The Blues had a golden chance on Monday afternoon to continue takin good strides toward a possible playoff berth and turned those Blues fans’ dreams into a nightmare, losing 4-3 in a game that was easily winnable.
The Blues opened the scoring a little over 10 minutes into the game on a goal by Mackenzie MacEachern and extended it to two when Oskar Sundqvist scored with 1:11 left in the 1st period. As the Blues have been prone to do though, they gave a goal back almost immediately, giving up an easy goal to Tyler Toffoli only 15 seconds later. Ivan Barbarshev’s terrible giveaway leads to the late goal against.
Compounding matters are the poor attempt at defense by Alex Pietrangelo who seems to use a stick lift when trying to block the passing lane?
Compounding matters even further are a terrible read by Jordan Binnington who doesn’t read the pass at all, something that should be the primary read given the circumstance and instead butterflies on the pass as if it were a shot. Of course Binnington likely doesn’t make the save even with a proper read but he removes any chance of a save with the wrong read.
This is a terrible, momentum changing goal to give up in the last minute of a period after obtaining clear possession of the puck.
The Blues would further open the door for the Kings by taking 8 minutes of penalties in a 2:29 stretch, creating two 5 on 3 power plays. The Blues penalty killing and Binnington did well to only surrender one power play goal in the stretch.
The Blues would again give up a late period goal, this time with just under 2 minutes left in the period. The Blues would have numerous chances to get the puck deep into the Kings zone and get a change but would fail every time. The last fail was from a lazy pay by Pietrangelo at center ice.
His mistake is compounded by about the worst way you could play a 2 on 1 by Carl Gunnarsson, who acts like he is going to take the pass but doesn’t while also not challenging the puck carrier in any way.
Ryan O’Reilly would give Blues fans hope by getting the game tying power play goal just 6 minutes into the 3rd period before the Blues would have a massive defensive zone coverage lapse and give up the game winning goal midway through the 3rd period.
Binnington played well stopping some breakaways and other quality chances but he couldn’t do enough. Jordan Kyrou only played 4:55 and I’m not sure he got a shift after his penalty. Of course, both Jordans were sent down today, Kyrou and Nolan as Zach Sanford and Tyler Bozak were activated off IR.
For those of you who like some of the fancier stats, take this game as a good example as to how they are flawed. According to Corsica Hockey, Binnington stopped all 8 high danger shots against. This means that their statistics don’t believe that Toffoli or Kopitar’s goals were high danger shots. Ask any ice hockey player if they were high danger and I bet you get at least 90% consensus that they were. The advanced statistics are still too simple which is exactly why I believe each team is, or should be, tracking their own advanced statistics based on their own definitions but this is a matter for another day.
Right now, the Blues have to focus on trying to get 2 points in Anaheim in their last game before their bye week.
The Ducks are 4 points ahead of the Blues though they have played two more games. A win today will give the Blues a higher points percentage. The Ducks nave been terrible lately, going 2-5-3 in their last 10 games. They have been pedestrian at home with a record of 10-7-8. They are 2nd to last in the NHL in scoring though the Kings are last and didn’t seem to have trouble scoring Monday against the Blues.
The Ducks leading scorer (goals) is Jakob Silfverberg with 12 goals though he is injured. John Gibson is having a Vezina caliber season with a 92.1% save percentage while getting little defensive help.
For the Blues, it sounds like Berube is bucking the statistics and going with Binnington again today in Anaheim. Allen has been very good against the Ducks with a 92.3% save percentage and a 1.92 goals against while going 6-3-0. Allen also has been extremely good on the road this season.
With Bozak and Sanford back, expect the lineup to be this:
Schenn - O'Reilly – Tarasenko
Schwartz - Bozak – Steen
Sanford - Sundqvist - Maroon
MacEachern - Barbashev - Blais
Gunnarsson - Pietrangelo
Bouwmeester - Parayko
Dunn - Edmundson
Given Bortuzzo’s costly double minor penalty, it’s not surprising that Edmundson replaces him.
NHL Champions for Charity
We’ve gotten some traction on the charity wager among the Central Division bloggers. The third charity I’ll highlight is Best Buddies Tennessee https://www.bestbuddies.org/tennessee/
from your Predators’s Blogger Paul McCann
. Best Buddies Tennessee is dedicated to establishing a volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development and inclusive living opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As a side note, I recently got to experience a Best Buddies even in the St. Louis area that was led by the Eureka high school football team. It was a lot of fun and brought a lot of joy to those involved.
It’s a great day for hockey.