Rutherford: The situation for the Blues may get worse in a difficult December

Street. Lewis – Was Pavel Bukhnevitch robbed by Dallas goalkeeper Scott Wedgwood? yes. Was Noel Acciari tripped up by Carolina’s Brady Skegee? yes.

This week, the Blues played very well and controlled their stretches against Dallas and Carolina – two of the top seven teams in the NHL standings as of Thursday night.

But guess what? They have lost both matches and have lost four of their last five matches.

And it doesn’t get any easier in the rest of December.

Craig Berube’s squad is off Friday, but starting Saturday in Pittsburgh, it will play 14 games in the last 29 days of the month. The next eight competitors all have at least the same number of wins as regulation losses, and within those eight matches, there are three straight sets.

“Well, it’s been a tough month here,” Perobe admitted after losing 6-4 to Carolina on Thursday. “We have to play good hockey here to definitely stay in it. It’s a busy month. We’ve got three straight players. Yeah, we have to clean it up.”

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The Blues’ three-goal third game and eventual 5-4 overtime victory at Florida on November 26 was remarkable.

Full marks for sure.

But instead of continuing to square off against Dallas and Carolina, that third period feels like an offbeat period. Without her, they would be on a five-game losing streak, and with so many upcoming opponents currently holding playoff spots, matching or surpassing their eight-game losing streak earlier in the season could be a reality.

The Blues may see it differently, as Robert Thomas did late Thursday night.

“Dallas and Carolina are good teams and I felt like we were in it both times,” said Thomas. “She got right to the wire and sometimes she gets in the way of you.”

This is true, but it often contradicts them, and for similar reasons.

Yes, they went on a seven-game winning streak last month, but five of the seven wins in that streak have been against opponents in the last 11 league standings – four of opponents were in the bottom six.

Against a team of playoff caliber like Dallas, the Blues managed just five shots on goal in the third period of a game trailing 1-0 and 2-1.

Against a team of playoff caliber like Carolina, they took a 2-0 lead and then gave up three goals in the span of 1 minute and 4 seconds.

“A lot has happened to us this year, a bunch of goals right away,” said Thomas.

Like Thomas said, you remember this trend, right?

“These are the changes in momentum that we try to avoid these days,” said defender Tore Krogh. “It seems like any time we lose a game, it’s usually 5-10 minutes where we give up some chances and eventually some goals. That’s what we have to clean up. It’s up to us to learn from these mistakes sooner or later.”

It was part of a second period in which the Hurricanes outscored the Blues 18-9 and outscored them 3-2, continuing in another direction. The opposition has had the upper hand, 38-24, midway through the season.

“You have to check better, that’s the whole point,” Berubi said. “You have to kill more plays. What it really boils down to is being stronger on pucks across the no-man’s land, on your own end, which results in more kill plays. That’s really what it boils down to. We just don’t kill enough players.” The plays. We’re not heavy enough in certain areas.”

And what leads anyone to believe that the Blues will suddenly start playing a heavier game?

Falling behind 3-2 on Thursday, they got a powerful goal from Krug to tie the game going into the third period.

Then on Kanz’s goal, Vladimir Tarasenko turned the puck onto the boards, and he wasn’t the only offender on the play.

“We have to manage it better,” Berubi said. “Colton (Paraiko), I’d like to not get up so hard on this play. Vlady’s on his own, he’s got guys with him, he’s trying to get him. Colton has to be a little more patient out there, there probably won’t be any.

“But yeah, he (Tarasenko) has to make a stronger play for sure – 100 percent.”

Going back to the Dallas game on Monday, yes, if Bušenvić had scored against Wedgwood, the Blues would have gone 1-0 up and it might have been a different game, a different result.

But guess what? Wedgwood is the backup goaltender to the Stars. Their starting quarterback, Jake Oettinger, threw 31 tackles in a 5-0 win over Anaheim on Thursday.

In front of Carolina, Accari was faltered, right? Berubi certainly felt that, and he was right.

But guess what? Aciari, who was playing for Boston in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, was tripped by the Blues’ Tyler Bozak and there was no contact. that happens.

It’s not about moral victories, dealing with teams like Dallas and Carolina is tough. This isn’t about a play here or a play there, a call here or no call there. This is about the blues getting the job done, or not getting the job done.

“We need more men to step it up,” Berubi said. “There are a lot of good things in the game, but it’s clearly not good enough.”

It’s just not good enough, and that can be revealed even more in what feels like a rough month of December.

“We’re a good team,” Krug said. “Our record (11-12) doesn’t exactly show it, but I think very soon we’ll get over the games and put together the full 60 minutes. We play good stretches of hockey against good teams and have a chance to win.

“So, he’s starting to show up. He’ll come.”


(Photo: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)


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