St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2023-24 Game 21 At Minnesota

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50)Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50)Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Blues took care of business in Chicago, thus washing the nasty taste out of their mouth in a home loss to Nashville. However, they needed to be sharper against the Minnesota Wild, who were looking to impress a new coach after Bill Guerin made a change as the season is roughly a quarter old.

Unfortunately, the Blues fell behind in the early portion of the game. A turnover in the offensive zone led to an odd-man rush the other way. Though the Blues technically got back, they never got settled and a quick one-timer from the far side made it 1-0 Wild.

St. Louis did manage to dig their heels in and establish themselves. Despite going 0-2 on the power play in the first, the Blues tied it on a wicked Colton Parayko wrist shot.

Minnesota almost regained the lead when Jordan Binnington lost his skate blade. Late in the period, the Blues should have grabbed the lead, but Jordan Kyrou and Scott Perunovich clanged the crossbar.

Those misses proved costly. The Wild scored in the final two minutes, snapping one from the right circle over Binnington’s shoulder.

The second period opened up with a flurry of opportunities for the Wild. Fortunately, Binnington and the defense were able to keep them at bay, just barely.

Oskar Sundqvist took a tripping penalty and the Blues barely kept the score 2-1. They spent the entire two minutes in their defensive zone.

The Blues looked like a team just trying to hold on for the end of the period. Things didn’t start much better in the third as the Wild continued to pepper the Blues goal with chances.

Midway through the third period, the Blues had a prime opportunity to tie as they were awarded a double-minor power play. Even going against the worst penalty kill in the league, the Blues did nothing.

While the Blues were slightly better in the third than the second, it just wasn’t coming together. The best chances either got blocked, hit the post or just went wide.

Just when it seemed like the Blues might have been building a little, the Wild doubled the lead. A blocked shot from the point led to a breakaway for Minnesota and Matt Boldy fired it to the glove side for a 3-1 lead.

The Blues had a few looks with the goaltender pulled, but overall you could just tell they weren’t going to be able to get it done. After the second period, it just felt like they needed a lucky bounce to give them any hope and it never came.

Minnesota ended a seven-game losing streak. The Blues fell by the final of 3-1.

Cons: Second period

It’s been quite some time since the Blues truly got dominated in a single period. Even when they lost by an embarrassing score and gave up eight goals, it still didn’t feel as bad as it did in this particular second period.

The Blues were credited with five shots on goal in the middle frame. That’s pretty pathetic in general, but they didn’t even get their first shot on goal until around eight minutes had been played.

Conversely, the Blues couldn’t contain Minnesota either. They allowed 17 shots in that period alone, which was the most they allowed to the Wild all game.

The fact the game stayed with the same score came down to Binnington more than anything. The Wild kept trying the same play that scored the first goal – going from below the goal line toward the back post – and only some good saves kept the game in reach.

While you give credit to the penalty kill for not allowing a goal, it’s not at all good they got hemmed in for an entire two minutes.

We have seen worse from the Blues, but they just looked incapable of counteracting. They sat back and absorbed everything the Wild threw at them with no answer.

Pros: Binnington

I always dislike having to preface anything regarding goaltending, but I just know that there are fools out there blaming this game on Binnington. Their reasoning is nothing more than a goaltender is paid to stop shots, so he allowed three goals, therefor he sucks.

The reality is that this game was only in doubt because of Binnington. He made 34 saves, many of which were tough stops.

Binnington was the Blues best penalty killer, making key saves on that PK where the team got trapped in the zone.

Binnington bailed the Blues out, especially in the second period. You don’t normally expect a goaltender to make 17 saves in one period, but he did and allowed St. Louis to at least believe they had a shot.

Cons: Special teams

I’m normally one to give credit when things at least look better. To that effect, the power play and penalty kill looked better in certain aspects.

The power play at least moved the puck reasonably well and created some shots early in the game. The penalty kill did not allow a goal, which is what you ask of them.

Still, I grow tired of the uselessness of both units. You basically know it’s time wasted on the power play and the penalty kill just bends and tries not to break.

The PK was only out there once, but got stuck in their own zone for the full two minutes. Nick Leddy got trapped on the ice for nearly three minutes because the Blues couldn’t clear far enough even when the power play was done.

Conversely, the Blues had four power plays and mustered only six total shots. Their second PP had three shots, which means they barely did anything on the other three.

Add to that not scoring, and barely threatening, on a four-minute power play and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Even as a positive viewer, I’m tired of trying to say they at least looked better or created the odd chance here or there.

Score some goals. Get the puck out of the zone and don’t let them back in. That’s what this team needs, not moral victories.


More proof that things are in the eye of the beholder is that I feel more sour about this game than the Nashville blowout. Allowing eight goals should be much more disheartening, but I just felt like I saw more positives from the Blues throughout the 60 minutes.

In Minnesota, they played ok in the first period and then it was a lot of garbage. The second period was just awful.

There were too many shifts where you felt they had zero chance to even get out of the zone. Yes, Minnesota was motivated to play for a new coach, but they’re still not great. Outside of Kaprisov, there’s a lot of mediocrity.

I suppose at this point, maybe you can say the same for the Blues. Of course there will be more rumblings about this team not responding to Craig Berube any more and perhaps that’s right. However, I’d say figure out what players you can get rid of before I’d get rid of him.

There were flashes from a few. Torey Krug made some nice defensive plays and Jake Neighbours continues to hustle.

Jordan Kyrou had some good shifts, but is snake bitten at this point.

The worry is that this team is going to start gripping the stick too tightly again. Kyrou, as well as several others, started passing too much and not taking clear shot opportunities.

The defense is less porous than 2022-23, but it feels like the results are starting to be the same. Opponents are finding different ways to get back door chances.

I don’t mean to make it sound like the sky is falling. We just have to accept this team is going to be around .500, give or take a few games.

Next. What the Blues need for Christmas. dark

Oddly, sometimes mediocrity can be more frustrating than being bad. When you’re bad, you just expect them to lose, but when you’re mediocre, you think they can win only to have that ripped away from you.