Well, St. Louis Blues fans that had been clamoring for a coaching change were given reason to think they were right when the team hit the ice against the Ottawa Senators. They dominated the first half of the first period.
St. Louis had 11 shots on goal before the Senators got their first. It's a little odd for the Blues to have more than a shot per minute in that time frame, but they came to show their new boss they could be different.
The Blues also got the opening goal of the game. A puck win in the neutral zone led to a Robert Thomas breakaway and he neatly tucked it in the five-hole after a backhand, forehand move.
The Blues also earned an early power play. While the man advantage did look better - more in control and no shorthanded chances against - they still only had one shot.
St. Louis had a good period overall, but they were fortunate to stay up by a goal. Brady Tkachuk had a late breakaway, but fell down on his own as he was approaching the blue line.
The Blues power play got progressively worse as the game went along, but the team still managed to get the second goal of the game at even strength. Thomas was the beneficiary this time, as the Blues won another puck battle on the wing and a shot from the point was put back in on the rebound by the centerman.
The Blues added another one not long after. This time Nick Leddy outwaited a sprawled out defender, then made a good pass to Brandon Saad for the finish and a 3-0 lead.
The lead remained, but the Blues could not sustain the shutout. There was an odd play at the St. Louis blue line, which resulted in Oskar Sundqvist being shaken up. The puck bounced around several times, leading to the Blues defenders stepping up, which allowed Dominik Kublik to come in alone and slide it through the goaltender's legs.
The Blues absorbed the push from Ottawa, sustaining the 3-1 lead into the second intermission. They then added to the lead about seven minutes into the third when the top line combined and Pavel Buchnevich scored on a quick snap from the slot.
Ottawa got a late goal to make it 4-2 on what appeared to be a high stick. The play was reviewed and despite a pretty good camera shot looking like a high stick for the Bally's broadcast, the officiating crew said the play was confirmed as not a high stick.
The Blues would hang on though. Thomas hesitated too long on a potential empty net hat trick, but you could tell he was about to pass it anyway. St. Louis won 4-2.
Pros: A win
It doesn't matter if you're anti-Berube or pro-Berube. We all need to be pro-Blues and that means hoping they play their best on any given night.
So, getting a victory was important. The team playing well, overall, was important.
They accomplished both of those things. After the first 10 minutes, it was not a work of art, but they got the job done.
Cons: Downward trend of the power play
The power play did look better on the first attempt. Few of us get to see the Ottawa Senators enough to really know what their penalty killing is like, but the Blues did a decent job of keeping them on their heels.
They initially moved the puck well, got a good shot on goal and just missed the puck on the ensuing scramble. Alas, it all went downhill from there.
The second power play was mediocre at best. They didn't give up shorthanded looks, but they couldn't generate anything positive really. It was two minutes wasted.
The third power play was exactly what we have seen all year. Get a few decent passes, turn the puck over and watch the other team go down the ice and have a better scoring chance than anything the Blues got with an extra attacker.
We shouldn't have expected anything different, really. You just hoped the jump from that change would roll into the power play and it did not.
Pros: Top line
This one mainly falls at the skates of Robert Thomas. He was solid in this game, top to bottom.
The top line center ended his night with two goals and three points, even if he should have had that hat trick. Still, he looked more like he has in his brightest moments, instead of being a shadow.
Pavel Buchnevich wasn't everywhere on the ice, but he was solid as well. His goal was as much about the set up as the finish, but you still need to hit the net and get it past the goalie, which Buchy did. He also ended with two points.
Kyrou had an ok night. He picked up an important assist on the Buchnevich goal and finished the night plus-3.
Part of me felt bad that fans felt the need to boo him, but I won't say it was undeserved. He was weak on the puck to lose the game against Detroit and had a rather selfish non answer to the media when asked about Berube. Even so, the Blues need him to be an offensive threat if they're going to win.
As I said above, a win is a win. I was happy with how the team played, but it wasn't perfect and we should not expect it to be.
The sour side of me is ticked it takes a coaching change to pull this out of them. The things they did well to lead them to a win were all the things that Craig Berube was telling them to do. Trying to impress a new boss by doing what the old one was asking for seems disingenuous.
With that out of the way, this game went about the way I expected. The Blues came out like a house on fire, dominated and played as well as they could, showcasing that stereotypical new coach push.
Then they fell back into old habits. It's often not the number of mistakes, but the critical nature or time of game.
Jordan Binnington didn't have to make any circus saves, but he was still way too bothered by a team that only had six shots in the first period. Credit to Ottawa for turning up the heat, but how do you get outshot by a team that had that few shots in the opening frame?
Beating Ottawa and scoring four goals is great and we should all be happy the losing streak is over. I am leary to think this has any carryover into the next game though. Time will tell.