The St. Louis Blues are on the verge of repeating their 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs woes, which saw them go up 2-0 in the series against the Los Angeles Kings, only to be thwarted over the next 4 games, and ultimately lose the series in 6.
Comparing Series Similarities is Astounding
One may look at the Blues team of last year, and this year’s squad and think, they are similar but oh so very different. However when you compare the stats from last year’s contest against the Kings, and this year’s against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks you may think the deck is stacked against us.
Comparing the Stats
When looking at the 2013 first round match-up against the Kings we see that Blues power forward Alexander Steen scored the game winner, in OT, in Game 1. Moving to Game 2 shows a defensive defenseman Barret Jackman get the game winner, just seconds before a seemingly imminent overtime period.
Now as the series moved to LA the Blues seemed to be in the best place possible, until the Kings offense woke up, and the Blues’ went to sleep. They were shutout at the Staples Center in Game 3, despite outshooting the Kings 30-21, a margin of 9 shots in hand. In Game 4 the Blues managed to battle back, and with a 3-2 lead going into the contest’s final minutes, the Kings managed to score 2 goals and complete a 4-3 comeback win.
Game 5 was back in St. Louis and saw All-Star defenseman Alex Pietrangelo net the game-tying goal of a great pass by Jaden Schwartz just 45 seconds before the end of regulation. Ultimately the Kings would win it on a Slava Voynov’s goal in the first overtime period.
Fast Forward to 2014
As we look at what this first round series against the Blackhawks has to offer, it may physically upset the stomachs of Blues fans around the globe.
Game 1 was a double-overtime win with a goal coming off of Alexander Steen’s stick. Game 2 saw Barret Jackman sneak one through Corey Crawford’s wickets for a Notes victory. Game 3 saw a Blues team that couldn’t by a goal, which resulted in a shutout loss at the Untied Center.
Game 4 was an intense battle that saw the Blues gain the advantage halfway through the third period, only to let up a late goal, and ultimately lose in overtime by a score of 4-3. Finally, Game 5 was back in St. Louis and saw some sloppy play that led to a missed coverage situation sending Hawks’ captain Jonathan Toews on a breakaway, which he converted for the win, in the first OT.
Time to Break the Trend
Though this series has eerily similar results as last year’s loss to the Kings, it can still be avoided. If the Blues can get to their game from the start, and can play a full 60-minutes they can rebound in Chicago and send this series to a pivotal Game 7 on home ice.
Let’s home they have the heart to bear down and get a huge win today at the United Center to avoid haunting nightmares of another playoff series lost over the summer. It will surely be a true test of determination and grit, but if any team can do it, this Blues one can. In St. Louis we all bleed blue, and it’s time for the team to show us why we do so. Let’s go Blues!
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Mike has covered the St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning in depth for The Hockey Writers since 2013. He is also a contributing writer for KSDK News Channel 5, the St. Louis area NBC affiliate, and has been a credentialed media member of the Blues since 2014. Follow him on Twitter @pep30.