Bernie’s Blues Review: The Boys Get Back To What They Are And Smother The Avalanche.

Here’s your Daily Blues Review:

PUCK DROP: After a sloppy four-game winless stretch and a record of 0-2-2, the Blues had a chance to reset Monday night at Enterprise Center when the heralded, molten-hot Colorado Avalanche entered the building. And the Blues responded with their best performance of the season, dominating the visitors by a final score of 3-1. 

No team in the NHL was playing better than Colorado, which cruised into St. Louis with a record of 7-0-1. But the Blues absolutely commanded the action at 5-on-5, controlling 67 percent of the shots, 70 percent of the scoring chances and 60 percent of the high-danger chances.  Colorado’s lone goal came on a 5-on-3 power play. 

After a disorganized mess of a home loss to Montreal on Saturday, the Blues gathered for a players-only meeting on Sunday to recommit to strong team play, the right style of play, and to put the emphasis on cleaning up the mistakes. Obviously the meeting went very well, because the Blues were a different team on Monday night, reverting to their Stanley Cup pedigree. By taming the rollicking Avs, the Blues improved to 4-2-3 on the season.  

BOX SCORE: The Blues got goals from Brayden Schenn (PP), David Perron and Vladmir Tarasenko. Jordan Binnington stopped 17 of 18 shots including all 10 at even strength. 

THIRD STARS: The Blues’ top line of Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn and Vladmir Tarasenko had a feisty, fantastic game. In their 10 minutes and 36 seconds of 5-on-5 play, the unit had a Corsi For of 69.2 percent. Overall the line produced two goals and three assists. The aggressive Tarasenko had a goal and two assists and led all Blues with four hits. 

SECOND STARS: The Blues’ new line of David Perron, Ryan O’Reilly and Alex Steen were given the primary assignment of slowing Colorado’s vaunted top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. 

The O’Reilly line shut down the Avs’ top guns, not giving up a single shot on goal at 5-on-5 to MacKinnon and friends. Perron, O’Reilly and Steen controlled 67 percent of the shots at 5-on-5. 

Relevant note: the Avs lost Rantanen to what appeared to be a serious foot injury on his first shift of the second period.

FIRST STARS: I don’t think it’s possible to play better than the Blues’ top defensive pairing of Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko. They were excellent in this one, clamping down on Colorado’s top line and all but erecting a fortress in front of Binnington’s net. In 11:45 of Pietrangelo-Parayko 5-on-5 time, the Blues dominated the shot count including scoring chances. Petro and Parayko were towers of power. Individually their Corsi rating at 5-on-5 were 

ZAMBONI: Credit to coach Craig Berube for remixing two lines and his defensive pairings to help kick-start his team. 

HOLY JUMPIN’: The Blues won 63 percent of the faceoffs. Ryan O’Reilly won 19 of 24 draws for an astonishing success rate of 79 percent. 

STILL WORKING ON IT:  (1) Still too many careless penalties; (2) the Blues’ fourth line is still the proverbial work in progress. In Monday’s game MacKenzie MacEachern got the assignment to join Ivan Barbashev and Oskar Sundqvist. In 6:07 of 5-on-5 work, the fourth line had a 37.5 percent Corsi rating and was, on a relative basis, 27 percent worse than the other STL lines.

QUOTEBOOK: “That was probably our best game of the year throughout the entire game,” captain Pietrangelo said. “I thought we played really well. I thought everybody skated well, good energy. That’s what we were looking for. I thought it was a statement game for us. I don’t think they’ve lost, right? They’re first in the league. I thought we answered the bell real well. We’ve been piecing things together, but this is the first time I think so far this year that we’ve really played the way we’ve wanted to the entire game.”

NEXT UP: The Blues close a four-game home set on Thursday night (7 p.m.) against the Los Angeles Kings. 

THANK YOU! To Natural Stat Trick  for the metrics used in this Blues Review.

Thanks for reading …

–Bernie