The St. Louis Blues are currently battling for the top spot in their division and in their conference. With one of the league’s best records, it may feel or sound overly critical to dissect the things they’re doing poorly. Ignore that feeling. It’s not overreacting to point out what’s not working for the Blues and what they need to improve on.
The Blues are 4-5-1 over their last 10 games. That stretch has been a wild ride, with some ugly low-scoring efforts and some massive offensive outbursts. Consistency has been lacking in a big way.
Offensively, the Blues have struggled to maintain consistent pressure in the offensive zone. When they have generated shots, they’ve been mostly from ineffective, low-threat areas or they have hit the opposing netminder in the logo. Generating 40+ shots doesn’t mean much when those shots are mostly harmless.
Have the Blues relied too much on their top line? Probably. Have the Blues asked too much from their goaltenders? I’d say so. Has their defense been pretty lousy? Yep. Can the goaltending improve? Absolutely. Can the team as a whole collectively play better hockey? Definitely.
It’s actually less worrisome when there’s so many things to work on. When nothing is working, it’s fair to expect at least a few areas to improve sooner than later. We know the Blues are better than this.
The good news is that there’s a clear path the team can follow to improve. That path is the style and approach they found success with earlier in the season. It’s likely that the roster/lineup changes caused by players returning from injury have derailed some of the chemistry the Blues enjoyed during the early stages of the season. On paper, the players returning represents an upgrade. In reality, juggling some of the lines and pairings may have thrown things off. It may take time to settle.
This weekend’s game against Minnesota saw the Blues fall in overtime, but it was a step in the right direction. The Blues had more offensive zone time and though they asked Jake Allen to stand on his head, they did a better job of cutting down on some of the unsustainable end-to-end play.
To wrap up this little rant, it’s important to maintain a critical eye on the Blues no matter how well they’re performing. Enjoy the good times, but don’t let the concerns slip under the radar as they can pile up in a hurry.