Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
The St. Louis Blues were picked to reach the Stanley Cup Final this season by many fans and journalists. That prediction might not come true because the team is having trouble just making it into the playoffs.
The Blues have lost three straight games, and they are now one point ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Edmonton Oilers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
St. Louis has scored an average of just 1.8 goals over its last five games, and the team's record in that span is 1-4. The Blues still rank 10th in goals scored and fourth in power-play success, but their recent struggles offensively are a genuine concern.
In addition to their inability to score goals consistently, goaltending and a lack of intensity have been problems for the Blues recently.
This team is not playing at the same level that it did last year, and veteran backup Brian Elliott is having a terrible season (3-6-1, .851 SV% and 3.65 GAA) after making the All-Star team in 2011-12. St. Louis ranks 19th in goals against just one year after leading the NHL in that category.
General manager Doug Armstrong acquired veteran defenseman and upcoming UFA Jordan Leopold in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday (via TSN's Bob McKenzie) to add more depth to the team's blue line. He also needs to acquire a top-six forward before Wednesday, because the Blues don't have the scoring depth needed to make a deep run in the Western Conference playoffs right now.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter. He was a credentialed reporter at the 2011 Stanley Cup Final and 2012 NHL playoffs in Boston. All salary information courtesy of CapGeek.