St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2023-24 Game 35 Vs Colorado

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Blues looked to finish off the home portion of their 2023 schedule with a solid game. Standing in their way was the Colorado Avalanche.

St. Louis got the first couple shots on goal, which has been more of a consistent thing since the coaching switch. I don't think Craig Berube had anything to do with that, but it's been something I've noticed.

Despite the early looks, it seemed as though the Blues had given up the first goal of the game on the Avs first shot. However, the coaching staff was quick to challenge for goaltender interference and got a rare win on an interference call.

The Avs would get on the board first, eventually. Just over 15 minutes in, they would score on a lucky backhand rebound shot to make it 1-0.

The Blues answered less than 90 seconds later. Nathan MacKinnon threw an awful cross-ice pass along the blue line during a power play. Robert Thomas took off on a breakaway, scooped in a backhand shorthanded goal to make it 1-1 and gave the Blues their ninth shorty of the season.

The second period was a lot of missed chances, for both teams. St. Louis had missed some looks in the first period, which Pavel Buchnevich took ownership of in the intermission, but the Avs looked like they botched an easy one midway through.

They had a man wide open on the near side of the net, but the shot went off the side of the net. Upon review, it was a bad decision for Cale Makar to make the pass from the slot instead of shooting as he handcuffed his teammate.

The third period was a lot of battling and back and forth, but there were few actual quality shots on goal. Most shots were either wide or denied by defensive sticks for both teams.

Then, about eight minutes in, we saw one of the biggest garbage calls of the season. The referees awarded a penalty shot due to Mackenzie MacEachern swinging his stick at Makar.

The stick was broken, which could have resulted in a penalty, but there was no way MacEachern could have known it was broken. The assumption by the broadcasters was the officials deemed it a thrown stick, which still made no sense because Makar was not even close to a breakaway.

In the end, St. Louis got their own justice. Jordan Binnington did not bite on any moves and the shot went directly into the glove to keep it tied 1-1.

Despite the Blues being the better team for the majority of the contest, the Avs took the late lead. The Blues had two players fall over one another after a faceoff, clearing the lane for a shot from the point that seemed to deflect off the Blues defenseman. Regardless of who got the redirection, it was 2-1 Avs with about three minutes left.

The last two minutes went like much of the rest of the game. St. Louis had good possession and got some looks, but they couldn't get that decisive shot to tie it. It would finish a 2-1 Avalanche win.

Con: Power play

While the Blues have looked better on the power play and actually scored a goal in their previous two games, it certainly cost them in this game. The Blues had every opportunity to win the special teams battle and did not get it done.

What poured extra salt in the wound was the Blues getting another shorthanded goal. Score a shorty and a power play goal to win and you really crush the will of your opponent.

The Blues had four chances, each time with a full two minutes. They were disciplined enough to stay out of the box on their own power plays, giving them a full opportunity to score.

The Avs did a decent job of clearing the puck, but the Blues also had good possession across the four chances, as a whole. As with the entire game, they just kept shooting wide or getting it blocked. Georgiev wasn't really forced to make any spectacular saves on the Blues PP.

Pro: Thomas

I'm not going to go gaga over Robert Thomas' game in this contest. Like the rest of the team, he had holes in his game and missed/passed up some looks.

However, he played a solid game. It wasn't just offensive focused either.

Nobody is going to confuse Thomas with a Selke Trophy winner. He's not overly physical and still learning defensive positioning.

That said, he was hanging with MacKinnon for a lot of the game. There was even one play where Thomas repeatedly shoved MacKinnon as the Avs star tried to make his way across the blue line. These weren't crushing checks or anything, but the ability to put in that effort shows growth.

Also, the goal was fantastic. The finish was great, but it was also the awareness to be in a position to pick off the puck. Early in the season, the Blues would not have got that look because Thomas would have been in the slot trying to defend ice. Instead, he ventured north, made the play and got the goal.

Con: Missed opportunities

I don't know what the final stat was, but the Blues had way too many missed chances. There were partially open nets, good shooting lanes passed up and simply rushing shots that never materialized.

I don't put it solely on him, but even Buchnevich admitted to missing some sitters in the first period. His statement basically said if he hit the net, he would have scored, and the goalie would have had no chance.

He wasn't the only one either. St. Louis had 25 shot attempts in the first period alone and only 10 ended up on goal.

The Avs only finished the game with nine blocked shots for the entire 60 minutes. That means the vast majority of those shots simply didn't get on target because of the shooter, not necessarily the defense.

These things do happen, but they seem to happen to the Blues too much and too often. Eventually, you just need to be able to bury those looks, especially if it's from your top guys.


Joey Vitale put it perfectly in the closing segment of the actual game broadcast. Sometimes there are games you deserve to win and just don't, and vise versa.

This was one of those should have won games for the Blues. The Avs might be the better team on paper and in the standings, but they didn't deserve to win.

Their best period was the third and they took advantage of a clumsy miscue by the Blues. Just like the first Avs goal, they capitalized on the only real mistake St. Louis had.

Meanwhile, the Blues just couldn't get the job done. It wasn't for lack of effort, but sometimes the bounces just don't go your way.

Georgiev kicked out so many rebounds that, statistically, you would think St. Louis should have cashed in. Unfortunately, they just never had the guy right in the proper spot to catch the puck.

Combine that with the Avs getting the bounce right to their stick on the first goal and then having two guys fall over one another on the second and it just wasn't going to happen. None of that is to even say the Blues deserved to win.

They were the better team overall, but it was an oddly sluggish game for as back and forth as it was. There were some flurries here and there, but neither team had a ton of sustained pressure in the grand scheme.

The disappointing thing was to not at least force overtime. You get into the final five minutes tied and you would like to see at least a point.

There is no time to cry in their beer though. The Blues are off to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins in the final game of the calendar year.