St. Louis Blues need to do the little things against the Predators

After tying their second round series in the Stanley Cup playoffs 1-1 behind Vladimir Tarasenko’s two goals, the St. Louis Blues laid an egg against the Nashville Predators on Sunday afternoon, losing 3-1, in a game that wasn’t as close as the score. The Blues now find themselves down 2-1 in the series, and needing to find another gear if they are going to overcome the Predators.

In game 2, a big reason the Blues won was their discipline. They only allowed one penalty, and enjoyed the ensuing special teams advantage. In game 3, that was not the case. In the first period alone, the Blues took three penalties, and while technically they killed all of them off, Ryan Ellis’ goal came three seconds after Ryan Reaves’ elbowing penalty expired.

Throughout the game, the Blues’ frequent penalty disrupted the flow of the game, and contributed partially to the frequent disappearance of the Blues’ offense throughout the game. And, no, disappearance is not an understatement. There were frequent stretches throughout the game where the Blues did not manage a shot on goal. Over the course of the game, the Predators outshot the Blues 34-23. The most glaring example of this disparity came in the second period though, where the Predators outshot the Blues 18-4. In the second period, the Blues didn’t get their first shot on goal off until there was 7:01 left in the second period, when Alex Steen redirected a shot from Alex Pietrangelo into the net.

It’s a testament to Jake Allen that the Blues were within striking distance until 5:49 was left in the third period, when Roman Josi directed a laser into the net to make the score 3-1, after a sequence where it felt like the Predators had the puck in the Blues’ zone for roughly forever. It was a fitting way for the Preds to put away the game, relentlessly attacking the Blues while the Blues were unable to get anything going in their direction.

If the Blues are going to turn things around, they need to start doing the little things to jumpstart their attack. One of the most glaring stats from game 3 was the faceoff battle, which was 62-38 percent in favor of the Predators. The Blues need to start winning more faceoffs if they want to win this series. Additionally, they need to improve their play in the center part of the ice. The Predators’ were dominating in that area, and thus smothering the Blues’ chances to attack before they could even get started.

Being down 2-1 isn’t the end of the world, and the Blues certainly have a good chance to come back and gain control of the series, but they have a lot of work to do if that’s going to be the case.

Yardbarker: NHL

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 − five =