If someone were to ask you this question about the St. Louis Blues earlier in the season, it would have been unbelievably easy to say yes.
Back then, this team struggled in all facets of the game. They could not scorer consistently, were awful defensively, and were getting unbelievably poor goaltending from whoever was between the pipes.
Those days now seem long gone. Heck, they seem like they never happened with the way this hockey club is currently playing.
The Blues have won 10 straight games and now find themselves third in the Central Division with 67 points. Believe it or not, their current winning streak has them six points behind the second place Nashville Predators and nine points behind the first place Winnipeg Jets.
The team’s 10-game winning streak has been quite impressive. They have beaten the likes of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators (twice), Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, Florida Panthers, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, and the Minnesota Wild.
If you look at those ten teams, there is one in there that is better than them all and that is the Tampa Bay Lightning. Not only did the Blues beat the Bolts, but they shut them out by a score of 1-0 in an overtime win.
One should also notice that they also beat the Predators twice. The Preds are one of the best teams in the West and the Blues managed to beat them in back-to-back games on February 9th and February 10th.
This shows that the team knows how to play against good teams. They tighten up on defense, their goaltender comes up with the big saves when they team needs one and they keep things simple.
During their 10-game winning streak, they have been getting outstanding goaltending. I know that sounds strange, but believe me when I tell you that their goaltending has come a long way since the beginning of the season.
The reason why things have improved in such a big way is due to the play of rookie netminder Jordan Binnington. With Jake Allen struggling so much at the beginning of the season, this team needed more consistency between the pipes and Binnington has done all that and more for this hockey club.
The 25-year-old is currently is 12-1-1 with a 1.58 goals-against average, a .937 save percentage, and four shutouts in just 14 starts. Yes, it is a somewhat small sample size, but no one can doubt that Binnington gives this team the best chance to win hockey games.
Not only has Binnington been great, but the team’s defensive play as a whole has been fantastic. The team is currently sixth in the league in goals allowed as they have given up 161 goals in 58 games.
This team breaks up a lot of plays, forces shooters to the outside a lot, is smart with the puck in their own end, and do a lot of things to make life a lot easier for their goaltenders. It certainly wasn’t this way in the beginning of the season so clearly, a lot has changed.
I’m not from St. Louis nor am I a Blues’ fan, but you can definitely put me on their wagon because right now, that wagon is on the right path to having success when it matters most.
*Photo: The Associated Press