When we first found out that the St. Louis Blues would be playing in a collegiate arena, it was supposed to be a unique, fun experience. Instead, the team put themselves in a position where they needed a win just to stay alive in the playoff race.
St. Louis played like they knew that to open this game. After allowing five goals on single-digit shots against in the last couple first periods combined, the Blues buckled down to get things done in this game.
The Blues actually scored the first goal of the contest too when Justin Faulk unleashed a shot from the right side. However, the goalie whined and upon review the officials decided there was enough contact on the flyby to warrant another goalie interference call that did not go the Blues way.
St. Louis had a power play not long after that. They should have scored there too, but like the Buffalo game, got denied by the thinnest part of the goalie’s stick.
It went into the intermission 0-0. Given the last couple games, that was a good result, but it could have been better with how the Blues produced and got robbed.
It needed to be better with what happened the rest of the game. The wheels pretty much came off after that opening.
Arizona took the lead at 10:55. The Blues turned the puck over and then missed the puck on the defensive push through the neutral zone. The ensuing two-on-one gave Thomas Greiss no chance.
The Coyotes continued to bully the Blues to make it 2-0. Joradn Kyrou got shoved off the puck like he was a little child, leading to a breakaway for Nick Schmaltz.
St. Louis actually outshot the Coyotes in that period, and for the game, but just never threatened enough. Still, only down by two and having scored three unanswered against Buffalo, there was slim hope.
That was dashed just 13 seconds into the third. The net was dislodged before a shot even occured on a scramble in the crease. However, they said Brayden Schenn pushed it off intentionally when the puck would’ve gone in, so it was counted as a goal anyway.
The reality is that Schenn did push the net. My only gripe is that I’ve seen several goalies do the same thing, but kicking it, and it’s often not called.
It really didn’t matter. That was just the final nut on the wheel coming off.
The Blues allowed two more goals over the next seven minutes. The last goal came off a power play in which the Blues ended up shorthanded despite two players getting into a fight. The final was 5-0 as St. Louis has now lost three in a row.
Pros: First period
Let’s get the “good” out of the way early, since it came early. This was far better than the first periods we saw against the Blackhawks and Sabres.
It’s almost rough to say the Blues were terrible in that Chicago first period when they outplayed the Blackhawks, but when you give up two goals on three shots, it’s going to leave a bad memory.
The Buffalo game was just trash. Once they fell behind, it was all over.
It seemed like St. Louis was poised to put that behind and take control of this game. Frankly, it should have been just that way.
Personally, I didn’t see goalie interference. I’m biased and admit it, but my problem with the call is we’ve seen far more egregious contact not called so it just feels like you never know what is and what isn’t.
St. Louis has not gotten the luck either. Two games in a row a shot that seemed labeled for the net hits the goalie in the twig part of his stick.
Regardless, it was a solid period of play. There were mistakes, but the Blues won the shot battle and could easily have had the lead. The game plays out differently if they are awarded that goal or score on that power play.
Cons: Mistake after mistake
If you want to be technical, every goal can be prevented if you go back far enough in the play to find what could have been changed. That’s not the kind of stuff that is happening to the Blues right now though.
They are literally being made to pay for every, single poor play. Every goal came off something that went wrong almost immediately before.
The first goal was a mistake compounded by another. First, Noel Acciari turns it over. Then, Justin Faulk tried to pinch up to stop it in the neutral zone, but didn’t take the right line and that ends up with a two-on-one.
The second one, Kyrou continues to show that he has not found his man strength yet. It’s one thing to lose the puck, but he looks like he could get shoved from blue line to blue line. There’s a breakaway.
The fact you let Arizona into the zone and that close to goal immediately off the faceoff is bad enough. Then, you push the net off and it counts anyway. All of that could have been avoided.
The fourth goal, both defenders converged on the puck carrier, leaving an eventual backdoor play open. That’s a clear signal of guys trying to do too much and not trusting their linemates.
What sucks about this game is how it really defines how this season has gone for the Blues. There is little positive reaction to adversity.
The Blues hung in there in the first period and outplayed Arizona for chunks of it too. Yet, as soon as something bad happened after that, you just knew it was over.
Things are clearly boiling over now. In the third period, there was a lot of yelling involving Craig Berube, Jordan Kyrou and Vladimir Tarasenko. What that entailed or who was yelling at whom is unknown since it was not shown on television and the radio crew could only see so much from their position. It seemed as though Kyrou was not yelling back at the coach, which is good, but obviously nobody was happy at that point.
St. Louis has struggled with Arizona the past few years, so a loss should come as no shock. It’s the manner in which the game unfolded and the fact that this conference is so weak.
Perhaps it will be better to miss the playoffs so the team addresses weaknesses. However, the irritating thing is as poorly as St. Louis plays, they’re still right on the cusp of a playoff spot. That’s how bad the Western Conference has been, other than Dallas and Winnipeg.
If the Blues just won two out of every three, they’d likely make the playoffs. Instead, they keep going on these mini-losing streaks, or barely scraping out a win here and there.
The worrying thing is this is still essentially the same team that had 109 points last season and would have made the Stanley Cup Final if Jordan Binnington was not run over – yes, they would have beaten Edmonton. How the same players can take the same mistakes they made last year and have worse results is beyond me.