Yes, the Blues are in a dry spell offensively and one of the main reasons that this team is in a 3-game losing streak. Swept by the Kings, 1-4 on the home stand and 3 wins in their last 10. Not a lot has come from this last stretch for St. Louis.
The PP Is Hurting This Team For Points
I think this is the area that we all can agree has taken points away from the Blues in 5 of their last 10 games. In the team’s last 4 losses the Blues have gone 0-10 on the PP and nearly every one of those chances would have put the Blues in a tie or the lead. The PP last night didn’t look horrendous, they put 7 shots on goal on 4 chances (one of those only being around :30). I still think there is more in the tank for this team at special teams. Faster decisions, quicker shots to the net and more bodies in front. That was the style that led the Blues to 2nd best in NHL last season. On top of the chances, they were robbed a few times by Petersen and the puck-luck right now is killing St. Louis on the PP.
The Forecheck Was There, Just Not Enough Bodies
This part is hard to decipher with this Blues team because 1 goal in the last two games tells you that the offense isn’t working hard enough. That’s also really hard for me to say because they displayed a strong effort in the 1st and 3rd period with bodies going to the net and a hard forecheck. The problem was the Blues still struggled to take the goalies eyes away. This home stand felt as if the opposition knew how the Blues played and kept them to the outside all game. Rather than skate to the hard areas and put bodies in front of Petersen, the Blues tried to force passes through the center of the ice and make plays. This team’s success will come from getting back to the fore check and buying into the mindset that Berube wants to see.
Injuries Have Put The Blues In A Tough Spot
I can already hear your response to this, “stop making excuses for this team”. You’re right, I am going to excuse the Blues for the lack of offense over these last 4 games because they have lost 30% of their opening night roster. I will excuse this team for one goal in their last two games because they are trying to squeeze offense from guys who were scheduled to be in the AHL this season. I won’t say the Blues can’t win a game because of these injuries but I will look at this team differently at the moment because of what they are dealing with. They are playing guys in key positions that would have been playing in AHL games in a regular season. That results too late in games, the bench getting shorter and your top guys being exhausted (ex: guys like O’Reilly not having a shot on goal last night). If this team struggles with Schwartz, Parayko, Tarasenko, Thomas, and Barbashev in the line-up, then I would be concerned. For now, I just feel bad for a team that is trying to do everything they can with the weapons they have been handed.
Confidence Has Been Shaken
This seems eerily similar to what the Blues went through back in 18-19, Murphy’s Law, if something can go wrong, it will. When that first goal went in last night you could see heads dip thinking, “are you kidding me”! Can you blame them? That first period was as solid as the Blues have had all season but nothing to show for it. I compare it to 18-19 because the Blues were going through the same thing. Performing strong in certain points of the game but a bouncing puck would go in and heads would dip. I think there are a lot of guys trying to save the season with their individual play but this comes down to working out of the hole, as a team. They need a grind-it out style game. They need a 1-0 victory to show the Blues that they can dig themselves out of this hole.
Never Question The Will Of This Team
I thoroughly enjoyed Berube’s comments after the game last night, “I don’t question this team’s will. Maybe you guy’s do but I never will”. A game where the Blues knew they were depleted last night and they were in the game all the way to the final buzzer. If you go back through the last ten games (3-6-1) all but one of those losses were 1-goal deficits (some were higher because of EN goals). “Almost” victories are about as good as “maybes” from your parents when you were in high school but that’s what the Blues have to deal with now. I truly believe that this team is a Cup contender when they are healthy and I’m sure they do too. It’s just going to take a little extra push from a team that is just waiting for the battalion to show up.