Do you know how you win a hockey game? Sure, it's about scoring goals, but it's also about keeping goals from being scored on you. You do that through attention to detail -- the little things. Winning face offs, clearing the zone, not turning the puck over, not taking constant penalties against the league's top ranked power play... you know, little things.
The Blues didn't play their sharpest game today. It feels like I've written that sentence in a game day recap about ten thousand times this season. That's hyperbole, I know, but just the fact that I feel like I've written that so many times says something. The Blues not paying attention along the boards led to the first goal, a shorthanded goal by Andrew Cogliano. You can't let a guy like that snag the puck, because once he does, he flies. Sure, you killed off a five-on-three, and it was tough work, but you can't tune out like that.
You also can't get wrapped up in the fact that you've scored, as the Blues did after Patrik Berglund's power play goal to start the third. A team as good as the Ducks is going to answer, and they did about a minute and a half later because of defensive inattention from Berglund and Alex Pietrangelo. Failure to clear the zone by the Blues led to Corey Perry's power play goal a couple of minutes later.
And yes, the penalty calls were just atrocious in this game, especially the slashing call against Barret Jackman with about ten minutes left to go in the game. Jackman lifted his hand and told Corey Perry to stop after an offside, and Perry shoves Jackman back, which apparently is a slashing minor even though no stick was moved. The Blues killed it off, which I'm sure keeps more blame from being heaped on the refs for today's loss.
But honestly, the Blues didn't lose because of horrible calls. They lost because of the little things and, yet again, the inability to focus for a full 60 minutes. Over the course of a full 82 game season that might not be a big deal, but every point literally counts double this year, and letting this many slip away is getting frustrating. The Blues record should be so much higher than what it is, and they really have only themselves to blame for that.