Another classic Blues loss Thursday at home against San Jose. Blues rally back to within a goal, but then give up a nail-in-the-coffin goal that puts them away. Conklin has to make that save on the shot from the side by Nichol. It was not re-directed and he saw it the whole way. Chris Mason has given up some soft goals late in games that have put the Blues away too.
But let's go back to the start. In a critical game that the Blues desperately needed, one that would bring them within three points of a playoff spot, they turn the puck over, the forwards fail to get back, and Patrick Marleau burries a goal 21 seconds in and the Sharks never looked back.
The Blues eventually woke up and took it to the Sharks, but by that point they were down 2-0 already, and once again had to dig themselves out of a hole. But the Blues did not quit. They rallied back to make it 2-1 before the end of the first. But it always seems like they can never get that goal to even the score. More often than not, it's their opponents that always get the next goal to put them up two. It happened in Columbus, in Minnesota and Thursday against the Sharks. Those are just the few instances that I remember off the top of my head. There are more.
The fact is, if the Blues had not given up an early goal, and played as well as they did at points in that game, they could have won. They played well enough and pressured the Sharks enough to win the game. If you prevent the early Marleau goal, and if Conklin didn't fall asleep on the Setoguchi goal and not given up a soft goal by Nichol, the Blues could have won 2-1.
But ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I'm tired of taking the positives out of the games and pondering the what if. The Blues did play well and sustained great pressure at times against the Sharks, but a loss is a loss, and you don't get a point for effort in a losing cause. The Blues need to buckle down and wake up. They're in a very tough stretch before the Olympic break that will make or break their season. We will have a pretty good idea where the Blues stand in the playoff race at the break, and yet they still show the inconsistency that has plagued them all year. You had hoped they turned the page as they faced the Sharks tonight, and you hoped that somehow they could show the urgency on the ice and pull out a huge game that the Blues need much more than the Sharks did. The Sharks are just padding their lead atop the Western Conference and are playing for a Presidents Trophy. The Blues are playing for their playoff lives. You tell me who needed the game more.
The Post-Dispatch said that rather than practicing Thursday, Davis Payne had a meeting with the players to talked about needing to limit or prevent turnovers. I guess the Blues were napping during that meeting, because the Sharks first goal was off a bad turnover at the Sharks' blueline. David Backes failed to get the puck deep, and the Sharks d-man poked the puck to Dany Heatley the other way. Although Conklin gave up a soft goal to Nichol at the end of the game, he was the one who kept the Blues in the game until the last few minutes. Constant Blues turnovers created golden scoring chances for the Sharks. But a combination of Conklin making some tough saves and the Blues catching some lucky breaks prevented some more goals off turnovers.
Instead of being three points out of a playoff spot, the Blues lose a heartbreaker that was basically over after the first 21 seconds of the game. Now the road doesn't get any easier. A pissed-off Chicago team comes into Scottrade Center on Saturday night looking for vengeance. Then comes a tough game AT Colorado. Then Detroit, Toronto, and finally the stretch is capped off against Ovechkin and the Capitals, currently on a 12-game winning streak. I'm hoping for the best, but all I can say is Good Luck Blues.