Yeah, sorry, this happened last year.
God has an unwritten rule that both of my teams are not allowed to play good, quality, consistant hockey at the same time. Once the Thrashers began their six game win streak, the Blues had to fall off the wagon, going 3-4 during the same stretch that the Thrashers have gone 6-0. Some of the losses have been close, some have come from blown 1 goal leads in the 3rd period a la last season, some have come from defensive flubs, and one has come from a great offensive game where the back-up was started against a division rival. Regardless of how the losses came, they did.
It’s frustrating, because I’ve watched a team that once had the league’s best win percentage drop to 9th in the Western Conference – even if it is only by a point. Injuries decimated the team for a while, but all are back save for Roman Polak, David Perron (faker!) and TJ Oshie. Jackman and Colaiacovo’s return helped shore up the defense, and Halak’s playing a bit better now that he knows what to expect from them, but offensively, do they ever miss Osh and Perron. The lines were switched up for the game against the Blackhawks, which led to five goals – the best offensive output since November 19th against the Senators.
Alex Steen-Andy McDonald-Brad Boyes
Vladimir Sobotka-Patrik Berglund-David Backes
Brad Winchester-Jay McClement-B.J. Crombeen
Chris Porter-Matt D’Agostini-Cam Janssen
McDonald Backes Boyes
Steen McClement Crombeen
Della Rovere Scatchard-Winchester
For whatever reason, the lines from the game that finally found chemistry were split up. Scoring’s been the Blues biggest consistent problem this year (behind the powerplay, which hasn’t scored since November 20th), Once a remedy’s been found for 5-on-5 point production, it first gets coupled with the back-up goalie on a bad night and then it gets split up when it could have helped the starting goalie out. One thing that was learned under Andy Murray, giving lines a chance to gel together is helpful to maintaining success, especially when you find a combo that clicks for a game. Hopefully the scoring lines’ll be back together for Saturday’s game in Edmonton, because if we’re outscored by the Oilers, there’s a bigger problem than expected.
This team had issues scoring last season (2.66 goals a game, 17th in the league), but so far this season it isn’t looking much better (2.50 goals a game, 23rd in the league). With the ability that we have, there’s no reason that guys like Backes, McDonald, Boyes, and Steen aren’t producing.