Lost the Schwartz
It’s been 15 games since the Blues lost Schwartz to injury. Nine of those 15 have been slotted into the loss column. Schwartz is set to be reevaluated on the 20th of January. He has been cleared to walk without his boot, but still isn’t practicing yet. Hopefully the 20th will be the same day he is set to return to practice because he could miss up to two more weeks pending medical opinion.
Whether or not the Blues recent woes are directly related to the absence of Schwartz is debatable. Before the injury the Blues averaged 3.37 goals per game. Since losing Schwartz to injury, the Blues have only scored more than 2 goals 5 times, average 1.87 goals for per game, and 2.60 goals against per game. With a goal differential at -11, it would be easy to get upset at the goal tending, but Allen and Hutton’s combined save % (SV%) is at .922%. It’s hard for any goal tender to keep a team above water when they only score maybe two goals a game. That said Allen is slipping a bit with a personal SV% at .905%, and goals against per game at 2.78.
Did Schwartz really mean that much to this team? With the above evidence it’s hard to make an argument against that statement. Although there is an argument to be made that the Blues were slowing down in November, as they were finding their way back to the win column, Schwartz’s injury was a crippling blow.
Heading into the Bye Week
With one game left before the bye week the Blues’ ship is off course. Continuing this direction would be flirting with sinking. Since December 9th, the Blues hold a .400 win percentage and a .433 point percentage with the help of an overtime loss. Points are more important than wins in the regular season, but it’s crushing to watch the boys struggle this way after watching the best start to a season in franchise history.
For the Note to hit 100 points this season a point percentage of .608% is required for the remaining 37 games. That’s not out of reach yet considering the Blues point percentage is .611%. However the point percentage before the Schwartz injury was .700%. That’s not trending in the right direction.
The power play is dismal, there is only 11 regular skaters with positive or just shy of positive Corsi numbers, and the boys are struggling to score more than 2 goals per game. I’ve been harping on the power play numbers since the beginning of the season, you guessed it, the Blues power play conversion is still below league average, and it’s even getting worse. The power play percentage is at 15.23%, league average is 19.28%.
There has to be a few positive trends, right? Yes, Carter Hutton is standing on his head and the penalty kill has improved greatly. Carter Hutton has managed to get the Blues some hard-fought wins. These following stats show how really minute the win margins have been. In the last six games started, Hutton boasts a SV% of .939%, the Blues have an average of 1.83 goals against per game, and they only have an average of 2.33 goals for per game during those six games. Hutton won four of those six games with one overtime loss while the Blues only had a positive one half goal differential.
This upcoming week off could be just what the doctor ordered.