Daunting Second Half Lurks for Blues

Daunting Second Half Lurks for Blues

Credit: AP

St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock gives his team instructions during the closing minutes of an NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Detroit, Monday, Jan. 23, 2012. Detroit won 3-1. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

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by Jeff Abeln

News 4 Sports

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 6:20 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 25 at 8:51 PM

(News 4 Sports) --  Forty-nine games are in the book, and the Blues boast the NHL's third highest points total with 65, anyone shocked? I'm not 'shocked,' but with Davis Payne at the helm early in the season there's no way you could have predicted this great first half. 


Despite the two game losing skid to close out the first half, there hasn't been too much to complain about for Blues fans. (By the way, Tuesday's shootout defeat to the Pens was an amazing game, kudos to the Blues for fighting back, they earned that point). Anyway, T.J. Oshie is having arguably his best season, Brian Elliott is an All-Star, Alex Steen was on his way to having a career year until the concussion issues, and we're beginning to see Alex Pietrangelo play tougher, play with more confidence, and all around play better than he ever has with the Blues. 

But not everything has been great for the Note; consistency must be found in many areas.  The power play is far too inconsistent, the play of Chris Stewart is far too inconsistent, and they need to score more goals. I understand some nights the opposing goalie is hot, or the opposition's defense is really good, but the 'great' teams find ways to consistently score; Jaroslav Halak and Elliott can only do so much.  And the scoring isn't limited to regulation, just not long ago the Blues were win-less in shootouts, that must change. Just like in the first half of the season, there will be gritty tough games that will head to shootouts; how  many will the Blues lose if they don't find ways to score in them?

The Note won 21 home games during the season’s first half; the best in the NHL.  That’s great, but the Blues will spend more time away from the Scott Trade after the break.  Of the 33 remaining games, St. Louis plays 20 of them on the road.  February 19th through March 3rd, they hit the road for seven of eight; just one week later, they depart St. Louis for eight of nine.  

This team’s physical and mental makeup will be tested much more in the second half.  Do they have what it takes to endure all the challenges and persevere? I’ll let you answer that question.

by Jeff Abeln, News 4 Sports

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