The recent six-game winning streak by the St. Louis Blues could not have come at a better time. The team was floundering, struggling to hold on to one of the West's final playoff spots. When the calendar flipped to April, things changed. Brian Elliott found his 2011-12 form in net and the St. Louis defense played shutdown hockey. The result was an impressive stretch where the Blues defeated Chicago, Columbus, Detroit and Nashville once while besting Minnesota twice.
It's easy to fall under the belief that a win is a win. While that's true and claiming two points from a team is really all that matters, it's important to avoid letting bad habits develop even if you're securing results. Though the Blues went a perfect 6-for-6 during their streak, some extremely troubling trends developed while others got worse.
If you've been following the team closely, you know where this article is headed.
The Blues winning streak concealed a couple extremely alarming trends. Scoring, or should I say lack of scoring, along with a completely absent power play were covered up by strong goaltending and even better defensive work. It's remarkable the Blues were able to run their streak as long as they were while struggling to light the lamp. In their last three victories, the Blues scored a total of four goals. Extend that through their loss against Columbus and you have just five goals in four games.
It's easy to point at the offense as a whole when discussing the team's lack of offense, but that's not really the whole story. The most troubling aspect is that some guys - unsuspecting guys at that - are producing while bigger names are silent. Roman Polak lit the lamp for the first time since 2011! See guys, it's not that hard.
Let's take a look at how some of the team's biggest weapons have performed over the course of the past five games.
David Perron - 1 assist
Vladimir Tarasenko - 1 assist
Andy McDonald - 1 goal, 1 assist
Chris Stewart - 1 goal, 1 assist
Alexander Steen - 1 goal, 1 assist
Patrik Berglund - 1 goal, 1 assist
Alex Pietrangelo - 1 assist
Kevin Shattenkirk - 1 goal
David Backes - 1 goal, 1 assist
As you can see, the story is pretty much the same across the lineup. The guys that are being paid the big bucks to generate offense have all but fallen silent as the Blues head towards the final stage of 2013. It's nice to see that all of these guys have done something, but it's just not enough. The Blues were pretty lucky to win three consecutive games by a score of 1-0.
Shifting to the power play, the story is even more worrisome. The Blues have lit the lamp while on the man advantage just three times in their last 15 games. Three! Over their last 39 opportunities, they are 3-for-39. That's a pretty ugly streak. At one stage of the year the Blues had one of the NHL's best power play units. Now, due to their recent slide, the Blues are ranked 9th in the NHL with a 20.5%. It's still a respectable ranking, but it doesn't adequately depict the team's recent struggles.
David Perron might have summed things up the best about the team's recent woes offensively and on the power play in an article on StlToday.
"It’s not pretty. We can’t win scoring one goal. We got six wins, but how many goals did we score in the six wins? We’ve just got to find a way to make those little plays that are going to create room for the other guys. We’re not doing that. We’re getting a lot of shots on net. But we’re not generating a lot from those shots.”