Tarasenko Scores, But The Blues Fall To Montreal 4-1
The Blues lost to the Montreal Canadiens tonight by a score of 4-1. Vladimir Tarasenko scored the only goal for the Blues while Dale Weise, Max Pacioretty (2), and Lars Eller all scored for Montreal.
This post game article is going to be a little different than usual. I'm not going to talk about tonight's game that much. I'm going to focus on why the Blues aren't going to be successful unless something changes.
The Blues have one legitimate offensive scoring line. Jaden Schwartz, Jori Lehtera, and Vladimir Tarasenko are constantly generating offensive chances. This line is always swarming in the offensive zone, and are rarely hemmed in defensively.
However, the rest of the offense is currently M.I.A. The Blues looked to be deep on paper before the season started, yet here we are, 19 games into the season, and Alexander Steen is the only other forward who has more than 10 points on the year. He has 11, with just three goals. He scored 33 last season.
As the games are played, it's looking more and more like his 33 goals last year, were a fluke. He has a bomb of a shot, and yet how often does he use it? Not nearly enough.
David Backes has five goals on the year, four of which are on the power play. How many have been scored on actual shots? He's getting in front of the goalie on the power play and tipping pucks in. You certainly like to see that, but you want more than that from a guy who has three 25 or more goal seasons (two over 30 goals).
Joakim Lindstrom has three goals, two on the power play against Buffalo. He was a healthy scratch tonight.
Paul Stastny has two goals, but has missed time due to injury, so we'll give him more time to accurately evaluate. Patrik Berglund, T.J. Oshie, Alex Pietrangelo, and Kevin Shattenkirk have five goals total on the year.
The Schwartz, Lehtera, Tarasekno line has 24 goals combined. The rest of the forwards have 19 total goals combined. Relying on one line isn't going to get you very far, especially in the playoffs.
What is going to wake the offense up here? I'm not advocating a trade, but at this point, I wouldn't reject a minor shake up. Would you? If you had a choice of any three Blues forwards you'd be willing to move, who would they be?
The defense is also becoming a growing concern. Again, like the forward group, the depth looked fantastic to start the season. Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester are playing surprisingly average hockey. The offense has been sporadic. The defense has been questionable. There have been more than a few times that they are getting beat to pucks. It's unacceptable.
Kevin Shattenkirk and Carl Gunnarsson have looked solid together. Both have been solid defensively, and are jumping up in the play offensively. They've played a lot with Schwartz, Lehtera, and Tarasenko, which is a good reason Shattenkirk has 16 points on the season.
Barret Jackman and Ian Cole are hit and miss. Cole can look stellar some nights, then like an AHL defensemen on other nights. The AHL nights are getting fewer and farther between, but when he has a bad game, he finds a way to REALLY have a bad game.
Jackman is looking like he's really starting to drop off. He's never been a smooth skater, but his skating is looking so much worse this season. He's always been a rock on defense. He doesn't mind the physical play, but even his defense is looking like it's starting to drop off. He's missing assignments, and he's not nearly as physical in front of the net this season.
The goaltender has been a bright spot. Jake Allen has been solid all season long (minus tonight). He held a 1.67 goals against average and a .933 save percentage before tonight's game. Those numbers will change after tonight's lost.
Brian Elliott is continuing the prove his doubter's wrong. He holds a 1.89 goals against average and a .928 save percentage.
Goaltending isn't the problem. Don't tell that to Adrian Dater though, who tweeted out this gem tonight.
He's a "professional" hockey writer who covers an NHL team professionally. I'll let you form your own opinion out of that.
Something needs to change. The offense is drowning outside of one line, the defense is questionable half the games, and the goaltending is the only strong point.
So how would you fix the Blues offensive woes?