I will never understand why the Blues feel like going into a defensive shell to protect a one goal lead is a good idea. I don't know if it's a coaching decision or just a We're Tired Because We Played Last Night decision, but you could absolutely feel that it wasn't going to work up in the cheap seats. We all murmured and groaned as the Blues fought off the inevitable tying goal by playing like they were on a penalty kill. It was all they could muster to get the puck out of their zone and catch their breath before weathering yet another attack from the more motivated Predators.
Then, after that goal was scored, we all knew what was coming next. In fact, one guy even said it.
The Blues fall to 12-18-5 at home (11-18-5 in St. Louis) and remain six points out of the eighth seed with 10 games to play. Just to make the point, even the lowly Edmonton Oilers (15th in the Conference) have a better home record than the Note. In fact, if the Blues flipped home records with the awful Columbus Blue Jackets (14th in the Conference, 18-11-7 at home), they'd have 91 points and would be in the fifth seed in the West. You don't even want to know where they'd be if they had Anaheim's or Minnesota's home record - it's just too depressing.
The Blues have no one to blame but themselves for this. They have failed at home all year and will have no other place to look for answers when they're cleaning out their lockers in early April.
As an added bonus for the owners of the team, this loss came at the end of a long game where there were lots and lots of fans complaining about the cost of their renewals for their season tickets. It's far from scientific, but based on what I heard tonight, they're going to get plenty of angry emails, letters and calls on this increase. I know a lot of people who are seriously considering just staying home next year. But I'll have more on that topic later this week, and honestly, most of you probably won't agree with me on this one.
As for the game itself, here are a few discussion points:
- Carlo Colaiacovo is playing the best hockey of his career this year. He is also a free agent this summer and indications are that the Blues may just let him walk. But should they? He's only 27 and seems to fit the team mold.
- David Perron makes yet another beauty goal with a tip-in to take the lead for the Blues. He continues to be inconsistent in his efforts, but is this just a sign of his youth? Is he getting better as the years go on?
- I've always thought T.J. Oshie was going to be a high-tempo guy who makes his team better and has the flash of offensive touch. I also figured he'd settle in to about a 20-goal, 40-point a year rhythm. He's already got 42 points this year and seems to becoming even more comfortable offensively. Is he going to become more offensive than that?
- Paul Kariya is, in accordance with prophesy, turning it on at the tail end of his contract. A few weeks ago he was a lock to walk away from this team. Now he seems to have great chemistry with David Backes and Oshie. Should he stay now? What's the magic number where he makes sense: $2.5 mil? $3 mil?
- Chris Mason saw a lot of shots, some of which he made great saves on to preserve the tie/lead. Is it just me, or is he still wildly frustrating as a starter?
- Davis Payne as full-time head coach. I know where I fall on this one, what about you? Yay or nay on a continuation of the House Of Payne?
- Next game is Wednesday in Detroit. Predictions?