It’s been a very strange two seasons for the St. Louis Blues.
Last year, the Blues got off to a great start, but then faltered for much of the rest of the season, before barely missing the postseason. This was quite a surprise considering that the Blues were expected to be a playoff team.
This season, the Blues got off to an awful start due to inconsistent offense, poor defensive play, and awful goaltending from starter Jake Allen. With the way this team looked early this season, many figured that the team would miss the playoffs once again.
Don’t look now, but the Blues are singing a much different tune these days. In fact, their singing something wild.
As of this writing, the team finds itself in the second wild card spot with 59 points. After having a losing record for much of the early part of the season, the team is now 27-22-5 and playing like a playoff hockey team.
Speaking of playing well, the team is now just two points behind the Dallas Stars for third in the Central Division. While that may not be the best spot for them to finish because of who they might be playing in the first round should they get in (Winnipeg Jets or Nashville Predators)
The big difference has been the team’s goaltending. The club is getting much better play between the pipes and as a result, they are winning more hockey games.
The goaltender that has really played well for this hockey club is 25-year-old Jordan Binnington. The Richmond Hill, Ontario native has come in and show this franchise that he might be the starting goaltender not only of the present, but of the future.
Binnington is currently 9-1-1 with a 1.72 goals-against average, a .931 save percentage, and two shutouts. Yes, it is a very small sample size, but there is no doubt that this kid can play and provide the goaltending this team needs in order for them to succeed.
Believe it or not, Allen’s play has also improved a bit. In his last game against the Predators on February 10, he stopped 40 of 44 shots in leading his club to a huge 5-4 victory.
Another reason why this team is playing well is the fact that heir star player, Vladimir Tarasenko, is heating up. When he’s on, the rest of the team follows suit and that is exactly what is happening right now.
Tarasenko currently has 41 points (22 goals and 19 assists) and is streaking at the right time for his hockey club. As of this writing, he has 11 points (five goals and six assists) in his last five games and is starting to play like he has his entire career.
Lastly, this team is playing well because of their head coach Craig Berube. After the team fired previous head coach Mike Yeo, many people probably expected that Berube would do everything he could to help the team the rest of the season and then once the season ended, the team would go out and find themselves a new head coach.
While that still may end up happening, it is clear that the Blues believe in what Berube is preaching. They skate hard, they are physical, they are playing responsible at both ends of the ice and more importantly, they are winning, which is the only thing that really matters.
If this team manages to make the playoffs, their opponents better be sure not to take them lightly because like they are doing right now, they might end up surprising everyone.