After starting the season rocky, with little hope of making the playoffs this year, the St. Louis Blues have suddenly turned things around and are currently sitting in the 3rd spot in the Central Division, only 7 points back from the top spot. They’ve gone on an 11 game win streak breaking the club’s longest winning streak record, had 3 shutouts in a row, and their top goal scorer just had a 12 game point streak. They are on fire. But why?
To put it simply, they are doing the right things. They play hard. They have defensemen coming in on plays and forwards going back defensively. They are closing the lanes in their zone, limiting shots on goal. And they have a hot new rookie goaltender who positions himself well and comes out of the crease to challenge, while still being able to make dynamic saves when needed, and handles the puck well. Of course his team wants to play well in front of him. And with stats like a .937 save percentage, 1.6 goals against average, and going 13-1-1, its obvious this kid has the ability to become a star goalie in the NHL. Plus he’s got ice water in his veins, the kid never gets flustered.
The Blues are seeing results not just from their top lines, but every line is putting in the effort, grinding, moving the puck fast tape to tape, and coming back defensively. Forwards like Fabri coming back to stop an otherwise open goal wrap around. The defensemen are coming in and making big plays, like in the last game against the Maple Leafs – who sit in the fifth spot in the league overall – Parayko hit a slapshot that ricocheted in and out of the net so fast they didn’t even realize it was a goal at first. And this type of play has been a constant since the All Star break.
So, given the forward momentum of this team, I don’t foresee them slowing down anytime soon. While it’s still a bit of a scramble for those wild card positions, and the Central is definitely a hard division to compete in, I predict that the Blues will stay in the running in one of the top three spots through the remainder of the season. And given that they just shut out the Lightening, the top team in the league, I think they might just have a solid chance at going all the way this year. Will St. Louis finally have Sir Stanley’s cup? Stick around and we’ll find out together.