Now THOSE are the Blues I’ve gotten used to watching lately. St. Louis has been in funk since the beginning of March, losing five of their last seven games... most recently to the despicably bad Ottawa Senators.
Photo: Charles LeClaire
The offense looked flat, the intensity just wasn’t there, for whatever reason Jake Allen was handed the reins, and the results were piss poor hockey. That was Thursday.
But not today. The Blues went into Pittsburgh to take on a championship-caliber team and walked away looking like they just played an AHL squad, winning 5-1:
- 40 massive saves from Jordan Binnington
- Two goals from Vince Dunn
- Sexy dangles from Big Rig Maroon
- And all-around excellent hockey from just about everyone who touched the puck
(except maybe Zach Sanford, whose poor handling in the defensive zone led to the Pens’ only goal)
The Notes made franchise history today, marking the first time the team has had three defenseman score at least 10 goals in a season. The Blues lead the NHL with 44 goals by blueliners, adding three more today (two from Dunn, one from Jay Bouwmeester off a delicious feed from Maroon).
Binnington was just marvelous. It just felt right seeing him back between the pipes, even after pretty good play from Jake Allen recently. But you can see the entire squad is different when Binner is out there. Everyone seems to trust each other’s play more, and the hockey is much more cohesive as a result. Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel each had a clear breakaway, and both were handled with veteran calm from the rookie. I can’t help but think with Jake Allen those are both goals and the Pens get right back in the game. And who are we kidding, with how we’ve played lately, they come back and win it.
This is exactly the statement the Blues needed to make. I was starting to feel like the historic win streak was a bit of fantasy, just a fun ride while it lasted, but then March rolls in and brings with it the Blues we’ve been watching all season. The piss-poor Senators shut us out, for crying out loud. But David Perron played his first game since January 17th, making an immediate impact on the top line, notching an assist to continue his 14-game point streak.
Jake Allen has been the star on the road so far this season, but Binnington proved he can do it too. Against one of the very best teams in league and two of the best players to ever be in the league, period.
Tomorrow, St. Louis can salvage the 3-game road trip with a win against the Buffalo Sabres, who have been utterly atrocious this month. They’ve lost six in a row, including big beautiful goose eggs in their last three. It would be a very St. Louis thing to go in and get blown out tomorrow, but I have a feeling they’ll ride this high and take care of business. Then it’s a four-game homestand after that.
This month started out pretty damn bad, but today gave me back my confidence in this squad. Minnesota and Dallas are right on our tail, so let’s go kick some Sabre ass.
(Now that's a hockey name)