St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2022-23 Game 63 At Arizona

St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Blues finally had their full lineup in the game after the 2023 trade deadline. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad either.

The Blues were finishing their west-coast road trip against the Arizona Coyotes. Given that St. Louis had an extra day off between games, they looked refreshed early on.

The Blues had the first three shots of the game, outplaying the Coyotes early on. Arizona started clipping back, but it was St. Louis that would strike first.

Justin Faulk connected on a nice stretch pass to Pavel Buchnevich. Buchnevich fielded it on the blue line on the right, cut back across towards his left and beat the right-handed catching goaltender over the glove for a 1-0 lead.

Though the Blues were playing well, they couldn’t hold the lead. Arizona got lucky as a shot from the right point slammed off the wall and in front of the net on the opposite side. The Coyotes had a man there to tap it into an open net for a 1-1 tie.

Unfortunately, the Blues had plenty of chances that got wasted. Midway through the hockey game, they had three clear breakaways and a two-on-none and only had the one Buchnevich goal.

Jakub Vrana and Brandon Saad failed to score on their breakaways. Robert Thomas was set up with a sure goal by Jordan Kyrou and got stoned with a glove save.

Thomas got a breakaway while the Blues were shorthanded. He went to the blocker side this time, but hit the pad.

Arizona turned around and made the Blues pay. Nick Schmaltz snuck in behind everyone and scored on a cross-ice play to the right circle and the score was 2-1.

The Blues were all but handed a tying goal late in the period. They got a five-on-three power play for well over a minute to end the second.

Not only could the Blues not score on that, nor the remaining time in the third, but they allowed a goal immediately after. Clayton Keller faked a shot from the blue line, hit the man in the slot who backhanded it past a recovering Jordan Binnington to make it 3-1.

It seemed like the Blues weren’t going to be able to accomplish much in this game. Then, almost midway through the third, it became the Buchnevich show.

The Blues found Buchy on the right side and he drove the net. He scored on a shovel backhander to make it 3-2 with over 11 minutes left.

St. Louis got caught on a rush the other way though. Another lucky bounce off a rebound that had no business bouncing the way it did, landed right on Travis Boyd to make it 4-2.

The Blues all but gave up after that. They hit the post, but minutes later the Coyotes had a rush the other way.

Clayton Keller got behind the defense and the Blues had all three forwards just gliding back on defense. They were all close enough that if ANYBODY actually made a strong push to get back, they likely could have helped. Instead, it was an easy tap in for Keller to make it 5-2.

St. Louis got a little push late in the third. However, Alexei Toropchenko was stopped on yet another breakaway to preserve the three-goal lead.

Arizona scored a sixth before St. Louis could even ponder if they wanted to pull the goalie. The defense lost track of their marks and the trail man hoisted a shot over Binnington’s shoulder.

Cons: Missed opportunities

As someone who loves the position of goaltender, I’m normally more than willing to give a netminder credit for a save or win. However, though Karel Vejmelka played very well, the Blues didn’t do enough.

Buchnevich opened the scoring on a breakaway goal. After that, St. Louis had four or five other breakaways along with two or three odd-man rushes and did not score on any of those.

Vejmelka made some decent stops, but the Blues also hit him with the puck too. Thomas absolutely has to score on the two-on-none and shot right into the glove. Credit Vejmelka for having his glove in a proper position, but it’s got to go in.

If any of those goals go in, the contest is a different story.

Pros: Vrana

I don’t want to overstate things because it’s one game. Like Kasperi Kapanen though, Vrana was quite energetic and useful in his first game with the Blues.

Like Thomas, he really needed to score on his breakaway attempt. Even with that in mind, he was a solid player in his time on the ice.

He was given plenty of power play time, though on the team’s second unit. He was not afraid to get involved.

Vrana led the way with six shots. He was also credited with a hit and a blocked shot.

Cons: Backcheck

I understand it’s hard to play your hardest when everything is going against you. However, this has been a part of the problem for the team’s forwards even when they were still in the playoff hunt and had bigger names on the roster.

The defense is not playing great, but they need help. When the forwards fail to provide that help, it’s easy goals for the opponent.

I’m not the world’s greatest analyst, but I know that Nick Leddy did what he could to take away the pass on the Coyote’s fifth goal.

St. Louis had all three forwards in a position to help if they actually kept moving their feet. If any of them continued to take hard strides, they can break up that play. Instead, they’re just reaching in vain with their sticks and it’s an easy, uncontested goal.

It’s shameful. I get that they were not at the start of a shift, but it’s no excuse. Get back and get your line change when you get the puck out instead of letting up a goal.

Pros: Buchnevich

Buchnevich should have had a hat trick. He was another one stopped on a rush play.

But, when you’re the entire offensive output on the team, you’re getting the job done. In addition to the goals, he had five shots.

You can’t ask much more of him from a production standpoint. Buchy also had a statistical hit, which means he probably had two to four with the way those differ from what we actually see.


On the surface, this was an embarrassing loss. The Coyotes do not have a good record and St. Louis let them walk all over them.

However, the Coyotes are known for having these types of games, particularly at home. One of the very few Boston Bruins losses this season came against the Coyotes.

Even so, it’s just disheartening to see the way the Blues just slump to the occasion instead of rising. He will always have his haters, but I think the majority of fans are siding with Binnington now.

They see how much he tries and how much he has given the team a shot at winning every time out. Instead of capitalizing on that goaltending, the team just continues to lose their place or their man and it’s easy goals against

Not only did the Blues allow four goals in the third period, but it was four goals on nine shots. None of them were stoppable, so it’s a continued example of how the Blues refuse to give Binnington any help at all.

Clearly, the Blues are among the bottom teams in the league the way they’re playing. Arizona had scored the fewest goals in the Western Conference and you allow them to get six.

Next. Current roster players that may need to be impact Blues. dark

Next up is a home game against the San Jose Sharks. Who knows how any game turns out from here on out because if you can’t score more than two with 40-plus shots and several breakaways then who knows how they get W’s now.