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St. Louis Blues Defence Was Biggest Problem in Playoffs

St Louis Blues defence

While the St. Louis Blues‘ goaltending certainly was an issue in the playoffs, it was not the biggest issue. The biggest issue by far was how easy it seemed it was for the Vancouver Canucks top scorers like Elias Peterson, Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller to make the St Louis Blues defence look like it belonged in the minors, not a group that just won the Stanley Cup.

The Ugly of the St Louis Blues Defence

There are plenty of examples, but here is one of the worst ones. This is the Game 2 game-winning goal from Horvat with Jordan Binnington in net.

Here, Vancouver defenceman Quinn Hughes passes the puck to Horvat. He has an easy breakaway because both Blues defencemen Alex Pietrangelo and Carl Gunnarsson are on the same side of the ice, which is of course, the opposite side that Horvat is on. Pietrangelo and Gunnarsson both appear to try to catch up to him, but they are not quite quick enough. Gunnarsson sticks out his stick just a little too late and Horvat scores.

2019 Binnington may have been able to stop this breakaway shot, but 2020 Binnington gave up a few soft goals so there was no chance for him on this one. Regardless of how Binnington played though, the Blues defence hung him out to dry on multiple occasions.

The Bad

Here is another example with two different defencemen. This one is the Game 3 game-tying goal with Jake Allen in net. The Blues were able to win this game, but this is another example of how badly the defence played.

Here, Blues defencemen Marco Scandella and Colton Parayko seem to get their sticks tangled up trying to get the puck. While Scandella is in the process of turning around and trying to clear the puck, Vancouver forward Antoine Roussel is able to grab the puck and pass it back to Pettersson. The rookie sensation can skate right up to Allen because Parayko is lying on his stomach watching Pettersson with the puck. Parayko tries to get up fast enough, but fails and Scandella just watches Pettersson score, barely skating towards him.

From up close, it seems like Allen could have been able to stop the shot if he was just a little quicker to raise his blocker.

But, he would not have had to try to stop that shot if his defencemen would have been doing their job. If Parayko would have covered Pettersson instead of lying on the ice on his stomach and putting his stick out in front of Pettersson as if that would have accomplished anything, Allen might not have had to try to make a save anyway.

The Canucks have a few very talented players, yet they still would have been no match if they played the 2019 Blues. When the Blues were actually playing well, they beat teams that were even more talented than Vancouver.

As head coach Craig Berube said after the series was over, “I’m not taking anything away from Vancouver. They’re a good young team, but we just gave them goals.”


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