It’s been awhile…golf and the beach will do that…
The St. Louis Blues are clinging to a playoff spot in the Wild West despite dropping two in a row with only seven games remaining. Since Kevin Shattenkirk scored just 1:26 into the Columbus game, the Note hasn’t found the net in over 158 minutes. They failed to capitalize on five power play opportunities against the Blue Jackets, and three against Chicago. Overall, the unit has scored on only six of their last 72 power-play opportunities over 27 games.
The power play deficiency is mind-boggling. The man-advantage has proven more costly than beneficial lately. Marian Hossa’s shorthanded goal on Sunday was a devastating blow after a high-stick infraction brought the faceoff to the left of Brian Elliott. The Blues have coughed up four shorthanded goals.
Chris Stewart and Patrik Berglund lead the team with four PP goals each, but Andy McDonald and David Backes only have one apiece. The combined 40 games missed between McDonald, T.J. Oshie, Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko has certainly played a role in the struggles — but it has to get going if this team has any hope in the Playoffs.
5 Thoughts on the Blues
1. Vancouver is 7-3-0 the last 10 games, but six of those came against the bottom five teams in the Western Conference (Colorado, Calgary, Phoenix, Edmonton and Nashville). The Canucks have collected 25 of their 54 points on the road, while St. Louis has compiled an aggravating 9-8-1 record at the Scottrade Center. Vancouver has collected three points in two games this season, both at the Rogers Arena.
2. St. Louis plays six of their final seven at home, which should benefit them trying to secure a playoff spot. However, just 1-3 in their last four at home and 9-8-1 overall, home ice hasn’t been much of an advantage. It’s hard to pinpoint the problem, but some have noted a more aggressive, less defensive oriented effort.
3. My first reaction to the Jay Bouwmeester trade was the Blues overpaid. After watching him for seven games, I was 100% wrong. If the first-round pick traded away becomes as good as Bouwmeester, that’s just bad luck. Bouwmeester adds a dimension on the blue line this team has not seen since Chris Pronger. Bouwmeester is a savvy veteran, knowing how to effectively use his size and strength without drawing an interference penalty. His play calms the entire team, allowing them to focus solely on their role. His deceptive speed through the neutral zone adds another dimension…this guy is a keeper. Big fan.
4. If the Blues can’t get consistent scoring from their top players, a trip to the playoffs won’t last long. The quiet performances from the top two lines won’t work … and hasn’t against the top teams this season.
5. Something tells me the season finale at home against Chicago will have serious implications for St. Louis. The race is so tight, the Blues home record is too skeptical, and that’s just how these situations tend to work out. Maybe Blues fans could actually show up to keep those loud, arrogant red sweaters out of the Arena.
Just a thought.
Thanks for reading.