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The Sports Daily > Frozen Notes
The Blues are winning despite still giving up two-goal leads

It’s a tale as old as time.

The St. Louis Blues have now given up two, two-goal leads in their first three games of the 2017-18 season. That’s a pretty familiar narrative which has seemingly carried over not only from last season, but from the past several seasons. Remarkably, or perhaps luckily, the Blues still hold a pristine 3-0-0 record.

What’s been driving the Blues’ inability to hold down a two-goal lead? There’s the obvious – and annoying – “most dangerous lead in hockey” talk. There’s also the fact the Blues are taking some silly penalties and forgetting how to play shutdown defense, giving up a ton of quality chances.

Jake Allen is a huge reason the Blues are 3-0-0 to start the season. Against the New York Islanders, Allen stood tall and stopped 40-of-42 shots. The Isles were able to fire 15 shots in the second period and 16 in the third, illustrating that the Blues are playing a bit loose on defense. He was also solid against the Penguins and outstanding against the Stars, but you know that if you’ve watched.

Against Pittsburgh, the Blues handing the Penguins a 5-on-3 midway through the third illustrates some of that lack of discipline. There may be a learning curve with how the officials are calling things in the new season. Still, the Blues are spending way too much time in the box (15 minor penalties in three games).

Problems aside, the Blues are winning. Being too critical is being too picky, but it is important to point out a troubling trend before it’s too late. It’s early, but the Blues can’t sit back and allow the opposing team to dictate the play once a lead has been secured.

Maybe, just maybe, the Blues will finally learn how to buck this trend.

3 thoughts on “The Blues are winning despite still giving up two-goal leads

  1. I had the sneaking suspicion that the slashing crackdown was going to have a strong impact on a team that’s been depressingly undisciplined when it comes to stick fouls for the past decade or so (if not longer). They’ve killed 86.7% of them thus far, but it’s one of those things that’s going to catch up in a hurry, if for no other reason than that the percentages will catch up with them eventually if they keep having to kill an outsized number of them. They’re also scoring on an even 25% of their powerplays at the moment, for a combined 111.7, which does check the old coach’s box of wanting the two to add up over 100.

    Equally questionable is the team’s 47.9% faceoff win percentage after three games, a number good for 25th in the league. The boys are getting the job done despite this for now, too, but a little more possession off the draw definitely wouldn’t hurt their chances.

    On the plus side, oh, hey, Tarasenko. It was literally just last game that I was mentioning his one goal and three shots through two games. Well… make that three goals on seven shots, just like that, and he doesn’t even get credit for the laser he blasted in against Greiss in the shootout.

    We don’t have to wait terribly long to see if any of these things continue, of course, with the Rags due up in 21.5 hours from the time of this post. For the record, they’re winning 51.9% of their faceoffs to date, scoring on 33% of their powerplays, and killing 66.7% of their penalties. And, barring him coming down with Halak Disease, we’ll see Shattenkirk, too.

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    1. I will say, some of those calls on the Blues were pretty light. I know teams all around the league are seeing the same thing, but I feel bad calling out the lack of discipline when I know at least a couple instances really shouldn’t have been calls in the first place.

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  2. I agree, really. I wasn’t trying to say that it’s a further failure in team discipline, so much as, I expected it to be more of a problem for a team like the Blues, with their history of dumb stick fouls, than it might be for some others. The call on Tarasenko, particularly, was a pretty clear-cut case of the ref calling what he thought he saw, rather than what happened – that kind of thing is going to happen in the game anyway, and especially when the league is trying to crack down on the actual slashing that’s going on.

    What still gets me is the “slashed the stick out of the guy’s hands” slashing call. A slash strong enough to do that if a player is *actually* holding on to their stick is going to break one of these composite sticks like a twig most times anyway. “Hold on to your stick tighter,” and so on.

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