The Vancouver Canucks had a rough game all-around and the result showed it. A 3-1 loss at the hands of the St. Louis Blues means the series is now tied at 2-2.
No one said that eliminating the defending Stanley Cup Champions was going to be easy.
If any fan of the Vancouver Canucks thought they were going to steamroll the St. Louis Blues after going up 2-0 in the series and calmly cruise to the second round, they’d be sorely mistaken.
Monday night, the Blues showed why they are a team to be feared and why they’ve succeeded in the past. They outplayed the Canucks in nearly every facet of the game — from special teams to defensive reliability, to neutral zone play — and it all steered towards a 3-1 victory for them.
In the span of 24 hours, Vancouver went from being one goal away from having a 3-0 stranglehold on this series to a 2-2 tie, bringing them back on even ground with one of the league’s best teams. It’s undoubtedly a tough pill to swallow for this young group that’s endured a lot over the past couple of weeks. Here are the three takeaways from game 4.
St. Louis dominates the 2nd period
Apart from a power-play goal by Ryan O’Reilly (don’t worry, we’ll get to him later) that broke the ice, the initial 20 minutes weren’t too bad for the Vancouver Canucks. At the end of the period, the shots were only 13-11 in favor of St. Louis and the Canucks top line of J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson, and Brock Boeser had their fair share of chances. The following 20 minutes, however, turned the tide completely in the Blues favor. They manhandled the Canucks in every sense of the word.
St. Louis outshot the Canucks 17-5 in the second period, with the scoring chances being 10-1. According to NaturalStatTrick.com the Blues out-attempted Vancouver 30-8 with an expected goals-for percentage of 87.84%. Oh, did I mention they scored two beautiful goals too? The first one being a nifty backhand in the slot after a defensive miscue by Troy Stecher, and the second being a very quick tic-tac-toe passing play by the Blues’ top players.
The Canucks may have tied the game up at 1-1 only 40 seconds into the middle frame thanks to an impressive deflection by Miller, but after that, it was all St. Louis. They played the exact style they wanted to, and the Canucks couldn’t figure out how to counter it. Playing three games in four nights while one of your top four defensemen is absent would be tough on any team, and the Canucks looked they were out of gas and had no answer for the St. Louis attack. The Blues would coast to a decisive victory off the back of that dominant period.