Tonight the Blues finish up their two game road trip in Ottawa when the take on the Senators. Puck drops at 6:30 CT and can be seen on Fox Sports Midwest.
The Blues are coming off of a 2-1 overtime win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. A game in which despite being the better possession team and outshooting the Leafs 41 to 29 at even strength they failed to net a goal until the last minute of the game with the goalie pulled.
But as they say, “alls well that ends well”. Carter Hutton was spectacular in goal once again, stopping 30 of 31 shots for a 96.8 save percentage. The only goal he allowed was off a short-handed break away that was a result of Alex Pietrangelo mishandling the puck and failing to keep it in the offensive zone.
The Blues are currently 3-3 for the month of January with all three wins coming when Carter Hutton was in net. During those six games the Blues have been outscored 15-20 despite out shooting their opponents 205-198.
Statistically speaking the Blues have not fallen as far as their record in the last month and a half may suggest. According to naturalstattrick.com at even strength their Goals For of 108 is 5th best in the league while their Goals Against of 92 is 11th best and is only two goals more than eighth placed Dallas Stars.
The Blues Corsi For% of 50.94% still puts them in the top half of the league while their Shots For% of 52.18% is in the top ten and only 0.2% separates them from the top five. Their team save percentage of 92.08% is tenth best in the league and coupled with a shooting percentage of 8.52% is helping them maintain a PDO just north of 1.0.
However, when we look at the Blues stats in all situations, which would include their dreadful power play that is currently ranked 29th in the league, things don’t look quite as good. Their total Goals For of 133 only ranks 18th and their Goals For% of 51.95 falls to 12th.
Despite some recent controversy surrounding the team’s two goalies the one area of concern that the Blues have to address moving forward is their work with the man advantage. Whether the team can do that with their current personal or if they need to look for outside help remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, what they are currently doing is definitely not working.
As for tonight’s opponent, to say things in Ottawa have not went as planned is putting very mildly. With a record of 15-18-9 they currently sit second to last in the Eastern Conference and 3rd to last in the entire league.
Their average Goals For per game of 2.8 is ranked 22nd while their average Goals Against per game of 3.4 is ranked 29th. Their power play percentage of 15.3 and their penalty kill percentage of 74.6 are both ranked 28th.
Their team save percentage in all situations of 89.43 is second to last in the NHL as is their even strength save percentage of 90.08. However, their team shooting percentage of 9.01 suggests that the team may actually be on the “lucky” side when it comes to scoring goals.
It would be easy to blame a lot of the Senators failures on starting goaltender Craig Anderson who’s current save percentage of 89.9 is far below his career average of 91.8 and is having his worst season since arriving in Ottawa back in 2010.
However, when a team’s possession numbers are in the bottom third of the league and they allow more shots on goal than they generate that theory quickly goes out the window.
Bad offense, bad defense, bad special teams and bad goaltending is what the Blues will be facing tonight. And against a team that went 4-10 in the month of December anything less than two points is unacceptable.
Thanks for reading and Go Blues.