By Rob Rains
There was one reality facing the Blues after they took a 2-0 lead in the first period of Wednesday night’s game against the Edmonton Oilers at Enterprise Center.
In the first two months of what is quickly turning into a frustrating season, the Blues had not won a game when they failed to score more than two goals.
That’s still the case.
Edmonton cut the lead to 2-1 in the second period, then tied the game with 56 seconds left in the third period after pulling the goalie in favor of an extra attacker.
The Blues were able to kill off a penalty to Brayden Schenn in overtime to get the game to a shootout, but Jake Allen gave up goals on the first two Edmonton shots, giving the Oilers the 3-2 win.
After putting 15 shots on goal in the first period, getting goals from Ivan Barbashev and Schenn, the Blues had only 15 more total over the final 45 minutes of regulation and overtime.
“We’re a fragile group I guess and guys are trying to hang onto a lead instead of making it 3-0,” said interim coach Craig Berube. “That’s got to be more of our mindset. We should have come out in that second period and pushed the pace on them and try to make it 3-0.
“We’ll keep banging away at it.”
It’s the fourth time this season the Blues have lost a game they once led 2-0.
“That’s what happens when you sit back and play defense,” Schenn said. “We sat back and played defense the whole night after we had the 2-0 lead. We let them come at and eventually let them tie the game,”
The Blues thought they actually had scored a third goal, when the score was 2-1, on a shot by Zach Sanford but Vladimir Tarasenko was called for goalie interference before the puck went into the net. The Blues argued, and video appeared to confirm, that Tarasenko had been pushed into goalie Cam Talbot by another Edmonton player but the referee’s call stood.
The play is not subject to review.
“It’s a big swing,” said Berube, but he also noted, “We had some opportunities to close that game out and we didn’t finish.”
The injury-riddled Blues, who are without three of their top nine forwards and two of their top-five defensemen, saw their record in one-goal games fall to 1-5-4.
Edmonton’s tying goal came on a shot from just inside the blue line. Jake Allen was screened on the shot and said he never saw it.
“The game never should have got to overtime and it was unfortunate that it did,” Allen said. “We had a good first period but we’ve got to keep the effort up a little more.”
In the shootout, Allen gave up goals to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Connor McDavid, but the only Blues shooter to score was Tyler Bozak. Talbot stopped shots by Tarasenko and Schenn.
“I’ve got to score to keep us alive in the shootout and I didn’t,” Schenn said.
Schenn, like Allen, said it should not have reached that point, however.
“When you get up 2-0 you’ve got to try to make it 3-0 and we just sat back,” he said. “The whole second, and the whole third.”
Photo by Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports