What else is there to say?
The Blues have been badly outplayed and trail the series 3-0 as a result.
There’s a lot to be made of the Blues deficiencies but at some point you have to point to the team on the opposite side. The Los Angeles Kings are a hell of a hockey club and they deserve to be up in the series.
From top to bottom the Kings are getting balanced scoring, strong committed team defense, and a goaltender that’s come up big.
This is a team that appears to be built for a long post-season run and they’ve been on cruise control since the playoffs began.
You’d like to say the series has been closer than it appears but in this case you can’t. The Blues have been chasing throughout and have yet to put the Kings on heir heels.
People talk about the Blues dominating the third period in Game 2 and coming on strong late in Game 3 but I wouldn’t make too much of it. When you have the lead throughout the game it’s only natural to take your foot off the gas pedal. Usually the team that’s chasing makes a late push but in reality the Blues haven’t threatened Los Angeles.
We all know Brian Elliott has to be better than Jonathan Quick for the Blues to win. The series could have a completely different look if Quick doesn’t make back-to-back pad saves on Andy McDonald in the opening minute of the series. It set the tone for pretty much everything that’s happened since.
Elliott was unable to shut the door in the opening seconds of Game 2 and this is just one example of the differences between the two teams. Not to place blame on Elliott but these are the saves Quick is making to help his team to breeze through the first three games.
Elliott is experiencing a completely different level of pressure than he saw in the regular season. Early on he felt like he had to produce a shutout just to play the next game. He knew if he didn’t win he probably wouldn’t play the next night. That competition within led to the Blues leading the league in goals against and earning the Jennings Trophy.
Elliott was the underdog coming into the season and he thrived off of proving everybody wrong. He was the feel good story that only got better as the season progressed.
The fairytale ride continued in the playoffs. Once again Elliott came off the bench cold like he did so many times during the year and played to near perfection winning four straight against San Jose.
Now there’s no Halak to allow Elliott to recharge. It’s a whole different ball game when all the pressure is on your shoulders to get the job done. Especially when the guy at the other end is playing at the highest level.
The feeling can get lonely in a hurry and Elliott is experiencing this firsthand, not that he hasn’t gone through adverse situations before but it’s slightly magnified in the playoffs.
Meanwhile Halak remains back in St. Louis with an injured ankle.
Don’t overlook the role Halak played in Elliott’s success this season and visa versa.
We all know Elliott didn’t play well Thursday night so there’s no need to hammer home the point. The Blues have both these guys locked up for the next two years but at some point they’ll need to make a decision. That time won’t likely come until after next season. Getting the job done in the playoffs can go a long way in stating your case.
I can’t place the blame solely on Elliott, he and Halak carried the team all season and it would be nice if the Blues could give him some offense. You still have to score to win.
Defensively the Blues have played poorly this series but as I wrote the other day, a lot of this has to do with the forwards no longer protecting the defense. These two go hand in hand and when the puck is in your end most the night it creates chaos in a hurry.
How many times have the Blues trimmed the lead only to have LA bounce back and score right away? These are killers and happened two more times Thursday night.
St. Louis is now 0-14 on the PP this series.
LA has outscored their opponents 9-3 in the first period and 8-4 in the third period in the playoffs. That all you need to know when looking at the Kings 7-1 playoff record.
I’m surprised to see so many Blues forwards get pushed out of the series. LA forwards play through you, the Blues try and play around you. We didn’t say that too often in the regular season.
The Blues played only three lines in the third period. Jamie Langenbrunner played just: 48 seconds in the third and just 3:31 in the game.
Carlo Colaiacovo saw just 2:41 in the third period as the Blues rolled four D-men.
Barrett Jackman saw just two shifts and 1:22 in the final period. He was on the ice for all four of the Kings goals and was a minus-3 on the night.
Jackman’s minus-9 in the playoffs in a NHL worst among all players.
LA D-man Matt Greene has registered a point in all three games this series.
Early on the Blues went for the big hit and failed to create any zone time as a result. At some point you have to play with the puck to be successful.
According to the official scorers there were a total of 85 hits combined in the game. No wonder Dustin Brown leads the league in hits almost every season.
Alex Pietrangelo saw 26:34 of ice but it was clear from the beginning he wasn’t himself. He looked hesitant early and never seemed to get going. He was on the ice for three of the four LA goals.
Can you think of a better guy to score twice than Chris Stewart? Couldn’t help but be happy for him. The whole season has been an uphill battle and I’m told he’s learned a valuable lesson. Stewart has already made arrangements this summer to work with a personal trainer, a skills coach, and a nutritionist.
Stewart will be training with Matt Nichol of biosteel in Toronto who has helped a number of NHL players including Mike Cammalleri and Mats Sundin.
More to come,
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