The St. Louis Blues were rolling, jumping to a 5-1 lead in front of a home crowd that was desperate for a victory. David Perron netted a hat trick, Jake Allen made some key saves and the young forwards on the Blues were contributing.
Then things got a little bit ugly. The Blues sat back and allowed the Calgary Flames to dictate the play. The Flames got one goal back. Then another. All of a sudden, the Blues were back in a fight where they shouldn’t have been after securing a large lead. Fans picked up on the Blues’ hesitant, reluctant play almost immediately. Groans filled the crowd (a fairly sparse crowd, at that) as the Flames kept bringing the puck into the zone, relatively uncontested, and firing away at Allen.
Thankfully, the night ended with a win, but how often did we all watch similar results last season? How often were leads squandered due to a bizarre mental barrier that prevented finishing off opponents?
Normally, it’s easy to look at a win, appreciate the two points and move on. Here, the Blues are under the microscope and the results are still a bit worrisome. It will take time for all of the pieces brought in to fall into place. Between all of the new faces, there’s not much leftover from last season. That’s a good thing, but it also means there’s a lot to learn and a lot of chemistry to create.
Here the key may be patience. Patience to see what this team really has under the hood. Patience to avoid making decisions too quickly. You can’t overhaul a roster and expect it to look perfect by the third game of the season. The Blues looked a lot better against the Flames, but let’s remember they still have a lot to work on.