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Blues Bits January 30: St. Louis Blues versus Winnipeg Jets
January 31, 2023
Final Score: Jets 4, Blues 2
After four disappointing losses in a row, the Blues headed north to play a red-hot Winnipeg team. Headed by a stunningly rejuvenated Mark Schiefle, the Jets looked to further their playoff spot by pounding a now tanking Blues team into the ground. With Vladimir Tarasenko recently off Injured Reserve, and his all-important trade request on the line, all eyes were on the Blue note as they took on the Jets. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to see. It took just 21 seconds for the Jets to take a 2-1 deficit and turn it into a 3-2 lead. The Blues fell victim to their fifth straight loss, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better.
The Blues opened strong. Goalie Jordan Binnington kept the score tied with an impressive performance in net, keeping everything out of the crease. The defense didn’t make it easy, and Justin Faulk was caught fishing for Connor Bedard. The young forwards, eager to please their overlord in General Manager Doug Armstrong, provided a spark of energy that kept the game alive. The Jets looked sluggish in the corners, and the Blues classic Hitchcockian strategy of “dump-and-chase” won most battles for the entry. 0-0 all.
Hallelujah! Jake Neighbours converts a beautiful goal on the powerplay, a backhander over the glove side of Jet’s Goalie Connor Hellebyuck. That was, of course, after 16 minutes of non-stop barrage by the Jets. Binnington got hit with so much artillery that his helmet started to smoke. The Jets had racked up 15 shots before the Blues managed to get any meaningful chances in return. However, Binnington once again stood on his head like a circus act, stopping everything flung at him (with help from his trusty post, of course). The Blues emerged from their powerplay fueled euphoria to realize that they still had another period of hockey to play. 1-0, good guys.
Well, it was nice while it lasted. Nikita Alexandrov managed to demolish a shot past Hellebyuck to give the Blues a 2-0 lead. It took 21 seconds for the Jets to go up 3-2. Both Torey Krug and Faulk gave up softballs that left Binnington out to dry. Sure, he could’ve stopped the pucks, but if the D-men had done their job, it wouldn’t have even gotten past the blue line. The Jets put the icing on the tank by scoring another with 5 minutes to go, leading 4-2. Binnington, visibly frustrated, was unable to stop the shot from up close. Despite their struggles, the young forwards again perked up when down, giving hope that the Blues would drum up some sort of miracle. It didn’t happen. 4-2 Jets.
Embrace the tank
Connor Bedard, baby! The Blues aren’t doing much right, and it’s time to reset. Give the veterans a rest, and play the AHL guys who need experience in the Big Leagues. If you win games, you win games. If you don’t, so be it. Just a bigger chance to go first overall in the draft lottery. It’ll hurt, but oh, well.
Defensive Swiss Cheese
Have you ever tried to use swiss cheese to stop a puck from going into the net? Me neither, but Faulk seems to think he’s some sort of dairy product. His sneakily bad season continues. Multiple defensive miscues resulted in nasty goals for the Jets, and he hasn’t proven the value that we saw last season. Trade block? No. But it’s time for him to get pulled aside at practice.
The Zest of Life is Young Hockey Players
Alexandrov and Neighbours. Need I say more? They’ve energized that bottom six, and I hope it doesn’t stop. A look at the future tonight gives me more hope than I thought it would, even if I did think we could snag a win. If Bedard joins those ranks, who knows what could happen? Stay hopeful, Blues fans.
Blues Bits 3-Stars of the Game:
First Star: Connor Bedard – Tank for him please I’m begging
Second Star: Jordan Binnington – 35 SV, .921 SV%
Third Star: Jake Neighbours – 1G, 1A