Cleat Geeks

Duelly Noted: Are The Blues Truly a Different Team?

BluesVSstarsWith the conclusion to the Stanley Cup Playoffs fast approaching. the Blues are a playoff game away from moving to the Western Conference Final. If they do advance, it will be the first time in franchise history that St. Louis has ever gotten that close. However, history has not been so kind to the Blues in the past since they usually get eliminated in the first or second round. There are still some skeptics out there who don’t believe that the Blues can get over the early hurdles and do the seemingly impossible. Those critics believe that Dallas will force a game 7 on Monday and get the Blues out early yet again.

Fortunately for many Blues fans, the series against the Blackhawks has shown that the 2016 Blues can play the best hockey they have ever played when it matters. The series against the Stars has shown much of that same promise. They seem to succeed where other Blues teams have failed.  With the Blues so close to clinching round 2, many are beginning to believe that this is the team that will finally see the Blues hoist the Stanley Cup.BrianElliot

Much of the reason for the team’s success thus far is attributed to Brian Elliott, their goalie. He has been an amazing asset to his team all the way through these playoffs and single-handedly kept the Blues in games when the defense is playing too relaxed. In most cases, when the best player on the team is the goalie, this would present a problem. However, Brian Elliott has been such a tough goalie to solve, especially on penalty kills that it has not mattered in the least.

Photo by: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Photo by: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Blues offense has given them plenty of support throughout the playoffs. The bulk of that support has usually come during the first and third period. Vladimir Tarasenko has played a small role in the Blues offense in the playoffs but many others have made an impact in the lineup, including Troy Brower, David Backes, and Alexander Steen. Dmitri Jaskin and Paul Stastny have even gotten in on the scoring. The offense has done very well for themselves. If they keep scoring often, the Blues chances of winning will be the highest they have ever been.

No good team is without weakness The defense in front of Elliott is a huge problem. Too often, the Blues’ defense is out-of-place in front of the net, leaving Elliott to fend for himself in front of breakaways and odd man rushes. Furthermore, the Blues struggle at clearing the puck out and they recklessly pass the puck back to the other team and give themselves more scoring chances to deter. Also in the second period, the Blues tend to relax a little too much as a team when they have a lead and regardless of the size of that lead. If they expect to win the Cup, the Blues must continue to put up their best effort and play a full 90 minutes of dominating hockey.

For all the hardships and challenges they have overcome, this team has come a long way since the disappointments over the past several years. If there is anything that this team has proven throughout these playoffs, it is that they are resilient and they have a never say die attitude that has lacked on this team for years. With all these great players and with all the effort they have shown us through it all, are the Blues truly a different team? Win or lose, I’d say the answer to that question is yes.

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