THE FRUSTRATION CONTINUES
The struggle is real right now in St. Louis. The Blues have lost 4 games in a row and disappointment has to be filling the locker room. Playing well isn’t paying off, and the central division is filled with teams that are not slowing down. There has to be another level of play. The Blues are now 4th in the division, but the Los Angeles Kings are only 1 point behind them, and they have a game in hand.
Can St. Louis get back to their winning ways? The Blues were one of the hottest teams in the NHL, and they look like a completely different team these days. There’s an inconsistency about them that is unsettling and it’s likely to break up the gang. Blues fans just never know what to expect. The team will show up and perform well out of nowhere, making you think they’ve got things figured out, but then it’s back to the old drawing board.
The Blues have scored just 4 power-play goals in their last 9 contests. St. Louis has a PP% of 16.6 which is currently ranked 27th in the league. It’s not surprising considering the lack of net-front presence St. Louis has. The San Jose Sharks, however, hold onto an 84.2 PK% which is best in the league. Vladimir Tarasenko was able to capitalize on the power-play this time around VS San Jose, but that only matters if you win the game.
Numbers don’t lie. The Blues are bad on the man advantage. Some would say that the power-play needs work. Others may think that’s an understatement and that the club is due for a huge change via trade. The Blues are going to have to be able to finish when it counts and make teams pay for their mistakes. The current roster isn’t making it happen by any means.
A JUMP FROM THE START
Lately, St. Louis is having a hard time getting going in games. In the Blues’ last five contests, they’ve been able to capitalize just once in the first period. The Blues have to figure out a way to get on the board early, play with a lead properly, and not sit back. Cup contenders have the ability to get out there and make an impact in the first period.
It’s the difference between a win and a loss quite often. Let’s be honest. What we’re seeing usually is a Blues team that goes out there and plays an efficient 1st period, but they don’t get rewarded. Well, when nothing is put on the board, you just wish you could have those 20 minutes back. The Blues must start capitalizing early.
LACKING A KILLER INSTINCT
The Blues are also struggling with finishing games off. St. Louis has also only scored one third period goal in their last 4 games. That’s a habit they’ll surely be trying to get rid of. A teams ability to finish strong is just as important as how well they come out of the gate. Especially come post-season. The Blues need balance.
St. Louis has the ability to skate circles around an opponent when hot. Lately, it’s been confusing because they haven’t exactly been cold, but they’re losing games. It’s crucial that the St. Louis Blues get in the habit of playing a full 60 minutes, start to finish. It’s obvious that there are holes in the St. Louis roster. This club simply has to bring it, 100%, every night.
The power-play should be the main concern right now. A team that is ranked 27th in the league on the power-play is not likely to succeed in the post-season. This is why changes must be made to make a run for it. You have to score opportunistic goals to win hockey games. The Blues active roster is giving it all they have, and it’s not enough.
When other teams take stupid penalties, you have to make them pay and take that momentum with you. The current roster is old news, and everybody knows it. It’s something that I never thought I’d be saying at the beginning of the year. Blues fans can only hope that the trade acquisitions provide the right sparks. If not, better luck next year.