Morning Skate: Blues falter for the first time this season thanks to tiny mistakes

Special teams were the end for St. Louis in their first loss off the season.

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Lace ’em up. Time for the Morning Skate.

Sometimes you live by your special teams, and other times you die by them. That’s the lesson the St. Louis Blues learned on Thursday night in their first loss of the season at the hands of the Florida Panthers.

By most accounts, the Blues should have had a fighting chance, even if the scoreboard said 5-2 after three periods of play. St. Louis led in shots 39-38, and after the first period they kept a steady lead in even strength possession time right up until the very end. Yet, the Panthers scored five straight goals on starter Jake Allen, including a power play tally and a shorthanded one within five minutes of each other in the second period.

It was those little things that cost the Blues in the end. The bad pinch on the shorthanded goal that allowed Vincent Trocheck space to get a breakaway. Taking an ill-timed penalty that allowed the Panthers to tie the game mid-way through the second. Allen’s positioning felt just a bit off all game, and it was especially prevalent on Aaron Ekblad’s game winner minutes into the third.

After a solid showing by the Blues to open the season, including a gritty opening night overtime win on the road in Pittsburgh, the loss Thursday is a disappointing way to lose their first two points of the season.

Even still, the Blues fast start still has them at the top of the Central Division with eight points. The foundation remains strong for St. Louis, even if they just have to clean up the little things.

One sentence recaps

  • Lightning 5, Penguins 4: What a time for Slater Koekkoek to score his first two goals with Tampa Bay.
  • Panthers 5, Blues 2: St. Louis’ win streak comes to an end despite a better performance than Florida.
  • Predators 4, Stars 1: Dallas’ offense sputters again as the Predators pull even on the season.
  • Wild 5, Blackhawks 2: The Blackhawks took their first regulation loss to their Central Division rivals as the Wild put four past Corey Crawford.
  • Jets 4, Canucks 2: Solid goaltending kept the Jets in it long enough for them to score four on Vancouver.
  • Red Wings 4, Coyotes 2: Three straight goals from Detroit blew them past the Coyotes despite giving up six power plays.
  • Sharks 3, Sabres 2: Buffalo remains winless despite two Jason Pominville goals.

More hockey

  • Steven Stamkos got his first goal of the season and he tied the franchise record for most powerplay goals in Lightning history.
  • Sidney Crosby should hear from the Department of Player Safety after this hit on Braden Holtby.
  • In other player safety news, Adam McQuaid also should have been suspended for his hit on Tyson Jost.
  • Nail Yakupov needed just four games to match his goal total from last season.
  • Tuukka Rask’s bad start should worry the Bruins.
  • Drew Doughty versus Matthew Tkachuk is the NHL’s hottest feud.

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