Apparently old habits die hard.
The St. Louis Blues once again coughed up an opportunity to put away a formidable opponent in a playoff series. As seen repeatedly last year, the Blues had a chance to eliminate a playoff foe and instead played a slow, uninspired game which gave away a critical victory.
Before going any further, the Blues still own a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. That’s still really good, but it’s incredibly frustrating watching the Blues fail to close out an opponent when given an opportunity – especially an opponent who has yet to play up to their full potential.
The Blues had the chance to sweep a playoff series for the first time since 2001. They had a chance to complete what many around the hockey world would call a huge upset prior to the start of the series. Perhaps most importantly, they had a chance to win on home ice in front of a loud crowd and avoid a return trip to Minnesota.
You’d think all of those factors would get everyone pretty pumped up for the game, right? Apparently not.
Casual would be an accurate interpretation. Slow, sluggish and lazy might be some other appropriate adjectives.
The Wild understandably jumped out like a team on the brink of elimination. The Blues came out like a team attempting to win a game by packing it in from the start. Similarly to how the Blues like to sit back after taking a lead, they apparently were comfortable trying that strategy from the very first whistle in Game 4.
How can you not jump out with some excitement with the chance to sweep? The Wild were teetering on the edge and the Blues could have easily knocked them off their game with a strong start. Instead, you know how the game played out as the Blues found their stride far too late and the Wild forced a Game 5.
Historically, maybe fans should have expected this kind of result in Game 4.