Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Jake Allen made a huge error at a critical point of the game which ended up allowing the Nashville Predators to score the deciding goal. Allen was deservedly blasted for his mistake, but it’s important to remember that the blame for the Game 1 loss should fall on many more shoulders.
Following the game, Allen blamed himself for the Game 1 result, but that’s reaching. His mistake proved costly, but the loss was a team effort.
Once again, the Blues put their penalty killers to the test thanks to a series of penalties in Game 1. The Predators found their first goal with the man advantage and later their third goal as the Blues put themselves in a 5-on-3 disadvantage. Blame the officials all you want, but the Blues really need to learn how to stay out of the box.
Nashville’s second goal was due to another criminal offense the Blues make far too often. Instead of capitalizing on an opportunity to clear the puck, the Blues tried to do a bit too much. That led to the Predators keeping the puck in the zone and finding the back of the net. In the playoffs, there’s no wiggle room for errors in your own zone. No one is saying to repeatedly ice the puck, but it’s better than giving up a scoring chance.
What is going on in the faceoff circle? Just like the Minnesota series, the Blues were destroyed on draws, winning just 38%. The Predators were good on faceoffs during the regular season (8th in the NHL), but the Blues need to find a way to even things up some.
Loss aside, the Blues did a lot of things well. They scored three times on Pekka Rinne which is a pretty noteworthy accomplishment. The Chicago Blackhawks needed four games to beat Rinne three times. The Blues also climbed back into a game in impressive fashion when trailing by two goals and with the momentum clearly in Nashville’s favor.
Circling back, Allen’s blunder was a bad one. Still, his overall play in the playoffs should forgive the occasional mistake while the rest of the roster needs to cut down on their own mistakes.