but it looked like a game they already knew the outcome to.

I didn’t see the fire, nor the push. Everyone wants to win, but the good teams work to get that extra inch.

St. Louis just didn’t work for that extra inch. Maybe my mind would have changed if they had scored to make it 4-3, but I just never saw anything to make me think the comeback was in the works and that’s two games in a row that felt out of reach even if the score didn’t indicate it was.

Injuries or not, you used to be able to depend on this franchise to work their butts off most nights. This season, I have not seen that, even from the guys you know are putting in the minutes.

Tanking is not the anwer. dark. Next

There’s too much of a subconscious mentality that they can take this play off or not skate as hard this shift. You can’t do that. St. Louis doesn’t have the talent to do that, and we’re seeing the results when they do.