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The St. Louis Blues were surprisingly eliminated and swept by the Los Angeles Kings. Jonathan Quick proved to be the better goaltender which made the difference in the series. Another key factor was that the Kings were able to shutdown the Blues power play, but they were also able to score a couple short handed goals which put the Blues in a hole they couldn’t get out of. I did not expect the Kings to play this consistently through the series, but I also didn’t expect the Blues to collapse in certain areas. The Blues at times weren’t able to settle down their power play and frustration showed when all they could do was dump and chase. Brian Elliott was not on his game. Pucks found every little gap that he had, and a few goals went right through him. The Blues lost the secondary scoring of Andy McDonald, Patrik Berglund, and Alex Steen, but also couldn’t find any consistent scoring from their #1 line. A simple way to see this series is the Blues got cold at the worst time and the Kings got and stayed hot at the right time.
While this series was more than upsetting for Blues fans, we shouldn’t look passed this season as a complete waste. Ken Hitchcock came in and has shown that the Blues team has plenty of talent. the 6-7 Blues from the beginning of the season ended up winning the Central Division and proved they have the skill to compete even during the many injuries that plagued the Blues all season. They completed the season with 109 points which is the 2nd highest in franchise history. The defense rose up to the occasion and guys like Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk provided good defense along with an offensive side. The biggest surprise was the dynamic duo goaltending of Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak. These two goalies won the William Jennings award as the goalies who let in the fewest amount of goals in the 2011-2012 season. Each goalie stood tall and carried the team into the playoffs at the #2 seed in the western conference.
The future looks bright for the Blues as prospects like Jaden Schwartz, Ty Rattie, and Vladimir Tarasenko had great seasons with their respective teams and will make a run to be on the roster come fall. The Blues were also sold to an investor group led by Tom Stillman who bought the Blues organization for $120 million. This number can increase depending if it hits certain profit levels. This team will be looking to spend money in the offseason resigning guys like TJ Oshie, David Perron, and a few others. Not only will they spend money to resign players, but I would expect the Blues to go after a couple free agents who can make a splash.