The month of April sure has been fun for fans of the St. Louis Blues. After Saturday night’s overtime win against the Arizona Coyotes, St. Louis has extended its franchise-record point streak to fifteen games, with a chance to make it sixteen in a row Sunday night against the Anaheim Ducks. After undergoing a rough stretch in March in which the club’s legitimacy as a title contender was questioned, the Blues have responded with an incredible run to close out the regular season.
The last time the Blues came away from a game with no points was March 26 against the Carolina Hurricanes. Since that 7-2 drubbing in St. Louis, the Blues have rolled to an impressive 13-0-2 mark in their last fifteen games, securing their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup Playoff berth in the process. It has already been confirmed that the team’s first-round opponent will be the Minnesota Wild, though home-ice advantage in the series is still up for grabs, so St. Louis still has plenty of motivation to keep the point streak rolling.
Thomas line leading the charge
The most notable contributions during the team’s recent run of form have been the line of Pavel Buchnevich, Robert Thomas, and Vladimir Tarasenko. All three forwards have been racking up goals and assists and have each had extensive point streaks of their own, including Thomas’ impressive sixteen-game point streak, which is still active at the time of writing.
Thomas has blown past his career-high in points and has put up the first fifty assist season by a Blue since Doug Weight in 2003-04. After a tumultuous offseason, Tarasenko has responded with a career-high in assists and points, posting the first eighty-point season by a Blue since Pavol Demitra in the 2002-03 season. After coming over in an offseason trade from the New York Rangers, Buchnevich has also set career highs in goals and points. The chemistry the three have developed together has given St. Louis one of the most dangerous offensive lines in the league.
Leddy trade paying off
The trade deadline acquisition of Nick Leddy was not universally applauded at the time. Leddy was not seen as one of the top available defensemen and the loss of fan-favourite Oskar Sundqvist had some Blues fans scratching their heads. Many naysayers of the trade early on are already starting to change their minds as Leddy has fit into the Blues’ defence like a glove. The club had a glaring hole on the left side of the top four and so far, Leddy has done an exceptional job in the role.
Mostly playing alongside fellow Minnesota native Justin Faulk, Leddy has played solid defensive hockey while chipping in offensively with two goals and eight points in seventeen games. Seen as a potential liability defensively judging by his -33 plus/minus this season in Detroit, Leddy is a respectable +5 as a member of the Blues, demonstrating the difference between playing for a non-playoff team and a Stanley Cup contender. Leddy’s place in the lineup has allowed Faulk to shine offensively, as he has now scored more goals this season than in his first two seasons in St. Louis combined.
Goaltending coming together
The battle for the starting goaltending job between Ville Husso and Jordan Binnington has been one of the top subjects of discussion in St. Louis all season long, with the incumbent starter Binnington struggling in the middle of the season, while Husso has taken the league by storm. While Binnington has improved in his last few starts, Husso has not wavered and is continuing to make his case for the starting job in the playoffs.
With two goaltenders playing well, the Blues have a good problem on their hands as the regular season wraps up this week. There is a good chance both goaltenders will feature in the final week as both look to leave a good impression on the coaching staff before the first-round series against Minnesota gets underway.
The Blues are hot at the right time of the season, which has energized their fanbase and has them believing a second championship in four years is a legitimate possibility. The offensive firepower of the Thomas line, the new-look defence following the Leddy trade, and the two-headed monster of Husso and Binnington in net have led the Blues to their longest point streak in franchise history, leaving St. Louis fans ready for the playoffs to get underway.
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