St. Louis Blues Must Orchestrate Balance To Rebound in Series
The top team remaining in the West, the St. Louis Blues, are suddenly down 2-0 in a series against the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings. It is a shocking turn for a Blues team that swept the San Jose Sharks in five games. The same things that helped them win that series so handedly are falling short for the Blues now. Their strong goaltending and scoring from the entire team is failing St. Louis so far in the series
Goalie Brian Elliott, who took over for Jaroslav Halak after he went down to injury in game two of the first series, has not been on his game in series two. In the first game, Elliott gave up goals to defensemen Matt Green and Slava Voynov, who combined for 12 goals during the regular seasons, and Elliot made only 26 saves.
In game two, Elliott was blown up in the first period. He gave up four goals between the first and last minute of the first period, this time to the Kings’ stars. Anze Kopitar had two, with Jeff Carter and Mike Richards also scoring.
Elliott will continue to mind the net because Halak is out for the entire series with a lower back injury. Elliott has a .857 save percentage in the second round of the series; he’s looking like the mortal who was in net for the Ottawa Senators and Colorado Avalanche last season.
To add to the St. Louis Blues’ problems, their stars are missing. Well, the St. Louis Blues do not have stars on offense, but their highest contributing players are not scoring. In the regular season, David Backes and T.J. Oshie lead the team with 54 points in the regular season, but are not scoring in the playoffs. David Backes has three points in this series, but had just one in the first series.
In the playoffs it has been Andy McDonald who leads the team with ten points, Patrik Berglund has seven, Jason Arnott and Chris Stewart, who are supposed to provide balance scoring, have one point combined in the playoffs. Stewart was benched in game two, for what’s being called a lack of commitment out of the public eye.
The Blues will need their balanced scoring approach that led them through the regular season to get back into the seven game series, with the next two contests in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the Blues may not have a skater that can carry them back into the second round and their goaltending luck may have run out.