It’s raining injuries — and goals allowed — for the Blues

MONTREAL — The Blues arrived at the Bell Center on Saturday night with six injured reserves, and a seventh — fullback Nick Leddy — due to an upper-body injury.

Before the first period ended, they were minus another veteran defender in Robert Portuzzo with a lower body injury, leaving them with only five players in the last 48 minutes of play in Colton Parayko, Justin Faulk, Nico Mikkola, Callie Rosen and others. Call Stephen Santini.

After the game there were ice packs on a lot of the players – covering hands, ankles, you name it. And did we mention the Blues had a game Sunday against mid-division rival Minnesota?

But avoid the violin. It’s hockey. that happens.

“Obviously it’s not an ideal situation, but we’ve all been through it before,” said Volk, who played his 800th NHL game on Saturday — 25 minutes and 54 seconds into the game. “It’s something that happens every now and then. You have to find ways to play a good game of hockey.

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“Obviously the game was there for us tonight, we didn’t play well enough, we didn’t defend well enough to get the result we needed.”

And this is where the Blues kick themselves after losing 5-4 to a Montreal Canadiens team who had been 0-6-1 in their previous seven games. If the Blues stole two points Thursday in New Jersey thanks to goaltending by Jordan Pennington and an opportunistic offense that scored five times on a season-low 19 shots. . Well, they let two points slip away on Saturday.

They have led 1-0, 2-1 and 4-3 at various points in the competition. But the Canadiens scored three goals in the third period – the 19th time this has happened to an opposing team against the Blues in 40 games. Josh Anderson’s 11th goal of the season in a close game broke the 4-4 tie.

“We wake up 4-3, you can take that any day,” Volk said. “We have to shut it down. I think there were some mistakes that were made that kind of gave them the chances they had. They were able to take advantage.

“Like I said, we didn’t play a good enough defensive game to win. And that’s unacceptable, especially with a 4-3 lead going into the third period.”

As is often the case in these kinds of blues games, it wasn’t just one thing. Here’s the rundown:

• With the Blues leading 1-0 on Brandon Saad’s fourth goal in three games, Jake Neighbors slipped and fell on the ice while covering Joel Armia in Montreal’s attack zone. That left Armia a clear path to the net and buried one to make it a 1-1 match.

• On Montreal’s second goal, the Blues were 30 seconds away from hitting a four-minute penalty against Ivan Barbashev when Kirby Dash found some open ice in the hole and, yes, buried it to make it a 2-2 game.

• On goal #3, Jordan Pennington fouled a clearing attempt behind the net and the final score was a Cole Coffield goal 36 seconds into the third period for a 3-2 Canadiens lead.

“It’s simple, defensive stuff,” said coach Craig Berube. “We have to be better with the goalkeeper’s handle. Then we give the ball back to her, we give it up again and we don’t have coverage in front of our net. You can’t leave Caufield alone.”

Brayden Sheene lost the ball behind the net, then Caufield was not covered up front.

• Goal No. 4 came when two players (Nico Mikkola and Jordan Cairo) moved towards Evgeny Dadonov behind the net. That left Jake Evans open up front and Armia was there to clean up a rebound on an Evans shot to make it 4-4 with 13:40 to play.

• Finally, Mikkola couldn’t make a loose puck in the neutral zone. It was recovered by Montreal for an impromptu 2-on-1. Santini slid in to block a Jonathan Drouin pass. The ball bounced back to Drouin, who shot and then Anderson spun for the rebound.

Now, take a few seconds—or more if you feel like it—to process it all. And if you’re a Berube, try to keep your head from exploding.

“We just have to be better at certain situations and clean that up,” Berubi said. “We are scoring enough goals. On the other side of that, we have to protect our net better than we have been.”

If you count Shane’s penalty winner Tuesday in Toronto, the Blues have scored 15 goals in the three games since Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko were injured. Along with Saad’s goal, they got a powerful goal from Pavel Bukhnevich and two fourth-line goals (Nikita Alexandrov and Alexei Turchenko) against the Canadians.

The problem is, they gave up 13 goals in those three competitions.

Then, there were eight penalty kicks taken by the Blues over 10 minutes into the second half. Most significant was that double strike against Barbashev, which led to Dach’s goal.

“I think there’s a rule that if a guy looks like he’s hurt, they can call four minutes in and check it out,” Volk said. “They’ll have to wait and see — if the guy isn’t infected, I don’t think they can call that up.”

He then added with a touch of sarcasm, “The guy (Dutch) took off his gloves while holding his face, so I (the referee) thinks that’s an injury.”

With 2:44 to play in the second, Alexandrov was whistled for a high stick on an odd-looking play. For example, it was a late call. Aleksandrov, on the other hand, had held his stick up to shoulder length as he skated and had not seen Drouin, who took the penalty kick.

“I was just getting up on the boards and I was looking behind me,” Alexandrov said. “I didn’t even see that guy, and I think my stick got stuck in his face area. I didn’t see a hand raised from the referee. Suddenly I was taken into the penalty area.

“They explained it to me, and yeah, I think there’s a new rule now.”

Now we move to Minnesota.

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