St. Louis Blues Offensive Explosion Covers Up Defensive Woes
The St. Louis Blues did not disappoint their fans in the first game back from the Christmas break in terms of a result. How it came about left a few more in limbo.
The St. Louis Blues did just about everything right if you looked only at a stat sheet from their game against the Philadelphia Flyers. They kept their opponent’s shot totals low, they scored six goals, they got the win and got a rare win for backup goaltender, Carter Hutton.
All of those things are great. The bad thing is they allowed three goals against, were trailing 3-2 at one point and two of the three goals were on tic-tac-toe plays.
They were the sort of plays that literally made you wonder where the defense even was. The first goal, the St. Louis Blues had three players near the net. Still, the Flyers managed to find an open player on the backside for basically an empty net.
The same thing was true of the third goal. Granted, it was on a powerplay for Philly, but the backside pressure was nonexistent.
The Blues were allowing Philadelphia to generate too much speed through the neutral zone. They were letting the Flyers connect so many passes that they looked like the Detroit Red Wings from the late 90’s.
Hutton made some good saves to keep the team in the game. It was ultimately the Blues sometimes stale offense that won the day.
For whatever reason, the Blues manage to find ways to get the job done at home. When you really analyze their play on the road and home, they do the same things in both places. It is their will to find ways to come back each time that makes the difference on home ice.
It didn’t hurt that the Blues got goals from some key players. No, Vladimir Tarasenko did not score but it was some other guys that have managed to step up their games.
Kevin Shattenkirk continues to be as good offensively as he is bad defensively. His play has been a conundrum.
He plays well enough offensively that you ponder the possibility of keeping him around. Then he will do something boneheaded in the defensive zone that makes you want him out.
He’s on the team for now. If he can continue producing points it will make him more attractive to any suitors.
Also stepping up was David Perron. Perron seems to have settled in nicely with a line with Paul Stastny and Alexander Steen. They all seem to compliment each other very well, which likely means the line won’t see the light of day for weeks.
Last, but definitely not least, you have Robby Fabbri. How can you not talk about a guy’s first ever hat trick?
Some will say he picked up his last two goals in garbage time. Nonsense I say.
The Blues never score empty net goals, so that is a feat in and of itself. His goal to give the team a 5-3 cushion was a pure effort play combined with a great finish.
You can’t overlook that his first goal of the night gave the Blues a 2-1 lead.
Fabbri is the guy the entire team should be emulating. He didn’t put his head down and pout when he was sat down for a game. He took what the staff said to heart and came back with a vengence.
It’s only one game, but this outbreak puts him way ahead of the pace to equal last year’s total. He now has 11 goals in 36 games. That’s not quite halfway through the season and he only needs seven more to tie last year’s mark.
In the end, clearly you can’t be too harsh on the Blues. They beat a team that, if the Blues were in the Eastern Conference, is ahead of them in the standings.
Still, the team’s defensive lapses cannot be overlooked. Hutton had no chance to save any of the three goals and yet the team allowed three goals on 20 shots and had two goals against on nine shots.
The positive is they held a team that averages 60 chances toward net to only 20 shots. They still allowed those three goals despite their statistical defensive win.
It continues to be a problem. If the team continues to win, we will continue to smooth it over though. At least the team won on NBC, which seems to never happen.
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