(Bill Boyce – AP Photo)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
I feel like I usually write more from a fan’s perspective than a “reporter’s” view of things. I’m not a reporter. I am a St. Louis Blues fan. I usually try to find the good things I see in a game and comment mostly on them. I try to stay away from the negatives. If a certain player turns the puck over and it leads to a goal, I usually don’t name that player.
My game recaps are often a description of what I loved about our game, and I point out the great things that our guys did on the ice. Tonight, that would be a difficult task. In fact, the page might even be blank with the exception of a lone power-play goal by Ryan O’Reilly on a nice pass from Vladimir Tarasenko.
But there isn’t much else that a person could write in order to glamorize what the Blues looked like against the visiting Minnesota Wild. It would also be difficult to put into words how badly they played and truly explain what they looked like in this game.
This team seems to have a “Jekyll and Hyde” persona. Just when we think the good one is emerging, the bad one rears his ugly head. Mr. Hyde was front and center in the game I just watched.
The Wild scored first at the 4:42 mark when Eric Staal scored his 400th career goal. It was one of the oddest tip-ins I’ve ever seen. Nick Seeler took a shot from the left point. Staal got a stick on it near the left face-off dot. The puck jumped up over everyone and somehow found its way into the upper right-hand corner of the net over Jake Allen‘s left shoulder. 1-0 Minnesota.
Seeler got a goal of his own less than a minute later with another slapper. This time it hit Alex Pietrangelo‘s stick and snuck in past the right skate and pad of Allen. 2-0 Minnesota.
On their only power play of the night, the Blues scored the goal I described earlier at the 11:32 mark. They barely ever controlled the puck long enough in the game to mount any kind of offensive pressure. As a result, they only drew one penalty.
Conversely, they committed 4 of their own penalties and gave the Wild 4 chances to score with a man advantage. I guess the other bright spot was not allowing a power-play goal in the game. Minnesota was 0 for 4 in that category. However, it didn’t matter because they scored plenty of even-strength goals.
J.T. Brown got his first goal of the season when he pilfered the puck away from Jay Bouwmeester at center ice and skated in on Allen all alone. He had no trouble putting his wrist shot in the net over Jake’s glove. 3-1 Minnesota.
Matt Dumba scored at the 15:32 mark. His shot from the slot looked like it snuck under Allen’s right arm. 4-1 Minnesota.
Eric Fehr wrapped up the scoring when he poked a rebound past the Blues goaltender at the 9:15 mark of the final period. 5-1 Minnesota
My Thoughts & Observations
- The Blues just looked like they were a step slow to every puck tonight. Minnesota played more like you would expect to see the Blues play. Especially since it was a home game for us and a division rival.
- We certainly didn’t look like a team that had won 2 straight games, nor a team that had scored 4+ goals in 5 straight games.
- We gave the puck away more than the 7 times that the stat sheet shows. I’m not sure how that statistic is calculated. It seems like you could multiply that number by 3 or 4 and be more accurate tonight.
- We got out-hustled, out-skated, out-efforted, out-defended, out-smarted, out-everythinged tonight. I guess you could throw in “out-coached and out-goalied”, to be fair. (I realize I made up some words there)
- Minnesota had traffic in front of the net all night and outshot the Blues 45-16. That pretty much says it all.
- Brayden Schenn left the game late in the 2nd or early 3rd period and didn’t return. There was no report on his condition. I hope he is ok.
- I’ll leave all the speculation for those chatting on social media, but this team is better than they showed tonight. The team that showed up against Toronto, Chicago (last game) and Vegas is the team we hope to see every night. We know they can’t win every game, but a better effort and better execution are expected. Let’s go Blues!