Put a guy on notice that he's being actively shopped to other teams at the NHL trade deadline, decide to keep him and then watch him resurrect his season. I'm not saying that's a guarantee for Brad Boyes and Paul Kariya, but it sure looks like it this week.
The under-performing forwards sparked the Blues' offense Thursday night in Dallas. They scored the first three goals of the game for St. Louis on the way to a 6-1 rout of the Stars. Instead of asking where the hell this offense has been this season (five straight games with at least four goals -- if you count the skills competition), let's do a little compare and contrast for the two offensive sparks tonight.
Brad Boyes has scored a goal in each of the last two Blues games. By scoring on his only shot on goal Thursday night, Boyes increased his shooting percentage to 7.5 percent on the season after seeing it fall to 6.5 percent before the Olympic break. Before Tuesday's game, Boyes went 0 for the month of February with no points in his last eight games and 12 games without a goal. This decade he still only has three goals. Finally, this is only the third time all season he's scored goals in consecutive games.
Ok, one more point on Boyes. Remember when his 35 points led the Blues? And now with 37 points scored as of Thursday, Andy McDonald, T.J. Oshie and David Backes have all passed his points total.
All that helps illustrate how bad he's been and thereby showing how important a late season renaissance would be for the Blues. It would be huge. Same for Kariya who it seems REALLY didn't like to be talked about at the trade deadline. In his last five games, Kariya has four goals. In that same span he has eight total points. Before that he had gone 10 games without a goal while registering four assists.
Look, we get it's a small sample size. And it's hard to understand what it's like as a player knowing that your team is trying to send you somewhere else. But something is definitely different with these two players. Maybe it's who they're playing with. Kariya is definitely benefiting from playing with Backes and Oshie. They provide a mix of speed and toughness that is creating space for the undersized waterbug that is No. 9. And McDonald has helped Boyes score in the past. It's nice to see some combination click and then stay together for awhile.
Saturday night the Blues continue their six-game road trip. They've played some bad games in Colorado the last few years and the Avalanche are still a playoff team. And it's an important game. Remember last year when the Blues would get close to the playoff spot and then fall back, get close and fall back. And then it came down to the final weekend of the season. Let's not do that again, shall we?