For the first time in the Ken Hitchcock era, the St. Louis Blues have lost two games in a row in regulation. There have been a few more two-game losing streaks, but every one has included a shootout or overtime loss. Now that's consistency. Oh yea, the Blues lost 4-2 to the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. It was how you say, lackluster at best.
Boston jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and it looked like the game was going to get out of hand. Then the Blues came back and tied it on goals from the offensively challenged Chris Stewart and suddenly a sniper Ryan Reaves (two goals in three games, woot). But a late first period goal gave the Bruins a 3-2 first intermission lead. And then the Blues got all the chances in the second period and no one scored. And then a breakaway halfway through the third pretty much broke the spirit of the Blues.
This loss is not the end of the world. I will give you these bullets only with the assurance that you will not do yourself harm with them.
- Brian Elliott allowed the softest goal of his Blues career in the first. The puck hit two sticks and fluttered in a lazy rainbow. He was sliding to his left, but his glove just plain missed the puck. That was a bad sign. Yet, the Blues bailed him out and tied it up. Alas.
- The best player on the ice early for the Blues was Kris Russell. He was skating really well (maybe I should have included him on that one list last week) and he had a nose for the puck. Didn't really make anything happen, however.
- Maybe there's some credence to the idea that Elliott can be exposed if he plays a little too much or just against the best opposition. He didn't have to play that well to get another shutout on Saturday, he played ok, but kept the Blues in the game in Chicago and then had what I would call a weak performance against Boston. Jaroslav Halak is rumored to be the starter Thursday in Boston.
- When you're lugging the Cup around the country as the defending champs (They get to do that, right? I can picture Zdeno Chara having it as his carryon luggage.) I think the officials tend to give you the benefit of the doubt. Of course Alex Pietrangelo wasn't tripped. And no, Chara spinning David Perron down with his stick wasn't against the rules. Heck no. And of course, that's not a reason the score ended as it did. But it didn't help.
- Of course, calling the Blues for goalie interference with 34 seconds to play in the game in a mad scramble in front of the net was probably just rubbing it in my the refs. One of them took a stick in the face from David Backes.
- The trade deadline is five days away. Just though I'd mention it.
- Coming into the game, Boston had won all 23 games they led after two periods. So if you heard that half a dozen times on the broadcast, you shouldn't have been too surprised at the outcome. Now if the Blues had scored a third goal in the third period...streaks would have collided.
Hey, at least we now know the Eastern Conference isn't completely soft. And the Blues have to play near their best to beat the best. And if they want to redeem themselves, they'll have plenty of opportunity at the nemesis Nashville Predators on Thursday. Why that's tomorrow!
Anything sticking in your craw after this one? Pull it out and show us down below.