Do Not Push The Panic Button Yet With The St. Louis Blues Playoffs

St. Louis Blues playoffs

After the start to the St. Louis Blues playoffs, with a bleak 0-2-1 performance in the round-robin portion of the Stanley Cup Qualifying Round, it would not be unreasonable to be concerned. The Blues simply did not look their normal self. The team turned the puck over. There was hardly any forecheck in the offensive zone. The power play scored just once in three games.

There are plenty of reasons to be concerned. However, the panic button should not be pressed yet on the St. Louis Blues playoffs.

No Need to Push the Panic Button on the St. Louis Blues Playoffs

The Reward Was Not Worth The Risk

The Blues could have earned the top seed by winning the round-robin tournament. That would have given them a home-ice advantage (and the benefit of the last change for games where they were the home team) in the first three series at least.

Along with a home-ice advantage, the Blues would have been set to face the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round. A series with the Blackhawks would have been, on paper, more favorable for the Blues as opposed to their actual series with the Vancouver Canucks. The Blues swept their season series with the Blackhawks, shutting them out both games in Chicago. The Blackhawks were the lowest seed in the qualifying round, and while they upset the Edmonton Oilers, there is question if they can sustain the success. As for the Canucks, the Blues went 1-1-1 against them this season, with each game being decided by no more than two goals. Generally speaking, the Canucks have played the Blues tough the last few seasons.

While all that would have been nice, was it worth the risk? The Blues have had their fair share of injuries this season. For the first time since October, they are fully healthy (minus a possible injury to Sammy Blais). The Blues were great despite the injuries. The potential is high for this team when they’re healthy. If a key player had gotten hurt in a quest for the top seed, it could have damaged the Blues’ chances of repeating as Stanley Cup Champions.

In addition to the risk of injury, a series with the Blackhawks could pose it’s own problems. First off, the Blackhawks have the momentum coming off their upset of the Oilers. In addition to that, the core of the Blackhawks has talent along with Stanley Cup experience. While the Canucks are talented, there is not the postseason experience like the Blackhawks have.

Despite Poor Play, The Games Were Close

The Blues carried a lead into the third period of every game in the round-robin tournament. The Blues were just a couple of plays away from coming out of the round-robin with at least two wins. This may not seem like much of a consolation, but this is worth noting. They were just a few plays away from finishing second place, despite the poor play.

This means that if the Blues can make the adjustments, they will return to their usual self quickly. That version of the team is dangerous. The Blues are not that far off from being that team again.

The Goaltending Was Outstanding

Sometimes in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a team needs their goalie to steal a couple of games. Jordan Binnington and Jake Allen gave the Blues a chance to win each game. Both looked in midseason form. That is huge going into the playoffs. Binnington will be the Blues starter for the playoffs. Binnington has shown the halt in play did not phase him. He is focused and ready to compete for another Stanley Cup. The goaltending is there for the Blues if the rest of the team can come together.

Looking Ahead

There is nothing wrong with having concerns of how the Blues played in the round-robin. The team did not play well. But the potential is there for this team to compete for another Stanley Cup. If the Blues can make the adjustments between now and the start of the first round, they are the team to beat.

Be concerned for now. But it is not the time to panic.

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