Frustrating game to watch. I had a hunch Binnington was going to make life difficult when he robbed Palat on that early chance. Vasi got out-dueled. Hopefully all that money hasn't gone to his head and created a distraction.
There is no participation trophy for playing a close game against the defending champ. You are either good enough to beat them, or not. The Lightning lost both matchups. In a 7-game series, I'd be surprised if the Bolts took it to game six before being eliminated by this Blues squad.
There is still a lot of work to do and Cooper isn't doing it. As Sam said, the PP entries are an open book and every team has memorized that book. It's telegraphed. And it's ineffective. It's like a flee-flicker play in football - just run it once in a while to keep the other team honest, but don't run one on every play. This team has enough talented puck-handlers (even without Stamkos), so the PP should be successful while mixing things up.
Palat - Point - Kucherov seems to be a solid combo.
Maroon - Paquette - Gourde is also solid.
Killorn - Cirelli makes a good tag team
Beyond that, there seems to be some lack of chemistry and permanence between the 2nd and 3rd lines.
Johnson hasn't really found his footing yet.
Verhageemouse hasn't moved the needle.
Conacher also doesn't move the needle.
Joseph has great hustle, but stone hands and no finishing.
Volkov hasn't shown much other than getting hurt.
Once Stamkos gets back, I'd try putting him with Cirelli and Killorn and see if that works.
Vasilevskiy has been bad for a while now. If he doesn't get it figured out, that contract will look like a real albatross sooner rather than later.