It was a loss, but not a typical one. The Blues earned a point in a 3-2 overtime defeat at the hands of the Brian Elliott-led Calgary Flames Saturday night at Scottrade Center, and though it felt like St. Louis could have grabbed the other point, areas fit for improvement were hard to recognize.
It was just one of those games for St. Louis, in which each of the goals scored by the opponent resulted from a bad break–they all bounced in off a Blue.
“It just kind of shows, you throw the puck toward the net, anything can happen,” Colton Parayko said after the loss. “It’s unfortunate, obviously, that they scored three kind of off our–first one of our stick, next one off our skate–it’s just hockey and there’s nothing you can really do to prevent that. We’re just trying to defend and it’s the way it goes.”
The Blues got goals from Ivan Barbashev and Jaden Schwartz, while the Flames received a scoring contribution from former Blue Troy Brouwer. St. Louis quite literally couldn’t stay out of its own way, as deflection goals were a theme. That included the overtime winner that came with 2.5 seconds remaining on the clock before what would have been a shootout between Jake Allen and the former Blue, Elliott. Both goaltenders played solid games, but ‘Jake the Snake’ had to feel snake bitten with the way his team went down on the slew of hard-luck goals.
“It’s tough when all three goals go in off your own guys,” Alex Pietrangelo said. “Tough for Jake, playing the way he did. If you’re gonna give up three goals off your own guys, that means for the most part you’re doing a good job defensively. Tough bounces there, but we got a point out of it.”
That was the general consensus for the Blues in this one: in a game where the team endured some less than ideal circumstances, they salvaged a point in a bitter fight for postseason positioning. If anything, Mike Yeo would have liked to have seen his player assert themselves more forcefully in the overtime period, which seemed like a five-minute barrage for Calgary, spelling a whole lot of trouble for St. Louis in the end.
“We didn’t really have the puck a whole lot,” Mike Yeo said of the overtime period. “Obviously it’s tough when you don’t start with the puck. They were smart, they were patient, they didn’t take wasteful shots and obviously they’ve got some skill over there. They can work it around. Tough for us to get the puck back. We got them the opportunity in overtime, would like to be a little bit more aggressive during that. Overtime can give you a sour taste but there were a lot of good things in the game still.”
Nashville won big Saturday, so the Blues fell back into a wild card spot at fourth in the Central standings. Leaping Nashville would mean a series with the struggling Wild instead of the first-place Blackhawks, and a home game April 2nd against Nashville looms large in deciding that outcome. Still, the Blues feel confident that they are taking the appropriate steps to set up for success come playoff time–no matter who they end up facing.
“We want to be in first place but I think we feel good about the way we’re playing,” Pietrangelo said. “I think we feel like we’re playing our best hockey right now going into the right time of the year.”