Blues @ Detroit – Think Swedish
The struggling Blues head to the road and take on another team that has had it’s fair share of issues, the Detroit Red Wings. The Blues couldn’t have left town any more quickly as they have played much better on the road all season long to the tune of 7-2-3 as compared to their ugly home mark of 5-9-2. The pattern this year states the Blues should bounce back tonight before turning in an uninspired effort in their next home game. Please Blues, prove me wrong and string some wins together starting tonight at the Joe.
From my point of view, the Blues just don’t execute the simple things in the game well. Take shooting for example. The Post-Dispatch ran a great article on how the Blues worked on their shooting in an attempt to solve their lack of scoring before hitting the road.
I’ve mentioned numerous times that the Blues get plenty of shots registered on the scoresheet, but the best chances sailed well wide of the mark or were blocked by the opponent. The Post article mentions how the Blues got 35 shots on net against Colorado but also had 43 additional shots fly wide of the net or be stopped by the opponent before they found the goal. This number is staggering. Clearly the Blues are getting chances and are getting shots, but they just need to work on hitting the corners as opposed to the goalie’s logo or the puck missing by several feet.
Then there are the games on the road. A great comeback win against San Jose. A tough battle against LA. These are two very, very good teams (just like Colorado) but the Blues were able to light the lamp multiple times in both arenas. I’m not sure what the issue is at home (does anyone?) but the Blues look like a completely different side in front of their own fans. Sorry season ticket holders – you haven’t had much to celebrate about.
So as the Blues head to the Joe to face an old foe, I ask them to think Swedish. Think back to when you faced Detroit twice and chalked up a win, twice. Most importantly, cut down on all the mistakes and sloppy play that we have seen so many times this season. We are talking about mistakes on the fundamentals and basics of hockey: solid and hard passing, rushes through the neutral zone that create chances, shots that have a chance of going in and traffic in front of the net.
With 54 games left the Blues are already placing themselves in serious jeopardy of missing the playoffs. December is usually a pivotal month for hockey teams and the Blues certainly fall into that category. It usually takes well over 90 points to make the 2nd season (93-97 is a safe average, so let’s say 95 to be safe). The Blues have 29 points in 28 games. This being said, going by the 95 point mark, the Blues need 66 additional points to be fairly certain of making the playoffs. 66 points in 54 games is still doable. However, if the Blues continue to slide, struggle at home and give up points to opponents above them, the hole will continue to grow and the team will be left out come playoff time.
There’s lots of hockey left to play in this very important December – 12 games to be exact (6 at home, 6 on the road). If the Note fail to put together a solid run this month, it is a safe bet that the playoffs will be out of reach come spring.