St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2023-24 Game 68 Vs Anaheim

Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Blues kept themselves alive in the playoff race with a shootout win against Minnesota the night prior. However, facing the Anaheim Ducks was a bit of a mess.

For the first half of the contest, it was the weirdest game you're likely to see. Nothing really made sense.

The Blues were outshooting the Ducks 5-2 early on, and outshot them 9-7 for the period. However, they didn't have any shots inside of 20 feet and the Ducks had all the better looks.

Troy Terry opened up the scoring at 13:41. Joel Hofer kicked out the initial shot, but it went right to Terry who put it through the legs while Hofer was trying to readjust himself positionally.

St. Louis also had three power plays in the first period. They got a few shots, but really didn't even come close to scoring.

The opening half of the second period continued this trend. The Ducks would get outshot, but the Blues weren't threatening at all and Anaheim was forcing tough plays for Hofer or the defense.

The Blues finally seemed to get things together with a small push at the end of the first and again close to halfway through the second. Then, they scored when they finally got some zone pressure.

The third line cycled the puck around pretty well and Torey Krug got it to the net. Kevin Hayes was right there for the rebound and tapped it in to make it 1-1 with about five minutes left.

The third was a bit strange, but it worked out. St. Louis started off shorthanded, but then got a four-on-four and eventual power play after a tripping call.

The Blues power play couldn't even figure out who should be on the ice and an easy clearance came because of an odd defensive change. When the Blues got it back in, they worked it around and Robert Thomas snapped one in from the high slot to make it 2-1.

Suddenly, the power play came to life in the third. Just minutes after Thomas scored, the Blues got another with Jake Neighbours deflecting a Brayden Schenn shot from the left circle and it was 3-1.

Not long after, it was 4-1 after another power play goal. Thomas got the goal again, this time from the right circle, with the deflection going off the defenseman's stick.

The Ducks almost scored immediately after the third goal. Terry somehow missed any empty net on a cross-ice pass.

Terry would get his second of the game, but it came with only seven seconds left and the Ducks' goal empty. It was a shame for Hofer to allow the final goal, but it was still a good win by the final of 4-2.

Pro/Con: Power play

Much like the game, the first half of the game was pretty bad for the power play. The last half was great.

In the first period, the Blues went 0-3 with the man advantage. As mentioned, they did get a shot or two per chance, but nothing that even forced a good save. Most of it was right at the goaltender.

The ability to hold the zone was mediocre and they weren't generating anything from the middle. If you would have told me they'd have three power play goals later on, I'd have laughed at you.

That's what happened though. It had to happen too, because the Ducks have the most penalties in the league and the league's worst penalty kill on the road.

If they're going to give you six power plays, you better take advantage. It took awhile, but the Blues clicked and got the job done.

Even when they didn't look great, they still held the zone and made the Ducks work.

Con: First half of the game

This wasn't your traditional bad start. The Blues offense hit the net and they had enough jump that you couldn't use the usual bad joke about a different start time throwing them off.

Still, you can just tell they don't show the proper respect to these kinds of opponents. The Blues are not good enough to think they're that much better than anyone, so the fact they didn't come out flying, looking to blow the doors off the Ducks is disappointing.

Thankfully, Hofer kept them in the game long enough to find themselves.

Pro: Neighbours

Hofer will get the applause for the saves. Thomas will get the credit for his two goals. Both deserve the credit.

However, if you only look at the stats, you completely miss the impact that Neighbours had. He had one goal, but he was a huge factor in all three power play goals.

Neighbours does get the deflection on one. He screens the goaltender and almost tipped the puck on the first Thomas goal. Neighbours then ties up the defender, putting his stick in a spot where the puck eventually hits it and gets past the goaltender for Thomas' second.

If the Blues don't have Neighbours, or if he is not so willing to be the whipping boy for the opponents by standing in front of their net, the Blues don't get those goals. Maybe Schenn scores off the shot alone, but I think this is a 1-1 game going late into the contest if Neighbours doesn't plant himself near the crease.


As Jamie Rivers said, this was not a Picasso. The Blues aren't going to be remembering this game all that fondly in terms of how they played for the 60 minutes.

What they will remember was getting the win. They've now won four in a row and five at home.

They'll need to keep both those streaks going with the Colorado Avalanche coming to town. However, focusing on this game alone, it was good enough.

If you told anyone beforehand the Blues would win 4-2, they would gladly take it. However, they just never really established themselves as the better team.

The Ducks handed them the game by being undisciplined in the third period and the Blues did take advantage. Hofer didn't have to stand on his head, but he still needed to make key saves in the second period to keep the Ducks from getting the lead back.

At this point, you just need points. Vegas won, so no ground was gained, but you can't afford to lose.

I'd love the Blues to look better five-on-five, but you just need a W at the end of the night.