NEWARK, NJ — Like the rest of their offense, the Blues’ highly regarded power play has been disjointed and disconnected lately.
Sunday’s 3-2 overtime loss to New Jersey at the Prudential Center marked the sixth time in eight games that the Blues failed to score a power play goal. On the other hand, they haven’t been getting a lot of powerplay opportunities lately, another indication that the offense as a whole isn’t performing at its best.
“Look at how (New Jersey) dominated us in the first two periods, we didn’t really deserve it (power plays),” said captain Ryan O’Reilly. “Sure, there are some calls I thought I missed. But that happens over the course of a game. But it’s tough when you don’t get them, not by the third.”
The Blues’ only power play attempt against the Devils came with four minutes and 49 seconds left in the third period. It was a golden opportunity to draw 2-2 and leave New Jersey with two points.
But they got next to nothing going; Brayden Schenn’s tap attempt was the Blues’ only shot attempt on the power play.
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“Typically, as a powerplay guy, you feel the puck a little more when you get one earlier in the game or in the first half,” O’Reilly said. “It can help to kindle yourself. So it’s tough. It’s something that can be a factor. It can save us from games. We have to get that going again.”
Over the eight-game stretch, the Blues are 2-on-17 on the power play. They only had one power play opportunity in three of the eight games.
“You have to stick with it,” Torey Krug said ahead of Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders. “At some point, the players realize that they should take matters into their own hands. If we slip up like this, we have to hold onto it and make sure we’re doing what we have to do to be successful.”
After missing Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders through illness, veteran forward David Perron returned to the lineup against New Jersey. He was back on the line from Ryan O’Reilly, playing on the right wing and logging 14:15 ice time with a shot on target.
With Perron behind, Berube dropped Oskar Sundqvist into the fourth row and dropped Dakota Joshua from the lineup. The fourth line consisted of Klim Kostin-Tyler Bozak-Sundqvist and was on the ice for both New Jersey goals in the rule.
Kostin only played 4:03, a season low for him, and didn’t make any more changes past the 10:23 mark of the third period.
After missing two games with an injury, veteran forward James Neal returned to score a hat-trick, including the game-winner in overtime in the Springfield Thunderbirds’ 4-3 win over the Hershey Bears on Friday. Neal had an assist but no goals in Saturday’s 5-1 loss to the Providence Bruins.
He has seven goals and two assists in seven games with Springfield, the Blues’ American Hockey League offshoot. Neal is hoping to play well enough for the Thunderbirds that he can eventually return to the Blues for the playoffs.
• New Jersey’s Dougie Hamilton’s decisive goal was the seventh goal of extra time in his career: only four active defenders have scored more goals
• Robert Bortuzzo took a puck to his mouth after 9:07 of the first period and left the ice for some repair work. He returned for some penalties at 3:52 of the second period
• Krug’s goal in the third period was his first since January 7 against Washington and ended his pointless eight-game streak, his best of the season.
• Ville Husso may not have given up anything resembling a soft goal on Sunday and it took overtime to extend the streak, but Ville Husso has now scored at least three goals in five consecutive starts.