Blues Weekly: Ugly Games, Tarasenko, Home Record, & More

The St. Louis Blues didn’t take advantage of playing on home ice last week. They have struggled after a decent start and now have a disappointing 21-20-3 record.

St. Louis Blues Weekly Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou
Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou (The Hockey Writers)

They’ve scored 57 goals and allowed 72 at home this season for a minus-15 goal differential. They have scored 22 more goals on the road in four more games, and their save percentage (SV%) at home is .881 as opposed to .895 on the road. The Blues’ penalty kill isn’t great, but at least, it’s better at home (73.8 percent). Last season, the team had a 26-10-5 record on home ice, as well as a plus-41 goal differential and an SV% of .912.

The Blues rank 11th in average attendance this season. This fan base has always shown up for mostly good teams, but this season, their performances have been unacceptable, blowing leads and giving up way too many goals.

Tarasenko Could Return During Homestand

The Blues have been without Vladimir Tarasenko (injured hand) since their loss to the Minnesota Wild on Dec. 31. Now in the final year of his contract, the Blues must trade him for assets at the deadline. He is not expected to re-sign with the Blues and the writing has been on the wall for a couple of seasons now, and, unfortunately, the Blues have been mediocre enough to become sellers at the deadline.

Blues Go 1-2-0 in Ugly Week of Games

The week began with a wild overtime win over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. The Blues were mostly average, falling 3-1 after two periods, but they battled back. With goals from Nikita Alexandrov and Jordan Kyrou, they tied it 3-3 in the third. A simple 2-on-1 with Kyrou and Robert Thomas in overtime gave Thomas the game-winner. The Blues were outshot 31-27 in this game and lost 55 percent of faceoffs. Their lack of consistency in the faceoff circle has been glaring, ranked 18th in faceoff percentage in the NHL. Last season, they were 14th. Surprisingly, the 11-26-4 Chicago Blackhawks rank first in the league in faceoff percentage.

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The Blues and Flames took the ice again on Thursday at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis. The Blues were awful in this one. They lost 4-1 and were outshot 40-26. They didn’t show much life outside of Jake Neighbours’ tying goal early in the third period. The Blues’ power play went 0-for-3 and registered one shot on goal.

The Blues lost their third and final game of the week 4-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. After a goal from Tyler Pitlick to take a 1-0 lead, the Blues got jumped. Brayden Point scored two goals in the first before Nick Perbix scored to give Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead. The Blues got one back from Pavel Buchnevich, but they were again dominated in the faceoff circle, with the Lightning winning 58 percent of the draws. The Blues got roughed up in this game and didn’t show enough physicality or heart. They allowed a backdoor goal, got beat up in the faceoff circle, gave up their patented four goals, and more – all problems they’ve faced often this season. It was an ugly week for the team.

Blues Home Record is Abysmal

The Blues have been bad on home ice this season, with an 8-10-2 record and a points percentage of .450.

Josh Leivo St. Louis Blues
Josh Leivo, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

They’ve scored 57 goals and allowed 72 at home this season for a minus-15 goal differential. They have scored 22 more goals on the road in four more games, and their save percentage (SV%) at home is .881 as opposed to .895 on the road. The Blues’ penalty kill isn’t great, but at least it’s better at home (73.8 percent). Last season, the team had a 26-10-5 record on home ice, as well as a plus-41 goal differential and an SV% of .912.

The Blues rank 11th in average attendance this season. This fan base has always shown up for mostly good teams, but this season, their performances have been unacceptable, blowing leads and giving up way too many goals.

Tarasenko as Trade Bait

The Blues have been without Vladimir Tarasenko (injured hand) since their loss to the Minnesota Wild on Dec. 31. Now, in the final year of his contract, the Blues must trade him for assets at the deadline. He is not expected to re-sign with the Blues. The writing has been on the wall for a couple of seasons now, and, unfortunately, the Blues have been mediocre enough to become sellers at the deadline.

After a career season (82 points) in 2021-22, Tarasenko’s offensive output has been predictably down this season. He scored 29 points in 34 games, including 10 goals, before his injury, but a natural regression and team inconsistency are contributing factors here. However, he still has plenty of trade value, given his 90 career playoff games and Cup championship in 2019.

The Blues will want him to return quickly to showcase his talent and increase his trade value before the deadline. He was selected to be the Blues’ representative at the NHL All-Star Game this season, and there will be plenty of interest in him before the deadline.

Blues’ Week Ahead

  • Monday: vs. Ottawa Senators (19-20-3, 41 points), 7 PM
  • Thursday: vs. Nashville Predators (19-17-6, 44 points), 7 PM
  • Saturday: vs. Chicago Blackhawks (11-26-4, 26 points), 7 PM

The Blues have three more games on home ice this week, including two against division rivals. They haven’t yet played the Ottawa Senators, who have underperformed after a big off-season. St. Louis is 1-1-0 against the Nashville Predators, including a 1-0 win in St. Louis on Dec. 12, and they’ve beaten the Chicago Blackhawks twice, outscoring them 8-3 in those games. The Blues should be able to go 3-0-0 this week, but their inconsistency will make that difficult. Expectations are very low at this point in the season.

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