On Wednesday night, Blues fans who stayed up late hoping for the game to end with a series lead got treated to something they haven’t seen the team do in a postseason game for a while.
The Blues snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
They practically pounced on the Canucks to start the game, showing that when they play hard, and when they wear down opponents, there are few better teams in the NHL. Then, inexplicably, in the second period the score shifted from a 3-1 Blues lead to 4-3 Vancouver one.
As a silver lining, none of the goals that the Blues allowed involved Quinn Hughes, nor were they power play goals. They were, however, a direct result from a team that took their foot off of the gas - and the Blues know it.
“[We] fell asleep there for whatever, 10-15 minutes of that (second) period,” Schenn said. “[We] quit moving our feet, quit playing hard in our D-zone and made some mistakes and before you know it, it’s 4-3.”
More frustrating is the fact that the Blues checked out after getting control of the game in the first period. They bounced back from a sequence that could be best described as pure bad luck: Alex Pietrangelo’s stick snapped on a one-timer attempt on the power play, and Tyler Motte was able to take the puck down and score a short handed goal. Motte scored the game winning goal on a Blues turnover.
For the first time in a while in postseason comments, fans were treated to the phrase “you got to play for 60 minutes,” which would’ve been helpful for the Blues to remember during that stretch of play in the second period. The last minute goal that the Blues thought tied it? In past the buzzer.
The Blues have been down 3-2 before in a series, so this isn’t the end of the playoffs by a long shot. If the Blues whittle away another lead again tonight, though, it is. They may have to win game six without both Carl Gunnarsson and Alexander Steen, but they’ve faced worse adversity.
If Wednesday’s loss is any indication, the Blues’ greatest opponent can be themselves.