The St. Louis Blues had a chance to rise to the occasion and get a good road win in Ottawa. They crumbled in front of our eyes instead.
Things actually started off alright for the Blues against the Ottawa Senators. The first period was not that bad at all.
The Blues actually outshot the Senators 12-10 in the first period. They were playing reasonably well and had some opportunities they were unable to capitalize on.
Unfortunately, the one major mistake they made cost them. For some unknown reason, Colton Parayko stepped up from the blue line to bump a player making the zone exit. Parayko had no chance to stop the puck and barely hit the guy that got the puck past him.
The Senators got a rush down the left wing and connected on the cross ice pass for a goal. It was a lucky goal since the guy slapped it in off a bounce, but the bottom line was the play never should have happened.
Still, it was only 1-0 after one. There was still plenty to play for.
That disappeared quickly. Former Chicago Blackhawk Alex DeBrincat struck on the power play, less than two minutes into the second period, and it all unraveled from then on.
It got so bad that I’m not even going to do a normal recap. The lack of cohesion from the Blues was disappointing.
Tim Stutzle scored at 7:35 of the second. Brady Tkachuk added one less than three minutes later.
Drake Batherson scored less than three minutes after that, making it 5-0. It was all the same garbage that has haunted St. Louis all season long.
Back-door goals, forwards failing to track back, poor defensive positioning – you name it. There was basically nothing poor Thomas Greiss could do all game.
Stutzle added a second less than eight minutes into the third to make it 6-0. The Senators knew they had it in the bag even before that goal, so they let their foot off the gas.
The Blues added a couple goals to make it less of a beat down. Parayko came out of the corner and chipped one through traffic to make it 6-1. Less than two minutes later, Tyler Pitlick deflected a Justin Faulk shot to make it 6-2.
St. Louis couldn’t hold the defensive side though. A very poor faceoff loss by Brayden Schenn went back to the point and Ottawa knocked in the rebound after it deflected around in the slot.
7-2 was the final. Frankly, the fact Ottawa only got seven was a small miracle.
The odd thing about this was, for 60 minutes, it wasn’t that bad a performance from Parayko. He did score a goal and was reasonably engaged at various points of the game.
However, the play he made on the first goal against was indicative of the issue he’s had all season. It was unnecessary from the start.
There was no need for him to pinch up the wall. Anyone, whether they’ve played all their life or has never watched hockey, could see he was never going to get there before the puck was chipped out.
It was such a ho-hum effort, almost in the vein of just trying to show effort as opposed to actually getting the job done. The “hit” on the opponent was a joke too.
If you’re going to make that push, you should at least take the man out. To call it a hit is a knock against all body checks.
Parayko has had worse games, but this game could have been 0-0 after one and he was partly to blame for that score.
Cons: Unable to stem the bleeding
This team has just never been able to stop the bleeding. They might as well be on blood thinners the way it just keeps pouring out once they suffer any kind of proverbial cut.
Four goals in one period is ridiculous. St. Louis has allowed more than three goals in a single period well more than 20 times. The last time it was made apparent, it was up to 23 but it has to be up to 25 or more by now.
I don’t want to question the players’ pride. I don’t want to question their heart or their work ethic.
I just don’t understand how this can happen so often to a team that should have talent. It happened before the trades and continues to happen when guys should be playing for their jobs.
It’s just hard to watch. Losing is one thing, but to continually get pummeled is beyond tolerable.
The Blues have the excuses if they choose to use them. It was a second game in 24 hours.
Both were afternoon games combined with a cross-border flight, complete with a trip through customs and the like. Afternoon games throw off your rhythm anyway, but combine it with travel and you get things like this.
You have the huge trades that have taken stars off this roster. You’ve lost a 30-goal scorer, the team’s captain and a spark-plug player that would hit anything.
Add to that losing Pavel Buchnevich against Colorado and Jake Neighbours against Ottawa and you have a roster that has been all but gutted. Even then, it’s not an excuse.
Teams at the bottom have hung with and beaten some of the top teams in the league. It’s all about execution.
The Blues have none of it. It’s all just a mess.
St. Louis had six power plays and didn’t accomplish anything. They should have had a five-minute power play after a boarding call was not called, but even if it was five instead of two, they wouldn’t have done anything.
Neighbours played 37 seconds of this game before he was taken out. It doesn’t sound good for his return either.
Plus/minus can be misleading, but it has told the story of the 2022-23 Blues. Your best players have been awful defensively.
Barbashev is normally a good defensive player, but he was a minus-4. Schenn and Faulk were a minus-3. Kyrou and Krug a minus-2.
We all knew to not look for results, but look at performances after the trades. We’re seeing a team that might actually need to go the rebuild route. The guys that should be leaders and doing the little things aren’t.
If this is what we have to look forward to more games than not, it’s going to be a very long final 26 games.