The Blues hosted former Head Coach, Ken Hitchcock, and his new team, the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night. Now, the Blues actually had a 2 goal lead in this one, but they sat back and tried to protect it. Jake Allen played a strong game, saving 28 of 30 in regulation. He’d however lose in the Shootout.
I’m with Jake on this one… Should have never went to Overtime.
Jake Allen has allowed two goals or fewer in seven of his past nine starts. In those seven games, he’s allowed a total of 11 goals. The goalie is giving them opportunities to win, which is all you can ask. #stlblues
— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) December 6, 2018
That’s right folks, Jake has been playing very well. He’s simply not the reason the Blues have been losing games recently, yet after this game, we still saw negative posts on social media regarding the netminder.
Also, we saw a Zach Sanford goal disallowed due to “Goaltender Interference”. I’m pretty sure that made us all sick to our stomachs. We’ll touch base on that as well…
Blues Injuries: Robby Fabbri, Carl Gunnarsson, Jaden Schwartz, Alex Pietrangelo, Alex Steen.
The Blues Played a Solid 1st Period
43 seconds, the Blues are called for too many men on the ice. Robert Bortuzzo jumped on the ice thinking the puck would be cleared and there’d be an opportunity for change. That wasn’t the case. Edmonton received their first power play of the game but would not capitalize.
Connor McDavid was able to get the puck to Leon Draisaitl behind the goal line, to Jake Allen’s left. Draisaitle put the puck off of Colton Parayko’s skate and Jake Allen then made a save with his left pad.
A speedy Jordan Kyrou set up Bortuzzo with a good opportunity from behind the net, but Cam Talbot was there. This happened about 3 and 1 half minutes in.
Joel Edmundson did a fantastic job holding Mcdavid to the outside of the ice and swatting the puck away with his stick.
Ryan O’Reilly was able to set up Zach Sanford from behind the net, who whiffed on a shot with just under 15 minutes remaining.
I want to take a moment to show some frames from the Barbashev Goal (6:05) to give some an understanding of what actually happened. I know many of you saw this, but I want to point it out to those that didn’t. This goal was a result of a defensive mistake by Edmonton.
Jordan Nolan is circled in blue, who is in on the forecheck to receive a puck that was dumped around the boards from Colton Parayko at the left point. Red lines represent Edmonton’s defensive assignments.
Here, you see Nolan sending the puck along the boards, behind the net. Oskar Sundqvist is on his way there. Again, the red lines represent the defensive assignments.
Connor McDavid then decides to challenge Sundqvist (circled in blue) behind the net. Bad move. Now, Barbashev (circled in yellow) is all alone, wide open. It’s up to Sundqvist to think fast and make a play now that he’s drawn two men to himself behind the goal line.
Oskar does just that with a sweet pass to the front. Barbie makes no mistake with a quick catch and release wrister to beat Cam Talbot (high blocker). It’s pretty obvious by how much space Barbashev has in this frame that this play developed super quickly. Now regardless of this being a great play and a solid finish, this Edmonton goal against surely could have been prevented by the poster boy, Connor McDavid. His decision to go behind his own net was not a smart one, and the Oilers paid for it. Barbie put himself in the perfect spot to strike, and Oskar was quick to get the puck there.
- Note: Yes, I’m aware of the greatness that is Connor McDavid. I’m just evaluating a play.
Colton Parayko ripped the post. I mean he got everything on it. He had Cam Talbot completely beat. Man, that ring was loud. If that would have gone in, it would have been talked about around the league.
Then, Kris Russel let one go at 7:55 that would bounce off of the skate of a Blues defenseman. Jake Allen had an answer. At this point, Berube was interviewed behind the bench, and he was pretty happy with what the Blues were up to; Providing a strong forecheck, working behind the goal line, and playing strong defense.
(13:32) Brayden Schenn was able to score from an uneasy angle. First, he carried the puck through two blue lines into the zone, then he turned around and set up Chris Butler for a one-timer that went wide to the left of Cam Talbot. Brayden then capitalized on the bounce off of the boards. He was pretty damn close to the goal line. Plainly at the right place at the right time, and very reactionary.
As you can see, Cam Talbot simply had no time to get back to cover his right post. He was out to challenge Butler’s initial shot. This goal obviously wasn’t a result of a well-orchestrated play, but a fortunate bounce. Give credit where it’s due on that finish though. That angle is not an easy one to score from. Schenn’s reaction was quick and it paid off.
WARNING: This is all she wrote on the sheet for the St. Louis Blues (for the entire game).
Just under 6 minutes remained, Vladimir Tarasenko was denied by Cam Talbot. Jake Allen made a big save on Connor McDavid shortly after. Zach Sanford was then fed, again, from behind the goal line by O’Reilly. Talbot said no thanks.
The Blues would receive their first Power Play of the game when Patrick Russel was given a minor for tripping Vince Dunn. He really threw him down, but tripping was the call. Cam Talbot was able to make saves on Tarasenko and Maroon. Vince Dunn saw a good look but shot wide. Tyler Bozak saw himself a chance, but Cam Talbot made another big save.
Brayden Schenn slashed Connor McDavid’s stick out of his hands with 1:06 remaining in the frame. The Blues were able to kill the penalty and close off the period without allowing Edmonton any Power Play shots on goal, but the Oilers would start the 2nd with the extra man for 54 seconds.
While I believe that the Blues played a very solid period, I’ll give credit where credit is due. Cam Talbot made key saves on multiple key setups from behind the net. St. Louis outshot Edmonton 15-5 in the 1st Period. That’s great and all, but the Blues would go on to put 13 shots on goal for the remainder of the game, so Cam Talbots play in the first very well may have been a deciding factor for this game. (Yes, I know there was some horrible officiating, and we’ll get to that.)
A Different Team Comes Out for the 2nd
The Blues were able to kill the remaining 54 seconds of Edmonton’s Power Play to start the 2nd period.
Colton Parayko took a high stick in front of the Blues net but there was no call on the play.
Zack Kassian had two quick opportunities on Allen but Jake had answers.
The Blues were struggling to make clean transitions through the neutral zone. Edmonton was controlling much of the play. Colton Parayko eventually chose to ice the puck as options were thin and he had hopes for regrouping.
Shortly after (4 minutes in), Darnell Nurse sent the puck right into Jake Allen’s office from behind the Blues net. It looked to me that the puck got wrapped up in the skates of Robert Thomas who was skating through Allen’s crease. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would capitalize to decrease the Blues lead to 1. (2-1 St. Louis). There wasn’t much Jake Allen could do on this particular goal against. Here’s the goal…
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) December 6, 2018
The Blues were no longer showing tenacity. They weren’t getting in on the forecheck as they were in the 1st.
Zach Sanford ended up with the puck on an error made by Alex Chiasson who was attempting to clear the zone, but somehow the puck ended up with a wide-open Sanford right in front of Cam Talbot who said no. This was a key save in this game.
The Goaltender Interference Call
Zach Sanford, again, found himself in front of the net just miliseconds before a whistle was blown. He had a wide-open net as Talbot was down due to contact with Tarasenko. Sanford scored, but it didn’t count. To top things off, it wasn’t even reviewable by NHL rules. The play was dead before the shot was taken. This should have been a goal. Very, very unfortunate.
Vladimir Tarasenko was skating near Cam Talbot and ended up making contact with him, but not by choice. Matt Benning gave Vladimir a shove into his own goaltender. It happened so fast that I can understand how a referee would have missed this, but it’s still upsetting. I understand that judging a game of this speed with the naked eye is not easy, but something needs to be done. A play like this one should be able to be reviewed.
Shout out to Jamie Rivers who suggested on Blues NHL Podcast that the future may need a bird’s eye view official from the press box. I think it would make a big difference to this league. There are things you’re going to miss judging from only ice level at the speed this game is played today. I’m always open for new things if it brings progress.
Here’s Vladi “interfering” with Cam Talbot:
— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) December 6, 2018
The Blues were able to kill the Tarasenko minor. Vladi took a hit from Kyle Brodziak and he looked shook up. However, he still had it in him to rush back into the defensive zone and make a key pass block just moments after.
Ken Hitchcock was happy with the turnaround his team had made. He was seeing a stronger forecheck, more turnovers, and just all around better play. The Blues were on their heels.
Just over 8 minutes to go, Zach Sanford with some good, physical, defensive play on Connor McDavid:
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) December 6, 2018
The Oilers were playing a strong game at this point. Breaking up everything the Blues brought to the table. Things just weren’t clicking for St. Louis, and they’d remain that way for the remainder of the period.
We saw Chiasson back into Jake Allen and received no call. Enterprise Center was pretty loud about it.
St. Louis was held to just 7 shots. The Oilers, however, were able to put 17 shots on goal. These teams completely switched identities from the 1st period to the 2nd.
Blues continued to sit back in the 3rd and OT.
Let’s cut to the chase here… This time, the Oilers held the Blues to just 6 shots on goal. Edmonton registered 11. Jake Allen was able to stop 10 of them.
Again, this game should have never reached overtime. There was a lack of aggression, confidence, and composure throughout the 2nd and 3rd periods. Jake did everything he could to keep the Blues in this game, as has been the story recently.
Of the 6 chances in the 3rd period, I’ll mention none. Cam Talbot made the saves.
Oscar Klefbom tied the game with just 56 seconds remaining in regulation. Another heart breaker to say the least, forcing the Blues into Overtime. Assisted by Connor McDavid so he’d receive his first and only point of the evening. Jujhar Khaira also registered a helper on the play.
Blues lose in the shoot-out as Connor McDavid was able to win it with a beautiful shot over Jake Allen to seal the deal.
Thanks for reading, Blues fans.