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Well this really isn’t something I would have expected from the St. Louis Blues. Games 1, 2, & 3 have come and gone leaving the Blues in a big hole. The good is that the Blues have shown they have the ability to win 4 in a row and their team has the depth to do it. The bad is that only 3 teams in NHL history have come back from a 3-0 deficit.
What have the Blues done to be in this position? It’s a little bit of what the Los Angeles Kings have been able to do as well.
-The Blues are not testing Jonathan Quick nearly enough. Last night they only had 10 shots in 2 periods.
-The Blues are getting “out-grinded”. They are getting burned by their own style of play.
-The special teams have been abysmal. I mentioned before that I thought the special teams would be in the advantage for the Blues but I sure as heck was wrong. The Blues are having trouble getting the puck across the blue line and can not settle down, but when they do, they do not nearly shoot the puck enough to get it past Quick.
-TOO MANY PENALTIES!
-Brian Elliot has been just average. He has made some great saves, but he has also given up some softees. He is not playing with the same consistency we have seen him play all year long. Would it be different with Halak? Probably not because the Blues have not managed to score more than 2 goals in the three games so far. The games might have been closer, but still most likely would have ended up in a loss.
Now for what the Kings have been doing.
-They have been forcing the Blues to make mistakes on the power play, taking advantage, and scoring short handed goals. They have done a good job of getting underneath the Blues skin and making them take the penalties.
-They have been playing a simple game in their defensive zone making one crisp pass and then out on the attack.
-Out grinding the Blues in the offensive one causing mismatches and turnovers
-Quick has been unbelievable. He is playing Vezina winning hockey and the Blues just can’t figure him out.
-The top 2 lines of the Kings have been better than the Blues.
The Blues need to find that spark. Keep the shots coming from all around quick. Chris Stewart played a great game last night, and his goals are the type of goals that are much needed. Shoot the puck when you have a chance. His first goal came from a nifty little back hander that got past Quick. Traffic in front of Quick. Stewart provided the perfect screen and Quick couldn’t locate the puck in which led to the 2nd goal for the Blues. Get that first goal. These games have been tight and the first goal is key.