Let’s get right to the point: For your St. Louis Blues, Game 4 is a must-have, must-win, must-get-this-series-level at 2-2.
Friday night can’t be fright night for the Blues. They must exact revenge on the NHL, the purblind officials, and the San Jose Sharks by winning the fourth game of this best-of-seven affair.
Actually, let me correct myself.
The Blues needn’t be concerned with payback. They just need to make sure they leave Enterprise Center with a series-tying victory.
And the Blues must protect their home from another invasion. The Note’s 3-5 home record this postseason is embarrassing. And this 3-5 is also their fault and their responsibility — yes, even with the officials messing up in OT of Game 3. The Blues had a great chance to finish off the Sharks in regulation but panicked.
And for all of the hollering that I’ve done about the Game 3 officiating debacle, it also makes me mad that the Blues got off easy in the postgame accountability exam. They blew a 4-3 lead at home with a minute left in the third. They let a 2-1 series lead slip from their hold. Period. And they allowed the visiting team to burglarize Enterprise Center … again.
For the Blues it’s time to lock the arena doors, don’t let the Sharks escape with another good-luck win, and get this Western Conference final back to San Jose tied at two victories apiece.
The Blues should prevail on Friday night. Through the first three games the Blues have outscored San Jose 13-11 at five-on-five. The Blues have also controlled 52 percent of the shots, and 51 percent of the high-danger scoring chances, at five-on-five.
In Game 3, the Blues got a goal from Vladimir Tarasenko, and it could have been the start of something big. They looked good on the power play, scoring an extra-man goal. The Blues stunned the Sharks with a four-goal barrage in the second period, with David Perron scoring twice. Defenseman Colton Parayko was a mountain out there in Game 3. So many things went well … until they didn’t. But the Blues have plenty to build on.
They should feel good about their chances tonight.
The Blues cannot afford to fail at home again. They cannot afford to return to San Jose for Game 5, trailing 3-to-1 and facing elimination. Yeah, the Blues are 6-2 on the road during the tournament. But you can’t continue to use road success as a fallback position, or as an emergency solution.
Win a damned home game, and increase your percentage of probability for capturing the series. By dropping Game 3, the Blues now have only a 35.3 percent chance of winning the series — according to Moneypuck.
True, that’s only a number — and we’ve seen the Blues rally many times since mid-December, when their season began to change. But I used that 35.3% as a symbol to emphasize the Blues’ predicament … as well as the potential consequences of losing Game 4.
The ice already is getting slippery under the Blues. We don’t want to see the ice crack. They must win Game 4.
And sure, a bonus comes with the triumph. It would be nice for a team to beat San Jose … any team … but especially the team from St. Louis.
The Sharks have been gifted with an extra advantage provided by clown-show officiating and the league’s incoherent replay-review policies. These screw-ups have benefited only one team, San Jose.
These mental and vision lapses — by officials who are being paid to running the game with skill, authority, and in a just manner — have played played a major role in three San Jose victories. All three came at critical junctures: Game 7 against Vegas, Game 7 against Colorado, and Game 3 against St. Louis.
And rather than count their good fortune and their blessings, the Sharks have an attitude … they think they’ve somehow earned these hollow victories.
The sniveling coach, Pete DeBoer, made that perfectly clear when asked about the Sharks’ lucky breaks — related to blown calls — during the postseason.
“It irks me when you use words like that because this is a team that’s played (four) elimination games,” DeBoer said Thursday. “Not moments, games. Twelve to 15 periods of elimination hockey, against Vegas, against Colorado in Game 7.
“I think it’s a ridiculous statement.”
Almost as ridiculous as having postseason victories handed to you by officials …. and by a flawed system that fails to provide meaningful oversight — and corrections — of poor calls on the ice.
Almost as ridiculous as an arrogant coach who refuses to acknowledge that his team has been propped up and saved from defeat — not once, not twice, but three times.
DeBoer also referred to the mention of luck as “disrespectful.”
I must say: this dude is cheeky, eh?
What’s that old saying? He was born on third base and he thinks he hit a triple.
It would be nice for the Blues to remove the smirk from DeBoer’s mug. It would be nice for the Blues to demonstrate how they refuse to weaken, refuse to lose, after being walloped by incomprehensibly idiotic officiating.
Ah, but those are the things that you smile about after the game.
First, you have to win the game.
Must win it. Must have it.
Thanks for reading, enjoy Game 4.