St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2023-24 Game 64 At NY Rangers

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

As the St. Louis Blues faced the New York Rangers for the second time in 2023-24, they wanted to make sure fans were in their seats early. It was an eventful start to the game.

Unfortunately, it was not really a good start. The Blues took two penalties in the first five minutes.

The Blues killed off the first and actually came close to their 12th shorthanded goal with Pavel Buchnevich getting a good look on goal. Jordan Binnington had to make some good saves, including a screened pad save on Artemi Panarin.

St. Louis was not as fortunate the second time around. The Rangers got the opening goal at 5:51 with Panarin taking the long shot, purposely directing it at a teammate for the redirection.

The Blues actually created some chances and played reasonably well in the first. They had 14 shots on goal, forcing come good saves, but they couldn't generate a lot of second chances.

Turnovers continued to be the big issue for the Blues. Late in the first, they were weak on a zone entry and turned it over at the attacking blue line. That led to a breakaway the other way and the Rangers snuck one under Jordan Binnington's arm to make it 2-0 going into the intermission.

The second period was some back and forth, but not much offensively in the first half of the frame. It appeared as though it was going to be 3-0, but the Rangers hit the post and the puck actually spun on edge along the goal line and spun outward.

The hope was St. Louis could capitalize on that good fortune. They didn't have much in the way of opportunity though, although they were awarded a power play with about seven minutes left.

That only lasted about a minute. The Rangers stole the puck at the blue line and then Justin Faulk was called for a weak hooking call as he recovered. The Blues killed it off, but it was still not a great turn of events.

The Rangers had the better chances after that, outshooting the Blues 12-6 in the period. Regardless, the Blue still trailed by two going into the third.

Although the third period opened up pretty even, the Blues were still too loose. The Rangers got another breakaway and Faulk had to take another penalty.

This time the team paid as New York would score and make it officially 3-0. Another Panarin shot found Chris Kreider's stick and then he collected his own rebound off the end wall where he scooped it in.

Special teams continued to be the difference. St. Louis negated their own power play after a horrendous Robert Thomas had a turnover in the neutral zone and Buchnevich was given a phantom trip call in transition.

The Rangers kept it simple and another point shot was finished off with a rebound goal on the doorstep. It was 4-0 with a little over eight minutes left.

St. Louis never mounted any kind of push. They seemed pretty resigned to their fate and even gave the Rangers another power play late in the game. Fortunately the Blues didn't allow any more and it finished 4-0.

Con: Special teams

If you can't score, it's hard to make a case this game could have gone another way. That still doesn't let the special teams efforts off the hook.

The Rangers had three power play goals. The Blues were 0-2 and negated both of their power plays with penalties halfway through.

The power play has had its own struggles in a vacuum. When you combine the poor puck control and ill-advised passes with a unit that has been hit or miss, you're asking for trouble.

Twice the Blues overskated the puck or fanned on it. It wasn't even a forced error.

The penalty kill wasn't even that bad. They just were not ready for a power play that was so simple in that they just get pucks toward the net and go for rebounds or deflections on the shots.

Con: Offense

Even though the Blues were down 2-0 in the first period, there was reason to hope. The team hit 14 shots and seemed pretty lively.

You could make a good case that if not for Igor Shesterkin, the Blues might have had one or two goals. It went downhill quickly from there.

The Blues had 14 shots in the first period and then had 12 total shots the rest of the game. The shots were divided up evenly with six in each.

That's simply not enough. I don't care that the Blues spent a lot of time killing penalties.

It's a league-wide epidemic with there being single shots in a period, so it isn't just the Blues. Still, we see the Blues and most of us only care about the Blues. It's just ridiculous to have that few shots.

I don't get the mentality either. How do you think you can score without taking the chance?

I'm more than willing to say players know better because fans don't always have the right sightline to see if a shooting lane was available. However, the Blues butcher so many good opportunties by overpassing, missing empty nets (not in this game, but overall) and just overthinking.

The offense was fine in the first and just not lucky. They didn't really even come close after that.

Pro: Binnington

Jordan Binnington is not going to say this was his greatest game ever for the simple fact four goals got past him. However, there wasn't any of them he was going to save.

Add in that he was under pressure for the full second and third periods and he actually had a decent game. He finished the night with 35 saves.

As always, the game was really only close because of him. The Blues just coasted through the third period and he was trying.

Binnington faced six power plays and a handful of breakaways. It's not just about pure numbers, but the Rangers had good initial looks and then also rebounds. The amount of leg drive Binner has to cover the amount of ice his teammates are forcing him to is impressive.


I've prided myself on sticking with a team until the end whenever possible. I try to never leave games early or think they won't make the playoffs.

This team is done. It was likely to be the case anyway, but the hope was they would calm down after the trade deadline and return to the style of play that got them in a wild card spot just a month ago.

Instead, they had no response at all. Once the Rangers took the lead, you could just tell it was the doom of this squad.

New York is a good team, so you expect the kind of game they got. The frustration comes from not seeing the Rangers being the casue of the Blues playing poorly.

If New York was just swarming them and blistering shots left and right, you tip your cap and say the better team won and you'd know why. Instead, we got the same old, same old.

The Blues keep turning the puck over at both blue lines, which is just poor execution and lack of detail. They don't seem to care about their teammates because all they do is cause problems for the rest of the team with this lack of precision.

The officiating in this game was not good. The funny thing is this is how the league wants it called.

My view is very skewed based on when I grew up. When I was a kid, the hockey I saw would never have even dreamed of calling some of those calls as penalties. Now, you get the stick on a player in any fashion and you're sitting for two minutes.

The Blues do need to do a better job of just not doing those things, but I saw Justin Faulk try to play it safe on a drive to the net against the Islanders and he got lambasted on social media. I don't know what players are supposed to do when you can't really defend physically, but you get blamed if you try to play only positionally.

Ultimately, this team has just proven they aren't good enough. When they're at their best, they could have been a playoff team and maybe pulled off a first-round upset.

Nobody can play at their absolute peak for 60 minutes, 82 times a year. So, the problem is this team's median play is below mediocre.

It's not even losing to the Rangers that's led to this frustration. New York is better than the Blues.

It's frustrating to watch though and also reminds us of all the games and points dropped to cellar dwellers. If you won some of those games, you wouldn't be in a spot where you had to go like 8-1 or 7-2 on this road trip.

That's what the Blues needed and they don't even have a prayer of that now. So, just enjoy each game left simply because there isn't much Blues hockey left this year.