St. Louis Blues Pros/Cons From 2023-24 Game 70 At Ottawa

St Louis Blues v Ottawa Senators
St Louis Blues v Ottawa Senators / Chris Tanouye/Freestyle Photo/GettyImages

The St. Louis Blues started the final portion of the season basically in must-win mode for the rest of the year. They faced the lowly Ottawa Senators, but the Blues have struggled with non-playoff teams.

The game started well enough - sort of. The Blues had decent energy, but, as usual, they had to make the most out of very little.

The offense had very little sustained pressure, but the Blues still took advantage. They had to rely on Joel Hofer to make some early saves, but that would become a theme throughout the game.

The Blues got on the board first with about eight minutes left in the first. Despite being outchanced 5-2 to that point, the Blues scored when Jordan Kyrou took a long one timer from near the blue line and then Brandon Saad cashed in on the rebound.

St. Louis got on the board again quickly. With about five minutes left, Colton Parayko drove all the way to the net to bang home a one-timer from near the crease after a great behind the net set up from Jordan Kyrou.

Ottawa got an early goal in the second period. A poor cross-ice pass was picked off through the neutral zone and the Senators barely squeaked one in on a back door play to make it 2-1.

The teams battled back and forth with the Senators collecting most of the shots. Hofer continued to shine, robbing several Ottawa players, including an unbelievable pad save on Brady Tkachuk.

St. Louis restored the two-goal lead with about seven minutes left. After a mad scramble in front, Jake Neighbours scored on his third attempt to swat at the puck to make it 3-1.

Neighbours returned the favor taking a hooking penalty early in the third, however. The Senators scored on the ensuing power play. Hofer made the initial save, but the puck squirted through to the back post and the rebound was knocked in to make it 3-2.

This season's whipping boy, Jordan Kyrou pushed the lead back to two about four minutes after. Alexey Toropchenko tried a back-door pass that was cut off, but Kyrou came through and attempted a backhander that was blocked, so he spun around and roofed a forehand shot to make it 4-2 with 14 left.

St. Louis had a power play with about four minutes left, but they didn't accomplish much offensively, except a few scrambles that the Senators managed to swipe away. The scariest part was Hofer almost getting picked off behind the net and then throwing a body check on the Ottawa man after.

The Blues managed to finish things off with 88 seconds left. They managed to get a turnover near the offensive zone and Neighbours slid a long shot into the empty net for a 5-2 win.

Pro: Kyrou

This was the kind of game the Blues needed from Kyrou and it was the kind of game he needed to get over his recent run of poor form. He'll never win over all the fans, but that's a losing proposition to even try there.

What you want from Kyrou is effort and having a positive impact. Obviously, the stats are great, but he was working for pucks too. He's not going to bulldoze anyone or win every battle, but even just slowing up the opponent is fine.

Getting three points on a night when the team has five goals, and only four really count, is a great night. His set up on Parayko's goal was a fine example of the kind of playmaker he can be.

His own goal was just what he needed. Yeah, you'd love for a scorer to get a highlight reel goal, but for him to score on a second effort in a tougher area of the ice is much better for his confidence.

Pro: Hofer

On one hand, I wish the Blues would not rely on their goaltending so much. However, if they're hot and on a good run of form, who are we to argue.

As great as Jordan Binnington has been, Hofer has pushed him to be better and vice versa. I don't buy into any of this ridiculous online discourse that the Blues have to choose right now and we should just be happy they have one of the better tandems in the entire league.

Imagine where this team would be if not for their goaltenders. Hofer is more than holding up his part of the bargain.

The truth of this game is that, despite a three-goal win, the Blues don't win without Hofer. Without some highlight saves, the Senators have this game tied or maybe even have the lead.

He robbed Tkachuk on the doorstep. Hofer stoned a couple other guys and constantly had the Senators looking to the rafters. Even the first goal of the game against him barely went in.

The frustrating thing is to allow 39 shots to a bottom tier team. Thankfully Hofer liked having the work.

Con: Chances against

I'm totally confused about what the issue is with this team. I didn't really see a ton of lapses or horrendous positioning from individual defenders for the Blues.

Still, how in the world do you allow 39 shots against the Senators? You allowed five clear chances against in the first 10 minutes of the game and who knows how many Ottawa had by the end.

Not all of the 39 were off the charts, but it wasn't like they were junk shots from the perimeter either. Hofer had to make at least five grade-A saves and several others were of high quality.

I fully understand this is the NHL and even the poor teams will get wins. Ottawa has not had a good season, but they still have 28 wins, which is on par with Arizona and Seattle. Talent is there.

It should be noted that their offense is actually pretty good. They have more goals on the year than St. Louis. I'll let you decide if that's impressive or not.

Nevertheless, the Blues seem to be consistently playing with fire. It's hard to win when you're allowing what feels like twice as many shots as you get. It worked out in this game, but as we've seen, it's not a winning formula long term.


This game was kind of confusing. It was fun to watch, but also slightly puzzling.

The Blues scored two goals on seven shots in the first period. They ended the game with five goals on 27 shots. That's basically a goal every five to six shots.

Clearly, those stats wouldn't hold up if you had more shots on goal, but it shows that putting the puck on net leads to good things. St. Louis has to find a way to do that more often, or at least more regularly instead of just getting random flurries of activity.

Conversely, you get the win but have to depend on your goaltender to beat the last place team in the Atlantic Division. Hofer was more than up to the task, but we saw against the Colorado Avalanche what happens if your goalie has just a decent game instead of standing on their head.

In the end, it's about wins and points. The Blues got both in this game and that's what matters.

For now, they've leaped back over Minnesota in the playoff race. They are just two points behind Vegas for the last playoff spot, but the Golden Knights have two games in hand since they were idle tonight.

That will take care of itself. All the Blues can do is worry about themselves. They got the job done in Canada and now must get another win in Minnesota this weekend.