St. Louis Blues Facing Elimination in San Jose

nhl playoffs st louis blues

The question on all of our minds: Can St. Louis grasp the level of play that was present in the first and second rounds? The team that upset the fearsome defending champion Chicago Blackhawks, and eliminated a Dallas Stars team that was poised to make a deep run.

That's the question on our minds here at NHLTR, a question that many Blues fans are asking. A team loaded with seasoned veterans and teeming with young players that are breaking out in their third or fourth season. The Blues in the first and second round saw a lot of production from forwards Alexander Steen, Troy Brouwer, Vladimir Tarasenko, and captain David Backes. These players seem to be slumping in the late stages of the conference final. 

The thing that stands out most, is the slump in goaltending. Brian Elliott played exceptionally in the first round series against the machine that is Chicago, in which all but one game were decided by one goal. Elliott posted a shutout in game one, making 35 saves. The series was hard fought and Elliott stood tall against the Blackhawks, who have an offensive corps that is more than potent, and who have no issues putting up large shot totals, best exemplified by a 46 save performance in game three, a 3-2 win. 

Adjusting our focus, the second round gave us a glimpse of a slightly more offensively dominant team, with 3 of 4 victories having a deficit of 3 or more goals. We will note again, that Elliott played extremely well. In each Stars victory, the deficit was never more than 1 goal. Elliott allowed more than 3 goals only twice through 14 games, both against the Blackhawks. 

The Blues have clawed their way into a well-deserved round 3, and we see a struggling offense, a struggling defensive unit, and a struggling Brian Elliot. A Blues lineup that hasn't been shutout once in its post season run, until Martin Jones and a strong Sharks team shut them out in both games 2 and 3, with the Blues being out scored 7-0 in both games. Whether it be from fatigue, or pressure, St. Louis finds themselves down in this series, and must make a splash at SAP Center Wednesday night. The Blues must be firing on all cylinders if they hope to defeat a Sharks team that seems to be dominating both ends of the ice. Ken Hitchcock will be hoping for a strong outing from Brian Elliott, who will get the start instead of a youthful Jake Allen. 

Facing elimination in San Jose on May 25th, the Blues need a wake up call. The game can be viewed on NBCSN at 9PM, be sure to check your local listings and set your schedule for what should be a very entertaining game 6. 

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