The St. Louis Blues are now 1-1-1 after getting stomped by the Arizona Coyotes 6-2 on Thursday, Oct. 19. The Blues offense as a whole has been problematic through three games. They’ve scored just four goals in regulation, two of which came in their blowout loss to Arizona. The Blues’ lack of offense would not be as problematic with a better power play.
The Blues power play has been a glaring issue in the first couple weeks of the season. There are several reasons for these issues, and there are changes that should be made. However, it’s only been three games, so it’s important not to overreact yet. But the power play performance needs to be addressed. In this article, I’ll dive into the Blues power play and what’s gone wrong so far.
Blues Power Play Is 0-for-9 This Season
Not only is the Blues power play 0-for-9 this season, but they’ve looked bad in the majority of their chances. The inability to take advantage of their power play opportunities has been a problem for the past two seasons after being one of the league’s best power play teams in 2021-22.
One noticeable issue with the Blues power play is not getting pucks on net, which is an easy take to have, but it’s been overly evident. They are passing out of opportunities and staying away from the slot far too often. The Blues’ best passers on the power are supposed to be Robert Thomas and Torey Krug, but they are not doing enough to create scoring chances. More often than not, their power play opportunities turn into passing drills. Out of their nine opportunities this season, only one or two have looked remotely competent. The Blues have had multiple power plays where their opponent has created more scoring chances on the penalty kill, which is completely unacceptable.
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They need to feature their best shooters rather than passing the puck around with seemingly no rhyme or rhythm on where to go with it next. There are plenty of changes that must be made to shake things up because 0-for-9 is not even close to good enough.
Blues Power Play Units Should Be Changed
The Blues need to put Scott Perunovich in the lineup. He has the skill to run a power play unit, and his defensive shortcomings don’t alter his passing ability. Another reason why this should be an easy decision is how bad Marco Scandella still looks. Putting Perunovich in the lineup with Tyler Tucker would be fine, especially if it gives the power play a spark with him running the second unit instead of Justin Faulk. Faulk is not all that bad on the second unit, but his passing and creativity leave a lot to be desired, and Perunovich could change that quickly.
I also believe that Jakub Vrana should be switched to the top unit with Kasperi Kapanen moving down to the second unit. Giving somebody like Jake Neighbours or Nikita Alexandrov a chance on the unit as net-front presences wouldn’t hurt either. The Blues need to go into their weekend game against the Pittsburgh Penguins with mixed-up power-play units to find some sort of a spark.
They’ve struggled mightily on the power play ever since Jim Montgomery departed for the Boston Bruins head coaching job prior to last season. There is good reason for questioning the power play coaching, but making on-ice adjustments would be the right thing to do first. Either way, the Blues power play must improve and there is a quick way to address it before the puck drops against the Penguins.