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Wednesday October 26. St. Louis Blues versus Edmonton Oilers
October 27, 2022
Final Score: St. Louis Blues: one – Edmonton Oilers: three
After fighting their way to four points for the standings in the pacific northwest, the Blues returned home to an energetic crowd. Despite the energy in the building, cautious Blues fans noticed the absence of Pavel Buchnevich and Brandon Saad on the ice, two of General Manager Doug Armstrong’s biggest acquisitions in the 2021 offseason. With young Josh Leivo and Tyler Pitlick in for the veterans, cuticles began to bleed, nails began to nub and legs began to bounce. The puck hit the ice and away they went.
The Blues defensive issues began early this time, sparing us the anxiety of wondering when they would give up the blue-line. Nick Leddy looked like a poorly-animated zombie from a low budget horror film. Dead on the ice. Defensively, the Blues couldn’t skate their way to the puck, so it was no surprise when Edmonton scored their first goal of the game. Jordan Kyrou couldn’t find his head again and Robert Thomas was a defensive liability. The pair signed contracts this summer (8.5 million x 8 years) and some fans were quick to point out the poor play from the future stars. The Blues transitioned on a high note, with good physical play in the corners and strong defensive presence. This didn’t last long enough, and the Blues would end the period giving up a chance. 1-0, bad guys.
The boys got it together in the second. Good defensive play from Justin Faulk and Colton Parayko kept the Blues out of trouble. The 5-on-5 issues didn’t end though. After drawing a penalty, captain Ryan O’Reilly ended his scoring drought with a huge power-play goal in the first half of the second. Jordan Binnington looked sharper than his cup run form, keeping the game close into the final minutes of the second. The game played heavily in the middle of the ice, and the Blues managed to win plenty of puck battles against a motivated Edmonton team. 1-1, all.
Oh how I love to watch it all burn. Sitting in my bedroom with a bowl of popcorn and a can of soda, I was ecstatic to watch the Blues finish off their foes after a strong second period. How disappointed I was. The Blues immediately began their defensive lapse in the opening minutes of the period. Leddy and Thomas reprised their roles as giant voids in the defense. The Blues lost puck battles on the boards, lost confidence in their powerplay and seemed unable to challenge Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl when they had the puck. Binnington looked strong, but he wasn’t able to keep the goal hungry cretins known as ‘Oilers’ from scoring on him for much longer. The boys got it back together for the final five minutes, but still stumbled to score on a very impressive Stuart Skinner. Zach Hyman scored once more to finish off my hopes and dreams, and the Blues headed to the locker room, heads hung low. 3-1 final.
What are we doing?:
The Blues cannot seem to play defense. A lack of forward depth and injuries compounded by an offensively focused backend is tearing this team apart. The coaches need to reinforce the defensive nature of the blue-line, and get the team back in place. Leddy and Thomas looked like gaping holes on the ice, and the Blues cannot and should not expect to play well with bad defense.
Oh Dougie, My Dougie:
We need our boys back. Key losses in Ville Husso, Oskar Sundqvist, and David Perron (all to the Red Wings, I might add) have come to rip the team in two. Not to mention the issue of failing to sign our 4th liners to contracts that would’ve helped build our bottom line. The defensive struggles against Edmonton are largely a consequence of these losses. We’re struggling to find the pieces, and Dougie is to blame.
A German and A Canadian walk into an NHL Stadium:
The good news is that the Blues don’t have to worry about goaltending. Greiss and Binnington both look strong, and it’s likely that they’ll continue to look good in net. Don’t count the masked men out just yet. They just need a little bit of defensive presence in-front of them. Oh, and stop hanging them out to dry like a damp towel every single game.
Blues Bits Three Stars of the Game:
First Star: My Bowl of Popcorn – Buttery goodness, and it soothes my broken heart
Second Star: Ryan O’Reilly- 1G
Third Star: Jordan Binnington – 25 SV, .926%