St. Louis Blues left winger David Perron was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols just days before the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This was a huge blow for the team, as Perron was the team’s leading scorer with 58 points (19 goals, 39 assists) in 56 games played. He became the first Blues player to average a point per game since the late Pavol Demitra in 2002-03.
“He’s a big part of our team,” Blues defenseman Colton Parayko told ESPN. “Great player. Works hard. Puts up a lot of points.”
“We’ve got to make sure we put our best foot forward with the group we have here.”
The Blues weren’t the only ones who missed Perron. Blues fans also missed Perron. Not only is he an offensive powerhouse, he’s also an all-around good forward who can fill the team’s leadership void. His absence made the heart grow fonder, but in a negative way.
The Blues braced for the playoffs without Perron. When asked about Perron’s status, Blues head coach Craig Berube repeatedly told the media: “David’s on the COVID-19 protocol list right now.” I understand head coaches may not like to answer questions on the same player, but in this instance, Perron was important enough for the media to ask about him several times.
The Blues lost 5-2 to the Colorado Avalanche in Game 4 at Enterprise Center on Sunday. Blues’ goals came from Vladimir Tarasenko scored both goals. Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington made 29 saves in a losing effort. Avalanche’s goals came from Brandon Saad, Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon, and Valeri Nichuskin. Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 18 saves for the victory.
The Blues were short-staffed, outmatched, and outplayed in the first round. The officiating was only part of the equation. The series was lopsided. But the Blues finished the regular season strong and made the playoffs, which I’m sure made the late Bobby Plager proud. Some Blues fans didn’t even think they’d make the playoffs this year.
Had Perron been healthy, the Blues’ first line would’ve been a threat. Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly is his long-time line mate at center. Perron was usually on the right wing. The pair have extensive experience and chemistry as they’ve previously played on the same line for a while.
But Perron is still sidelined and the Blues were tested by the Avalanche. Mike Hoffman was arguably the next man up as his sniper shot reigns supreme on the power play. However, St. Louis couldn’t neutralize Colorado’s first line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. The Blues struggled to get shots, let alone score, and that hurt them a lot.
Craig Berube after Game 4: "They were better than us, for sure, this series. We’ve got to get better, we’ve got to improve.” #stlblues— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) May 24, 2021
This is a problem that David Perron’s presence could have gone a long way to fix.