The St. Louis Blues welcomed the New York Islanders to the Enterprise Center for their lone trip to St. Louis in the midst of a five-game losing streak. After the 5-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, general manager Doug Armstrong took to the stage and answered questions with the media regarding the state of his team. Entering the game, the Blues had been outscored 19-30 over eight games and looked to end the Islanders’ four-game winning streak.
Blues Seeing Positives in Sixth Loss
Despite being outshot 13-10, the home team capitalized on a quick goal by forward Vladimir Tarasenko in the first period. Through a quick and high-pressure series in the offensive zone, he was able to receive a shot from defensemen Torey Krug that bounced off of the backboards and quickly scored on a diving Ilya Sorokin.
Head coach Craig Berube preached a higher compete level and shuffled the forward lines ahead of tonight’s game to help spark the offense. However, the team seemed to quickly unravel in the second period and the game got away from them, but more on that later. When the final buzzer sounded and fans that stuck around filed out of the arena as the losing streak extended further, Berube said he has found positives in the team’s performance:
“I thought we competed hard tonight. Yeah, the goals, they’re not coming, they’re not there. I get it, we’re not producing very much. I think the response (to Armstrong) was in the right away. I think that our team came out prepared and ready to go.”
2nd Period Woes Continue
The second period went sideways and in a hurry. Heading into the game, the Blues had been outscored 14-6 in the second period this season and this game would further emphasize those struggles. The Islanders quickly tied the game, needing only 14 seconds on their goal by forward Kyle Palmieri. For the fourth game in a row, they allowed a flurry of goals in the middle frame, this time allowing four goals in 10:04.
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While the Blues had their scoring chances and opportunities, they continued to look for the extra pass and maintain a trigger-shy mentality. The club has multiple highly skilled players that do not seem to be clicking early this season, despite the success that they saw last season. Forward Pavel Buchnevich and team captain Ryan O’Reilly have yet to find their offensive stride and flare that made them so successful last season. Additionally, forward Jordan Kyrou continues to utilize his speed to work through the offensive zone, and make plays that made him so successful last season. However, the opposition this year has him pegged and are watching him even closer, anticipating a higher scoring threat, and he has yet to overcome that challenge.
As the Blues continue to struggle during the second period, they also see continued struggles from defensemen Colton Parayko. In last night’s game, he saw a reduced role limiting him to 20:33 of time on ice, a reduction of nearly three minutes compared to his season average. This season, he has totaled only two assists with a minus-8 rating.
His ice time has, instead, been thrust upon fellow defenseman Justin Faulk who leads the team in points with three goals and 10 points in nine games while averaging 23:11 of time on ice per game. Parayko has become a sore spot among fans this season, citing his poor performance and advanced metrics during the first year of his eight-year, $52 million contract that includes a no-trade clause until the 2028-29 season and he is 34 years old. If the team is going to break out of the slump, it will need to come from their top players whom they are not receiving offensive contributions from and instead receiving costly mistakes that have been benefiting the opposing squad.
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The Blues will take to the road for their next two games as the team heads to Boston to take on the Bruins. The game will be the first of a back-to-back set against the Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers. Forward Brandon Saad remains out for the team at this time. However, Berube stated: “He’s doing pretty good, so I think he’ll practice with the team tomorrow, which is a great sign.”
When asked about going on the trip for the two games, he said, “I would think so, I think that’s probably a pretty good call. We’ll see how he does and go from there.” The Blues will need all of the help they can get as they look to receive a spark anywhere they can get it.