The St. Louis Blues were on a roll. They eliminated the Winnipeg Jets and jumped out to a 2-1 series lead in the second round against the Dallas Stars. Then the 2017-18 Blues showed up and rained on the party.
Now, the Blues are one loss from elimination and are playing some of their ugliest hockey of the season. Credit usually goes to the opposition when a team is on the brink of elimination, but here the Blues have done such a good job of shooting themselves in the foot that it neutralizes any praise thrown in the direction of the Stars.
The broadcast will spend time celebrating Dallas goaltender Ben Bishop, the Dallas defense and their timely offense. Blues fans will see the painful reality as their team is crumbling, making the opponent look like a high-tier contender.
Take Bishop’s play. He has played very well in the series. No argument here. We’d respect his play even more if he could cut out the theatrics, but that’s a different conversation. He stopped 38-of-39 shots and was the key reason the Stars won Game 5. But, and this is a critical point, the vast majority of the Blues’ shots were straight at his chest with little-to-no traffic. Only a few required Bishop to scramble or exert any kind of visible effort.
Can you remember any Blues shots in Game 5 that were tipped or redirected? Probably not and that’s a big problem. So too is the complete lack of traffic in front of Bishop. The Blues’ offensive approach in Game 4 and Game 5 has been so unorganized and so unimpressive that just about any NHL goaltender could look elite with so much time and vision to stop shots straight at their midsection.