Ok, it was. The St. Louis Blues managed to blow another 2-0 lead to the Nashville Predators in their 3-2 loss, basically eliminating them from the race (there's a 1% chance of them making it). The first period was full of vim and vigor, but as the second period progressed, the team's "gotta win" effort slumped. Jackman and Brewer both were on the ice for two of the goals, and a lack of push by them let the Predators drive by. They floated.
Do people *really* fear the beard?
There's some debate over on Game Time about accountability and whose fault it is, courtsey of this quote from goaltender Chris Mason:
I'm definitely not going to signal anybody out, but some guys showed up and worked as hard as they could and some guys didn't. When you're in a desperate situation like we are, we need everybody to come and compete, and we didn't have that.
The biggest question here is, though, did Mason show up? Not just this game, but a few times before. He always seems to let in a softie of the night. That isn't a knock on him as a player, considering the fact that he was outstanding down the stretch last year and has been fairly solid all season long (2.53 GAA, .913SV%). His numbers aren't those of a elite NHL starter. Look at the top goalies in the league (opens in new window):
It's Vokoun and Huet level. The former is considered elite, and the latter's considered a bust. Why? Because of the SOG allowed each game. Huet's SV% is an awful (for a starter) .895, and Vokoun's is .926 Chicago allows only 24.8 shots a game (1st in the league) while Florida is a league last 34.2.
Mason's stats fall somewhere between the two. They're by no means awful, and considering that the Blues allow a middling 30.3 SOG a game, they're not surprising.
Chris Mason is an average goaltender, on an average team. It fits. The question should focus on what would the Blues be if we had a goaltender like Vokoun? Would we have won a few more 1 goal games, or would we have maintained the lead in the 3rd period more? You'd have to go back and watch every single solitary goal and figure out if Mason was at fault, or if it was a defensive breakdown, to really get a good grasp of how many additional points we would have.
But honestly, even if it got us 4 more wins, we would be at 91 points, or 8th place. The Blues really need to look at if it's ok to place our eggs in the offensive basket (big mistake this year) and go for a sniper this off-season, or break down and finally - for the first time since possibly Cujo - acquire a starting elite goaltender.
As we have seen in Phoenix and Buffalo, a team can ride a goalie all the way to the postseason, but only if the rest of the team's up to standards - Florida's an excellent example of a wasted goaltender. And elite goalie on the Blues, however, wouldn't have quite the problem.