St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2023-24 Game 57 At Detroit

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Blues have typically not been good in early start games. The hope was knowing they needed points to stay in their playoff spot, they'd show up against the Detroit Red Wings.

The complete opposite was true. The Blues were not even involved in the game until it was eight minutes old and the game was essentially over by then.

Patrick Kane scored on a one-timer just 33 seconds in. The Blues defense was just wandering back in their own zone and took away no passing lanes.

About four minutes later, St. Louis was down 2-0. A turnover in the offensive zone led to a two-on-one the other way and Pavel Buchnevich couldn't get back quick enough to help.

A minute later, the wheels really started coming off. Detroit was denied on a rush play and Kasperi Kapanen tried to clear it away from the crease. The clearing attempt went off the body of Robby Fabbri and into the net for a 3-0 lead.

St. Louis got a power play in the later portion of the first, but it didn't accomplish anything. The first chance of those two minutes was a shorthanded breakaway for Detroit. The Blues did get a look from Oskar Sundqvist, but it wasn't as challenging a save as the announce made it sound.

The Blues also couldn't finish when they were gifted things. Brayden Schenn had an open net on a backdoor look and shot off the post.

Conversely, the Red Wings made the Blues pay for a late penalty. Jordan Binnington had to challenge another rush play and accidentally tripped Alex DeBrincat on the break. DeBrincat was left alone on the left circle, took a couple strides toward the net with no challenger and roofed it for a 4-0 lead.

St. Louis made a goaltending change to open the second period, inserting Joel Hofer. This was merely a change of pace though because the game could have easily been 8-0 if not for Binnington.

The Blues had a little more spirit in the second period, but still didn't do anything with it early. They had one shot in the first seven minutes of the middle frame.

The Blues penalty kill kept things interesting, at least. After the Blues handed the Red Wings a two-man advantage, St. Louis managed to kill that off.

Then St. Louis finally got on the board. Zachary Bolduc got his first NHL goal as he was left alone in the slot and put it high glove side from the hashmark. That made it 4-1.

That didn't really wake the Blues up though. The Red Wings reclaimed their four-goal lead about four minutes later. A good cycle by Detroit led to a pass across the top of the crease that went off JT Compher's skate, but wasn't kicked, so it was 5-1.

That lasted about 90 seconds. Another failed zone hold led to a three-on-two and DeBrincat finished the backdoor play for a 6-1 score going into the intermission.

The third just wasn't any better other than having good fortune. The Blues were outshooting Detroit 7-4 13 minutes into the third, but the Red Wings still had more, and better, chances but missed.

St. Louis had another power play in the final five minutes. They only managed to miss another sitter from the crease area.

6-1 was the final. It wasn't even that close.

Con: First period

I don't like recency bias and try not to overstate things. However, if that first period was not the worst period of hockey this season, it definitely sits on the Mount Rushmore of worst periods in 2023-24.

Rarely do I question the team's effort, but this nonsense of not being ready in early games, not being ready in first periods and not even looking like you came to play is ridiculous. Both teams have the same start times and the same changes to their routine, so deal with it.

I no longer care if it's subconscious or what the case may be, but you cannot be consistently outplayed at the start of games. It is borderline unprofessional at this point.

This is on the players. I don't care who the coach is, what the gameplan is or whether they're a players coach or a hardass. You can scream or give the greatest pep talk of all time - it boils down to the players going out there and moving.

Nobody wanted to skate in the first 10 minutes. There was no zone time, no pushback and the passing was awful.

The offense was nonexistent too. Don't let the eight shots fool you. The Blues didn't have a shot until the game was eight minutes old and maybe one (two if you're generous) shots were troublesome.

Pro: Bolduc scoring

In two games for the Blues, Bolduc has not set the world on fire, but he looks decent. This is such a trial run that you can't really judge much off of it.

However, it's good for a young player to get their first NHL goal early in their tenure. It gives them a taste of success before the struggles of the league hit them.

You're going to have cold snaps. You're going to have periods where the puck won't find you or you can't hit the broad side of a barn.

Ask Pavel Buchnevich. The guy has 22 goals and both fans and media keep talking about what a down year he is having, and not without reason.

The only drawback for the goal is why the Detroit defense left him so open in the slot. That's not the Blues concern though. They only care that their next prospect made the finish on a play you want scorers to finish.


This game was such a negative, there's no point in dissecting it into several con sections. It's just another example of how far this team has to go.

My worry for this current incarnation of the Blues, along with what we saw last season, is the mental state. We have seen enough games where they play up to the level, or surpass, the top echelon teams.

That means the Blues are capable and there is skill there. They can't, or won't, put it together for long stretches and it's hard to understand why.

The coaching change helped, but the same problems are still there. When the Blues win, they're playing exactly the way Craig Berube was asking them to, so the coaching is not as big a factor as anyone wants to believe.

The bottom line is when this team shows up, they can play with and beat anyone. When they don't show up, they can be as bad as the worst team in the league.

We saw something closer to the latter in Detroit. They didn't show up for puck drop and then there just isn't anyone on this roster capable of putting the team on their shoulders that isn't wearing goaltender pads.

Frankly, if Detroit hits the net and Binnington doesn't play as well as he did in the first, this game is probably 10 or 12-1. Hofer was pretty good as well, but it's harder to judge his effort because the Red Wings started missing more shots than they hit.

Although they'll get blame, the defense wasn't all that terrible. You just can't expect to win when you're giving up odd-man rushes and breakaways the entire game, turning the puck over close to the blue line and expecting forwards that aren't having a good game to get back.

We've seen before how much a roller coaster this team can be. Everyone will say the sky is falling and the Blues may look like world beaters the next time out.

At this point, there is no reason to expect any carryover - positive or negative. They get embarassed by Toronto and then beat Edmonton. You clean house against the Islanders and then don't even lace your skates against Detroit.

Back and forth, up and down. Frankly, this should be a playoff team, but if they miss it should surprise nobody.