A year's postmortem will be coming later, but today, let's just start small, which is appropriate because this four game series has been the smallest so far in the Stanley Cup playoffs. A matchup that many predicted would go six or seven games was taken in just four, and there're reasons for that. St. Louis Game Time pretty much nails it here:
Great goaltending. Stifling defense. Total commitment from all four forward lines and all three defensive pairings. Timely goalscoring. A few lucky bounces.
That has been the story of how the St. Louis Blues put together such a great season.
It's also the story of how they were beaten handily by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round of the playoffs.
The Blues were out-Bluesed. Plain and simple, Los Angeles took the Blues' game and just simply played it better. The interesting thing is, the Blues helped them do this. How? By not playing their own game at all. A four game sweep would be easier to take if the games were closer, and if the series was harder fought. Instead, the Blues played their brand of hockey for two and a half periods out of the 12 played in this series. For those of you new to the sport, that will win you precisely... well, squat. The Blues didn't try, and that is why they were swept. It'll come out in the next few days, I'm sure, that guys were playing injured and not at 100%. Frankly, I wouldn't be shocked to hear Brian Elliott had an injury considering how he played this round. Whatever the reason, though, this was social loafing in action. "Someone else'll pick up the slack." Well. unfortunately, it wasn't anyone on the Blues.
This was a wonderful season with a lot of positives to take away from it. It just ended on a sour note. For the Blues, there's plenty to build on and hope for the future. The team looks to be back to their constant playoff contender form of the 90s and early 2000s, and that's a good thing. For now, though, you do have to call it like it is, and what this series was was a lack of effort. The Blues picked a terrible time to lose four games in a row.
For more on the Kings, head to Jewels From The Crown and SB Nation Los Angeles. For more on the Blues, visit St. Louis Game Time and SB Nation St. Louis. For complete coverage of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, stick with SB Nation's NHL hub.