The Blues should run away and run away from home. Enterprise Center has become a scary place for them this season, and the latest homestand has become the site of the latest debacle.

After beating Calgary in overtime in the first of seven straight games in their home arena, the Blues were tied for a wildcard spot in the Western Conference standings and had a 49% chance of making the playoffs. according to FiveThirtyEight. From that moment, the Blues fell back, losing four of the next six.

Uncompetitiveness was a problem again on Tuesday, when the Blues allowed the first four goals of the game and lost 5-3 to Buffalo. Much the same happened in Saturday’s 5-3 upset by Chicago. If you combine the scoring pattern in the two terrible defeats, the Blues were blistered for seven goals before scoring their first goal. Ashamed.

And as the Blues prepare to evacuate for a three-game roadie, here’s how they left things in their house:

– A lousy 3-4 record in their barn and a chance of seven games and a failure to get it right.

– A revised playoff probability of 18% according to FiveThirtyEight.

– They have 49 points on the season and are six points off second place wildcard. It looks like they are 60 points behind. But to access second place held by Calgary (55 points), the Blues would have to overtake Minnesota (54) and Nashville (52.)

The theme for Tuesday’s post-game day was “Slot Shots,” like leaving the sweet spot unguarded to make it easier for opponents to vaporize STL goalkeepers with shots. Jordan Binnington must know what it’s like to be a turkey in the first two weeks of November.

If it’s not all about Slot Shots, it’s about Defensive Zone Turnovers, or missing the net, or lack of competition, or not playing for each other.

Let’s go and call it a mess.

January 24, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Blues center Ivan Barbashev (49) is congratulated by right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) after scoring against the Buffalo Sabers in the second period at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry – USA TODAY Sports

The Blues (23-22-3) are 23rd in the NHL in point percentage (.510). They are 10-12-2 at Enterprise Center for home run percentage (.458) which ranks 27th among 32 teams. The real indicator is the record of the Blues in regulation time: 16-22-10.

But yes, lunge shots are a huge problem. The Blues’ opponents controlled 55% of high-risk scoring chances this season and used that big advantage to beat St. Louis 97-63 on goals from close range.

That’s minus 34 in high-danger goal differential.

In 2018-19, when they won the Stanley Cup, the Blues had a plus-12 differential in high-danger goal tally. The following season it was plus 19. In 2020-21 it was minus 7. Last season it was minus 4. And now it’s minus 34.

The Blues system – the Craig Berube system – has collapsed. The team is averaging 3.52 goals per 60 minutes this season, which ranks 25th in the NHL. It’s a tough comeback from where they were.

The other side has it too easy to prepare for the high percentage goals…and the easier goals. Only six NHL teams have committed more defensive zone turnovers than the Blues this season, and STL has a minus 73 differential.

Coach Berube can’t reach the players and he might as well keep his voice and bring in a robot to chat with the media and repeat the same misdiagnosis of the team’s lousy play. Too many of General Manager Doug Armstrong’s contract decisions have turned into costly mistakes.

The roster is overpaid and inadequate, the goalkeepers are mediocre, and the top-earning dudes are (mostly) underwhelming. The collection of defenders is undersized and lacks tenacity and instinct. As a group, the Blues’ D-men are among the top five in the league for the highest pay. Bad play, bad value, investments gone bad.

The only real thing to look forward to is the NHL trade deadline in early March. Armstrong needs to auction off as many of these loose parts as possible, hoping to improve his team’s draft standing in 2023 and collect draft picks who will be ready to lead the next-gen Blues after the inevitable. reconstruction. Yeah, I’m in a blue mood today. I wonder why. The Blues are just that.

Thanks for reading …

-Bernie

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