On Tuesday night the Blues lost their lone home game sandwiched between two three-game road trips. The Blues were controlling the game handily with the Arizona Coyotes protection the middle of their own ice with every effort they could until Jordan Binnington handed them a gift goal. Before the Binnington gaffe, the Blues were outshooting the Coyotes 13-5.
Barely a minute into the 2nd period, Binnington gets the puck behind the net and attempts to make a blind, behind the back pass to Jaden Schwartz. Instead of connecting with Schwartz, he gives the puck straight away to Richard Panik’s forehand. Panik shoots it easily into the empty net.
Binnington has no reason to make this risky play given the game circumstance and feel but he tries it anyway. From what I have seen, his confidence regarding his ability to play the puck appears to be disproportionate. Jake Allen has the same issue in my humble opinion just at a higher level on the scale.
The reckless play by Binnington allows the Coyotes to take the lead and further sink into a more protectionist and defensive shell.
Less than 30 seconds into the 3rd period, Vinnie Hinostroza scores to double the lead as Oskar Sundqvist can’t handle the bouncing puck along the wall and Colton Parayko screens Binnington on the shot.
Jaden Schwartz would add a late power play goal with the extra attacker before Oliver Ekman-Larsson ended the game with an empty net goal.
Oskar Sundqvist had a rare poor game with a number of giveaways in his own zone though he still did a number of things well. I’m betting some Blues fans are getting concerned as this was Binnington’s third consecutive poor performance (sub 87% save percentage). More importantly to me, in those three games, he had to terrible, momentum changing gaffes such with the Panik goal and this goal:
In the other game, his relatively weak five-hole goal against Jamie Benn killed any momentum and chance of a comeback. The Blues need Binnington back on top of his game if they expect to really be able to make a move here at the end of the season. As side note, these three games are all his play since his somewhat coy response when asked if he was nervous.
With the loss, the Blues missed a golden opportunity to defeat a team who had played the night before and traveled while gaining points on Nashville and Winnipeg who both lost in regulation. The Coyotes game was costly in another way as the Blues lost Joel Edmundson and Sammy Blais to injury. Neither is traveling with the team on the three game road trip.
The Blues 1st opponent on the trip will be the Ottawa Senators. The Senators are dead last in the NHL, have only won 1 of their last 12 games and have lost 5 road games in a row.
The Senators are without their best player, Thomas Chabot (aka Hotsam Batcho), who has a broken toe. Newly acquired Erik Brannstrom has been called up and is expected to play.
The Blues have won 4 in a row against the Senators and gained at least a point in 12 of their last 13 games. Ryan O’Reilly has 5 goals and 10 points in his last 8 games against the Sens. Alex Pietrangelo has 9 points in 13 games against them while Jake Allen has been superb in 3 games with a 94.4% save percentage and a 1.92 goals against average.
With Binnington struggling (sorry but he is) and the Blues being on the road where Allen is better and playing someone who Allen has enjoyed success against, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Allen is starting tonight.
David Perron made the trip but is not expected to play tonight. Given the injuries, I expect these to be the lines tonight:
On a side note, as good as Ryan O’Reilly has been on the ice this season, he has been just as good off the ice. Many of you might not be aware but O’Reilly holds a meet and greet after every game regardless of win, loss, frustrated, happy, gassed, etc. Today he’s meeting an entire team with the help of his mom and Players Against Hate. Please read about it here
NHL Champions for Charity
We’ve gotten some traction on the charity wager among the Central Division bloggers. One charity I’ll highlight is Meagan’s Walk http://meaganswalk.com
from your Blackhawk’s Blogger Justin Lowe
. Meagan’s Walk seeks to bring hope and awareness to cancerous brain tumors, the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children and young people.
It’s a great day for hockey.