Sunday, January 21, 2018

Coyotes Snap 12 Game Losing Streak versus the Blues with Decisive 5-2 Win

Arizona Coyotes vs St. Louis Blues - Game 49 Recap
Goals: Schenn (19) and Steen (9)
Record 28-18-3

My Thoughts on the Game
  • The Arizona Coyotes came to town with the worst record in the NHL. The Blues sat 3rd in the Central Division and 4th overall in the Western Conference. The Coyotes were on track for 51 pts on the season while the Blues already have 59. They had lost their last 12 games versus the Blues including a 3-2 loss at Scottrade on November 9th. But tonight would be a different story.
  • If you had walked in to watch this game and were told the above facts but weren't told which team was which, after watching the first few minutes of the first period you would have thought the roles were certainly reversed. Arizona looked like a team contending for a playoff spot.  The Blues looked like a team who were struggling to compete.
  • A quick whistle on a play at the Arizona goal may have kept the Blues from getting on the board first at the 1:31 mark. But just 22 seconds later, there was no doubt where the puck was when Arizona's Zac Rinaldo came from behind the net on the weak side and poked a rebound home behind Carter Hutton. 
  • I'm not a hockey X's and O's guy, so I'm not sure where the breakdown occurred or who's responsibility it was to pick up the guy coming from behind the net, but Arizona always seemed to have guys around the net all night long.
  • The second goal came shortly after at the 4:02 mark. A shot from the point was tipped by Christian Dvorak who had positioned himself nicely in front of the net. His deflection bounced the puck off the ice and left Carter Hutton with no chance to adjust as it got by him on his right side.
  • The third goal was again scored by Dvorak. If you could see the replay of the goal you'd see three Blues behind the net and Dvorak camped out in front all by himself. When the puck gets to him, he has no opposition and easily lifts the puck over Hutton into the top of the net.
  • Arizona was fast, they moved the puck quickly, they were aggressive in the offensive zone, especially in having bodies around the net. It's something that the Blues haven't done very well all season.  If I could ask a question in a press conference, it would be "Why don't we have someone who wants to get in front of the net and help us pick up some of those dirty goals?"
  • It was just a very disappointing effort after two wins in Canada earlier in the week. 
  • Some of the fans have wanted to blame goaltending, but it's a team game and there are 18 other guys who have to look in the mirror after this one and ask themselves what happened? And how do we keep it from happening again?
  • Hutton was pulled after allowing 3 goals in the first 7 minutes. Jake Allen received a very nice ovation as he took the ice. He ended up allowing what I thought was a soft goal on Arizona's 4th of the night, but both goalies made some outstanding saves besides the goals that got past them.
  • The Blues' passes were just off the mark most of the night. We just didn't look sharp. Arizona, on the other hand did look sharp. Their passes were crisp. They skated hard and just put it to us. That's about all you can say. They outplayed us. 
  • Schenn scored his 19th of the year and Steen scored his 9th, but it just wasn't enough. Both goals were power play goals, which is a bright spot and will hopefully lead to better things. 
  • The most glaring statistic in this one was shots on goal.  Arizona outshot the Blues 23-7 in the first period and 44-27 for the game. 
  • An observation - I wish Tage Thompson could find some open space on the ice. I really believe he's a goal scorer but it looks like teams are 'man-handling' him a little bit and he's finding it hard to get enough space to put his skills to work. At times he gets shots off that it doesn't look like he could, but other times he's struggling to gain separation. I believe with more physical maturity and strength he'll be a force to be reckoned with in the next year or two.
  • We gotta get people to the net. I couldn't count how many times a centering pass was stolen or just sailed through because nobody was there to receive it. Or, how many times we got a shot on goal and the rebound found nobody home to do something with it. David Backes is in Boston now. Who's going to get in there and scrap for some goals and win some battles in front of the net? That's something we need to find.
  • Ottawa on Tuesday and Colorado on Thursday. Ottawa will be looking for revenge for the loss to the Blues last week and Colorado has won 9 straight. Parity is the new norm in the NHL. You gotta be ready to play every night. Because, as Arizona just proved the worst team can still beat one of the best teams on any night. Nothing good is free. Let's go Blues!
#AllTogetherNowStL #LGB

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