The Ferrario Five
Let’s be honest, that game kind of sucked last night. Shades of hope and excitement with goals and then the feeling of defeat after every goal scored by Vegas. Despite the loss and the guaranteed third or fourth place seeding, there were certain areas that stuck out to me last night.
This seems like the most obvious observation from last night’s loss, the Binnginton show struck again for the St. Louis Blues. Complete domination from the Blues netminder and that’s crazy to say after giving up 6 goals. Vegas put 71 shot attempts in the St. Louis zone which means that they were all over the Blues defense, all night. Winning the Stanley Cup needs every area of a team to click, especially the goaltending. The problem the Blues are running into is they are depending on Binnington to do that every single night with very little support. One thing is for sure, Binnington is in prime playoff form.
2. LACK OF OFFENSE
This was already an area of concern after 0 goals against the Blackhawks and then 1 goal against Colorado (powerplay). Yes the Blues put 4 goals on Fleury last night but let’s be real here, those goals were more of a goaltender mistake than the Blues dominating the offensive zone. The Blues put a total of 17 shots on net last night and only 24 shot attempts through three periods. Going into the 3rd period with a one-goal lead and then after Vegas scored to take the lead, the Blues mustered up one shot on goal through the first 16-minutes, and that was on the powerplay. The defense put 9 of the team’s 17 shots on goal last night. Granted, they were without two of their offensive weapons in Tarasenko and Thomas, but you have to have depth of scoring if you want a shot at the Cup.
3. DEFENSIVE LOOSENESS
This was the most obvious one from a 6-4 loss, the defense was WAY to loose. You hear the phrase “closing the gaps” a lot in hockey and the Blues did not have that at all. Odd-man rushes, inability to clear the defensive zone and allowing players to get behind the D is just not Blues hockey. Go back and look at the Game Flow on the NHL app from last night’s game. The Golden Knights had four separate occasions were they amassed 5+ minutes of pressure in the Blues zone and that put all of the momentum on Vegas’ side.
4. SPECIAL TEAMS STILL NOT “SPECIAL”
This has only been a small sample size with three play-off games for the Blues but PP wise, it hasn’t been strong. This is an area that teams capitalize on in the postseason and helps teams when games. For the Blues in 3 games, they’ve gone 1-11 with very little shots on net. Here’s how it breaks down in three games: vs CHI (0-3 with 2 shots), COL (1-4 with 8 shots), VGK (0-4 with 1 shot). That’s a powerplay unit that is trying to reconnect the chemistry that once was the 3rd best PP in the NHL. Penalty Kill is another area that struggles. Taking two many penalites is already a concern but inabilty to clear the zone and kill them off is killing the Blues chances of winning. Two crucial goals scored last night for Vegas on the PP which sucked the momentum right out of the Blues game.
5. NEED MORE OF THE “KILLER” ATTITUDE
Need I repeat the phrase that Doug Armstrong so famously said? Time to jam the knife in the brain and kill the opposition. The Blues were second to none in that style last season and need to find a way to get back to that. It won’t be easy without Barbashev laying 7 hits in a game for the forseeable future and doesn’t help that the aggressiveness hasn’t shown up yet for the Blues but they need to find it. This time cannot be stopped when they get to that style but the aggressiveness was not there again last night against Vegas. That puts a hold on the Blues game coming out.
AP Photo/John Minchillo