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One Hurdle Left: Road Games Against Central

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Old
03-05-2012, 12:47 PM
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PocketNines
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One Hurdle Left: Road Games Against Central

The list of incredible statistics have become familiar.

– 1.89 goals allowed per game (125 in 66).
– 33-0-0 when scoring three goals
– 26-4-4 at home
– A lot-2-1 when leading after two
... and so on

There's really only one ugly blemish – road games against the Central: 2-6-1.

In fact, under Ken Hitchcock, the team is 33-5-6 in all other contests. That's an absurdly high .818, which would be good for 134 points over a season. Since we're talking 44 games, extrapolation like that becomes a bit more fair. Winning 3/4 of the games and getting a point in the slight majority of the remainder. Even against the Central at home, the Blues are 4-1-1 under Hitchcock.

The Blues are 6-8-2 against the Central overall, and 6-7-2 under Hitchcock. Even within these numbers there's a glimmer of optimism, because the losses have been played under somewhat unusual circumstances.

Both losses to Chicago were on the second day of a back-to-back. In both, the Blues led either late in the second or after the second before succumbing. The first two losses to Detroit were on the second day of a back to back – they gave up a 2-0 lead after dominating the first two periods in the first of those, and then barely showed up on New Year's Eve in the second. In all, they're 2-5-0 against the Central on the second day of back to backs. 1-1 against Nashville (shootout win, regulation loss), 1-0 against Columbus, 0-2 against Chicago and 0-2 against Detroit.

You can't chalk it all up to back-to-backs, since in all four Chicago/Detroit instances, they too had played the day before. Nashville had even played the day prior when they beat the Blues on opening day for St. Louis, a game played under Payne when Halak was poor.

There really isn't a way to sugarcoat the 2-6-1 road record with a shootout win in Nashville and the other coming at lowly Columbus. All you can really say is that it's a hurdle to be conquered and that it's pretty much the only remaining non-playoff hurdle to be conquered. A lot of it's Detroit, who are lights-out at home. With three such games left, there's the potential to finish 5-3-1 on the road in the Central not against Detroit. There's also the potential to finish 2-9-1 under Hitch on the road in the Central.

13 of the remaining 16 games fall into the 33-5-6 category (23-3-4 home against 7 remaining opponents, 10-2-2 road against 6 remaining opponents), which makes you think they can compete strongly for the division title, particularly if they win their head to head against Detroit.

Blues: 2-6-1 on the road against the Central (3 left)
Chicago: 4-3-1 on the road against the Central (4 left)
Detroit: 3-6-0 on the road against the Central (3 left)
Nashville: 6-2-1 on the road against the Central (3 left)
Columbus: 1-7-1 on the road against the Central

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03-05-2012, 12:58 PM
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Mike Liut
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There were also 3-4 games where the Blues completely dominated but lost to spectacular goal tending. (2 by Rinnie)

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03-05-2012, 12:58 PM
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Agree 100%, games against our own division on the road haven't been our strongest point, but as you mentioned we're 4-1-1 at home with 5 more games against the central at home and 3 more on the road. We're done playing Nashville at Bridgestone, and we're done playing Detroit at the Joe so hopefully that will help solidify some ground and secure a top 4 placement.

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03-05-2012, 01:26 PM
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Dolph Ziggler
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I'm assuming the 125 goals against is taking out the EN goals allowed?


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03-05-2012, 01:35 PM
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PocketNines
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Falco Lombardi View Post
I'm assuming the 125 goals against is taking out the EN goals allowed?
Right. Comparing to past eras for purposes of records shouldn't have shootout goals count. That's sort of silly – if the team isn't allowing a bunch of uncontested breakaways in the way they play, why should it count against them now that there's this idiotic new way to decide games? The Devils with their 2.00 goals against nearly a decade ago didn't have shootouts.

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03-05-2012, 01:56 PM
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Dolph Ziggler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PocketNines View Post
Right. Comparing to past eras for purposes of records shouldn't have shootout goals count. That's sort of silly – if the team isn't allowing a bunch of uncontested breakaways in the way they play, why should it count against them now that there's this idiotic new way to decide games? The Devils with their 2.00 goals against nearly a decade ago didn't have shootouts.
Wait are we talking shootout goals or empty net goals at the end of the game? Or are we talking about both.

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03-05-2012, 02:00 PM
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HANDZ 57
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Pocket, I think you misread his question. He was asking if you took out empty net goals. Falco, he took out the Goal that is tagged on when a team wins in the SO. EN Goals are just as valid as they ever were. It's the SO goal that causes historical issues.

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03-05-2012, 02:14 PM
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Dolph Ziggler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HANDZ 57 View Post
Pocket, I think you misread his question. He was asking if you took out empty net goals. Falco, he took out the Goal that is tagged on when a team wins in the SO. EN Goals are just as valid as they ever were. It's the SO goal that causes historical issues.
Ah thank you

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03-05-2012, 02:46 PM
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PocketNines
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Oh woops, sorry. Yeah just the shootout goals. Unfortunately, the five empty netters count.

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03-05-2012, 05:00 PM
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I think the EN should count. It's the nail in the coffin, that could have turned into a goal for the other team.

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03-05-2012, 05:07 PM
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Being at home in a battle between two teams on back-to-backs is a huge advantage.

Personally, I think the Blues road record in general (and against the Central specifically) is a bit overblown. For the most part, the Blues have played well on the road but simply have had trouble putting the puck in the net when they've generated scoring chances.

Since McDonald as returned, scoring (especially on the PP) has become less of a concern. In those 12 games the Blues have scored 3 or more goals 8 times, including 5 of 8 games on the road. Of the 3 times they failed to reach that mark on the road, 2 were on the second night of back-to-backs. The PP has been humming along at 22.9% over that same span (16.7% on the road). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Blues record on the road has been pretty good over that span (.625 point percentage), with 2 of their 3 losses being 1 goal games (disregarding ENGs) against playoff teams on the second night of back-to-backs. Back-to-backs are very rare in the playoffs.

IMO, getting healthy is the last real hurdle to clear.

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03-05-2012, 05:26 PM
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I think a lot of it has to do with teams at home against a division rival raising their intensity. Let's face it, a big advantage the Blues generally have is their intensity level from start to finish is usually exceptional relative to that of other teams. Not in every game or every situation but by and large this is an advantage the Blues enjoy. If a team takes a period off against the Blues usually it's enough. But at home against a division rival you generally play harder throughout the contest and that's what our Central opponents have done.

On the road against the Central the Blues have scored (not counting shootouts):

@ CBJ – 2 (W) 29 shots
@ NSH – 1 (L, SO) 40 shots
@ DET – 2 (L) 31 shots
@ DET – 0 (L) 31 shots
@ DET – 1 (L) 22 shots
@ NSH – 1 (L) 43 shots
@ CBJ – 1 (L) 32 shots
@ CHI – 1 (L) 30 shots
@ NSH – 2 (W, SO) 24 shots

11 goals in 9 games and a lot of it is because the intensity level from the other side is high. Some of it's not finishing, especially against Detroit and Nashville who've gotten stellar goaltending from Rinne and Howard in the six meetings. These aren't losses, generally speaking, because the Blues played very poorly. They had a bad third period the first time in Detroit and a bad second period in the second game, as well as a lousy second in the second Nashville game and a tired all around performance in the second Columbus game. Each of the Nashville and Chicago games was completely winnable, as was the first Detroit game. One of the things that comes from maturity as a team is they begin to play more and more complete road games against division rivals. Even if they don't win, they don't beat themselves. I think that kind of consistency lies ahead of them.

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03-06-2012, 05:55 PM
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Yeah, their record definitely doesn't tell the whole story. I was at the game in Nashville when we fired 43 shots on goal. It was the most dominant performance by a losing team I've seen in quite a while.

The Blues just need to continue to play at that level for 60 minutes, and as you said, translate some of those chances into goals.

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03-11-2012, 04:04 AM
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Guess what's next up? Yet another four-game winning streak meets Central road game.

Under Hitchcock:
20-2-3 (.860) home vs. non-Central (rem: vs. PHX)
6-1-1 (.813) home vs. Central (rem: vs. NSH, vs. CBJ, vs. DET)
10-2-2 (.786) road vs. non-Central (rem: @ CAR, @ TB, @ ANA, @ LA, @ PHX, @ DAL)
2-6-1 (.278) road vs. Central (rem: @ CBJ, @ CHI, @ CHI)

One of these things is not like the others.

– Although the Blues are a combined 8-1-0 against the Carolina (0-0), Tampa (1-0), Anaheim (2-0), LA (1-1), Phoenix (2-0), Dallas (2-0) group under Hitch, only one of those games was on the road, a subpar game they won in Phoenix. The Blues also beat Carolina at home under Payne, as well as lost at Anaheim, LA and Dallas under Payne. They're 7-0-0 on the road versus the East this year.

– At home in the Central, the Blues are 2-0 against Detroit, 2-0 against Columbus and 0-0-1 against Nashville under Hitch.

– They only have one non-Central home game left and they beat Phoenix under Hitch at the start of calendar 2012.


Last edited by PocketNines: 03-12-2012 at 04:48 AM.
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