The Blues need to get back to playing focused hockey.
So much for the theory that the Blues’ loss to the Arizona Coyotes last week was the catalyst that would jumpstart their play. Not only did the Blues not build on their win over the San Jose Sharks, they went in the absolute different direction. They allowed a power play goal to Ryan Suter, who is busy proving himself after being dumped by the Minnesota Wild this summer. They then allowed two shorthanded goals to Roope Hintz.
The only Blues player who built on their strong play from Thursday night was Brandon Saad, who netted another power play goal. Aside from that, the team looked flat and disinterested. They didn’t play “stupid,” as Torey Krug called them out for doing against the Coyotes, but they also didn’t look prepared for Dallas.
“They were very hungry coming off a tough loss,” St. Louis captain Ryan O’Reilly said. “They came super aggressive, and it’s tough when they do that. It’s tough to make clean plays, and it’s not one guy specifically at fault there. It’s all of us together.”
If the Blues can’t play against aggressive teams, well, there’s your gameplan everyone. Just be aggressive against St. Louis, and they’ll cave.
Clearly, this should not be a long-term strategy for the Blues. Two wake-up calls within a week’s worth of hockey isn’t something teams should have, but let’s hope that’s what happened here. The team can’t be uncoordinated until Brayden Schenn returns. Their habit of not knowing how to play an effective game when one of their key players is out is something that they picked up whenever Jaden Schwartz was injured. It appears that Schenn is the new Schwartz.
While the Blues were busy playing sloppy on Saturday, the Vegas Golden Knights rallied from a 2-1 deficit against the Columbus Blue Jackets to win 3-2. Vegas has won five of their last six games and are fighting to get back into the mix in the Pacific Division. There are no easy games or free victories in the NHL – the Blues discovered that last week – but tonight’s game might be tougher than the Blues want to deal with right now.