After the Blues traded Kevin Shattenkirk to the Capitals Monday night before the trade deadline, the outlook on the team’s immediate future took a hit; the loss of the seven-year veteran defenseman for the Blues is significant. It’s hard to imagine that his departure won’t have a major impact on the Blues’ chances to make the playoffs–and even more so their chances during the playoffs, if they get in.
Though Shattenkirk is a defenseman, it’s not behind the blue line where the Blues figure to suffer the most in his absence. Instead, it will be his influence as a facilitator on the power play that the Blues miss most. Shattenkirk ranks second in points for the Blues this season with 42, and his seven power play goals are tied for the team lead with Vladimir Tarasenko. His offensive contributions are noteworthy.
In the Blues first opportunity with a man advantage post-Shattenkirk, the man who replaced him on the first unit came through to set up the score. Alex Pietrangelo fired away from near the top of the offensive zone for Paul Stastny to earn the tip in for his 16th goal of the season.
It was a welcomed sight to see Pietrangelo–who had four power play goals to his credit on the season coming into the night–help the Blues power play find immediate success in its first chance since the Shattenkirk trade.
"Yeah, I mean I know the way a lot of the guys play, we’ve played together for five years now, most of us,” Pietrangelo said of joining the first power play unit. “I’ve had a lot of opportunities to watch them this year, they’ve been together for a while. The transition felt okay tonight, obviously we got one there but it would have been nice to get another one.”
A second period power play yielded no production, and the Blues drew no other penalties for power plays the rest of the game. St. Louis fell short against Ottawa, 2-1.
Shattenkirk may have been able to make the difference for the Blues Tuesday, as their 5-on-5 offense was particularly lacking. Few shot attempts and fewer quality scoring chances plagued St. Louis as neither team scored after Edmonton cashed in on a five-on-three less than a minute into the second period.
“I don’t feel like we generated as much as we should 5-on-5,” David Perron said. “We need another level there, gotta dig deeper and get to the inside a little more.
“It’s pretty frustrating, when it’s a 2-1 game–we gotta find a way to step up. We should also have more shots on net. That’s something we’ve got to keep building, here.”
The loss was the fourth in a row for the Blues, who have apparently seen the effects of their coaching change boost run dry. St. Louis has been outscored 10-6 in the losses, its only loss by more than a one-goal margin coming after Chicago buried an empty netter late in its 4-2 win Sunday. Unlike the team’s troubles in January, you can’t blame Jake Allen for this slide.
“We had a great start, but when they scored–mistakes happen in the game–but when they scored, all of a sudden we started watching them,” Mike Yeo said. “We were waiting for the next bad thing to happen, and we stooped playing. That was the difference in the game, because at that point they drew the 5-on-3 and obviously got the go-ahead goal.”
The Blues aren't going to be gifted a spot in the playoffs. The Kings swung a deal for Ben Bishop, which seems strange if Jonathan Quick's health is in good condition. If nothing else, that move indicates the Kings are trying to strengthen their team at the trade deadline, whereas the Blues undeniably got worse by parting with Shattenkirk. The Kings are currently in the ninth spot in the Western Conference, trailing the Blues by just two points.
If the Blues are going to "dig deeper," they ought to start soon.
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