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Benjamin Hochman: Are the Blues a deep team? No, they're in too deep.

Benjamin Hochman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in Hockey

Biggest game of the series, biggest game of the year, biggest game since 2019, and this mighty Blues offense disappeared in plain sight.

Nine 20-goal scorers. We got early stages of carpel tunnel by furiously typing praise about these guys. Yet in Game 4 of the Blues-Avalanche series, Jordan Kyrou didn’t get off a shot. Neither did Robert Thomas or Ivan Barbashev. Vladimir Tarasenko had just one. The Blues netted just one even-strength goal in the 6-3 loss.

And perhaps the most-disgusting of the statistics came from NaturalStatTrick.com, which measured the quality of shots. The visiting Avs had 30 scoring chances, while the home team had nine. Just nine times. And in regards to high-danger chances, the Avs had nine ... and the Blues had three.

There’s your game right there. Avs now up, three games to one.

And thus, there’s your series.

This wasn't only about Nazem Kadri or Jordan Binnington. Yes, a fired-up Kadri scored a hat track in Game 4 and, yes, the injured Binnington probably would've saved a couple shots that Ville Husso didn’t. This is about the Blues' inability to score goals during five-on-five. Or even get good chances during five-on-five. Coach Craig Berube’s team couldn’t get on the same page, and when they got on the same page, they didn’t stay on it very long.

 

Now, here’s the thing with this series, or any series — we point fingers at those who fail, but sometimes don’t give full credit to the opposition rising to the moment. So, yeah, the Avalanche had a good defensive strategy to keep St. Louis’ forwards from penetrating and being irritating. And of all players, Colorado defenseman Jack Johnson, inserted into the lineup for his first game of the series, played rather valiantly (not to mention the other defensemen, too). And the Colorado forecheck was relentless, especially in the third period, as the Blues — desperately and disastrously — tried to get something going the other direction.

As Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly said: “We didn’t build the game enough consistently as a group, setting each other up enough, especially tonight. When we’re having success, we’re putting that puck in and it’s wave after wave, guys setting each other up a bit more. It’s tough to do, obviously it’s a good team over there. We didn’t get to it like we needed to, but we regroup, we make our adjustments, and we get back at it.”

Back at it, sure. The Blues have to go to Colorado for the Avs' ceremonial winning of the series.

We’ve seen our last game at Enterprise Center this season.

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