The Blues will once again have to “wait ’til next year” after being bounced from the postseason by the Predators.
The St. Louis Blues’ postseason run came to an end on Sunday afternoon, as the Nashville Predators won their fourth game in a six-game second-round series to advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history.
Plenty of Blues fans were confident after the first period, as the Blues held a 1-0 lead following a goal from Paul Stastny. That momentum quickly disappeared, though, as Nashville’s Roman Josi scored just 35 seconds into the second period.
Despite outshooting the Predators 24-18, succeeding 56% of the time in the faceoff circle and forcing 21 Nashville giveaways, the Blues couldn’t take advantage of any opportunities and were shut out by Pekka Rinne for the rest of the game.
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While the elimination is obviously a disappointment in that the Blues still have yet to win a Stanley Cup in their 49 seasons of existence, one could also argue that it’s a nice step forward. After getting past the first round of the postseason just once in a 12-year period from 2001-15, the Blues have now advanced past the opening round in two straight seasons. Considering that they endured a rather large-scale retooling over the past year, making this playoff run with a different head coach, goalie, and captain than they did last year, that’s pretty impressive.
Obviously, though, they’ll need to continue on the upward swing over the next few years. Vladimir Tarasenko needs to become more dependable than he is streaky, as his lack of consistent dominance has cost the Blues in the past two postseasons. Jake Allen needs to be dominant when it matters most, which he certainly was in these playoffs.
Robby Fabbri needs to bounce back from a torn ACL and regain the form that made him perhaps the Blues’ most effective playoff performer in 2016, and if guys like Ivan Barbashev, Zach Sanford, Magnus Paajarvi, Tage Thompson, Jordan Schmaltz, Vince Dunn, and/or Jake Walman end up in the NHL lineup when it matters next season, they need to develop into reliable contributors and help offset the losses of guys like David Backes and Troy Brouwer, who were missed and never totally replaced this season.