It started Saturday night after the St. Louis Blues miserable loss to the Maple Leafs. One half of Blues' fandom with torches and pitchforks roaming the streets looking for Hitchcock and Armstrong. The other half trying to persuade the raging mob that this was only just a few games and there is nothing to worry about.
Wrong. This "lull" in play is more than just a few bad games. Looking at the Blues' key stats since the start of the season we can see a slow downward trend in play that starts back towards the start of November.
First, take a look at the trend lines for corsi for and corsi against at 5v5 play (all stats in this article are 5v5). While the Blues are still on the positive side of corsi (above 50%) for the season, you can see that the for and against lines are starting to come close to intersecting. Blues are known for their puck possession and if things keep heading in a similar direction, the Blues will be on the wrong side of corsi by the end of the month.
Second, the trend lines for scoring chances for and against have already intersected. In other words, scoring chances for are in a downward trend while scoring chances against have been slowly and steadily increasing since the beginning of the season. The Blues might still be on the right side of corsi, they are trending on the wrong side of scoring chances. But that has been obvious when you watch how they play.
Third, the trends for goals for and goals against are even more exaggerated with the trend lines crossing before the scoring chance trend lines crossed. (Remember these are goals for and against at 5v5.)
Finally, we look at the season to date PDO and the drop it takes after the 15th game on November 10th against the Devils. The season to date PDO is what the team's PDO is at that given point in time. The Blues were riding high during the first part of the season but whether it was injuries, Hitchcock, or player apathy, they have started falling back down to earth.
So as you can see, this isn't just a blip in an 82 game season. This lull is the result of bad play, decision making, bad coaching, lack of leadership, or whatever you want to blame, starting back in November. This is why Blues fans are upset and they have every right to be. We all know this team can play better.
I just added the past few games to these charts, and some interesting things changed with the trends. First, instead of the corsi for and corsi against trend lines narrowing to meet, they are both trending upward. The scoring chance for and against trends are starting to diverge from one another. However, the goals for and against trends remain steady and the PDO remains low. For those of you on #HitchcockWatch, coaches tend to get fired during periods of low PDO. If Armstrong follows that trend and the PDO keeps dropping or remains steady the Blues might see a new coach by the All-Star game.