What an opening week it has been for the St. Louis Blues. After a thrilling 5-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on opening night, the Blues followed up that performance with three more wins in the last week over the Arizona Coyotes, Vegas Golden Knights, and Los Angeles Kings. There’s still a long season ahead, but St. Louis is off to a flying start picking up eight points out of a possible eight to keep pace in a daunting Central Division. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest storylines from this week in Blues hockey.
The offense is firing on all cylinders
Through the season’s first four games, the Blues have scored five, seven, three, and seven goals, for a scorching-hot average of 5.5 goals per game. Not only that, but it hasn’t just been a hot start for a select few players. Every skater who has dressed in at least one game for St. Louis this season has registered at least a point. Goals have come from up and down the lineup, as well as a couple from the backend by Justin Faulk. The most notable performances offensively so far have come from Jordan Kyrou, who has two goals and eight points through four games, as well as David Perron, who after scoring a hat-trick against the Kings, is already up to five goals on the season.
Buchnevich brings an edge to this team
After scoring his first goal as a Blue early in the first period against the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night, Pavel Buchnevich quickly found himself ejected from the contest after headbutting Lawson Crouse in a post-whistle scrum. Buchnevich had clearly crossed the line and was deservedly ejected from the game and handed a two-game suspension. Since it was in the second game of the season, and the Blues ultimately ended up winning that game along with the two games he missed, it’s easy to imagine that this situation will be all but forgotten about by everyone except perhaps the Coyotes the next time the two teams play. The altercation did show us, however, that Buchnevich, much like Brayden Schenn, can bring an element of “crazy” to the team’s top six, as well as being able to contribute offensively. Expect Buchnevich to be inserted back into the lineup on Monday in his normal spot alongside Schenn and Kyrou.
Neighbours looks like he belongs
Technically, rookie Jake Neighbours is in the midst of a nine-game tryout with the Blues. He can play up to nine games in the NHL this season without burning a year on his entry-level deal, though that point appears to be moot because the kid has played his way into staying in St. Louis for the foreseeable future. Through his first four NHL games, the team’s first-round pick from the 2020 draft has looked right at home while playing up and down the lineup. He picked up his first NHL point assisting on a Klim Kostin goal on Monday against the Coyotes then netted his first career goal in the Blues’ home opener against the Kings on Saturday. At this point, it’s going to be pretty hard for GM Doug Armstrong to send Neighbours back down to the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League, which means the team will need to make a roster decision upon the return of the injured Oskar Sundqvist. While the depth of this degree is certainly a good problem to have, it is still a problem nonetheless.
The Blues have gotten off to a great start to the 2021-22 season and while the rate that they are currently scoring isn’t sustainable over the course of a full 82-game schedule, it’s been entertaining hockey to start the year, leaving Blues fans excited for what’s to come. Coming up this week, the Blues host the Kings again on Monday night, who will be looking to avenge the 7-3 scoreline from Saturday. After that, the Blues host the Avalanche on Thursday night in a clash of two of the West’s best before ending the week hosting the rival Chicago Blackhawks for the first time since the 2019-20 season.
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