In last night’s loss to Vancouver, the Blues looked sloppy from the get-go. Chris Higgins scored a transition goal 41 seconds into the game. Kevin Shattenkirk tied things up at 1 in the second period on a power play, and that was all the offense the Blues would get all evening. Former Blues net minder, Ryan Miller, would get revenge as his Canucks beat the Blues in St Louis by a score of 4-1.
Yesterday’s loss doesn’t really bother me so much. The Canucks were going up against St Louis’ back-up Goalie, Jake Allen. Also, Paul Stastny was out of the lineup and will continue to miss time with an upper-body injury. St Louis’ defense, which might be the best and deepest in the NHL, played uncharacteristically poorly, and I don’t expect to see sloppy play from them too often. As a fan, I can deal with all of these things for one loss.
The one thing I can’t deal with, however, is the Blues offense. I realize it’s early in the season, and I’m not panicking, but I just don’t see how this team is better offensively than last year’s team. I get that Olympian Paul Stastny is out of the line-up. And things might change when he’s back at 100%. But Stastny, to me, doesn’t seem to be anything more than a TJ Oshie or David Backes type player. He’s a very good player, but not a “self starter.” That’s what the Blues lack in my mind. A guy that can go out at any time and put one in the net.
In my opinion, the closest thing St Louis has to that type of player is Vladimir Tarasenko. I would love to see him get more reps with the top-2 lines, instead of the third. Talent-wise, he’s as good as anyone on the team. He just doesn’t have the name and reputation of Oshie, Backes or Steen.
When I look at the Blues roster, I see a lot of talent. I believe St Louis can be Stanley Cup contenders with Brian Elliott in net. With the defense loaded with the likes of Shattenkirk, Jackman, Pietrangelo and Boumeester, they can shut anyone down on any given night. The offense is very talented top to bottom. Oshie, Backes, Steen, Berglund, Stastny. Any one of those guys can bury one on any given possession. St Louis lacks that big time attacker. That player that you fear. You know when you go to D.C., you don’t let Alex Ovechkin beat you. The same thing applies to Crosby in Pittsburgh. St Louis doesn’t have that one guy that makes you worry. If the Blues are going to go deep this season, a lot rests on the young shoulders of Vladimir Tarasenko.