The Blues won their fourth in a row not despite Brian Elliott, but with help from Jake Allen. After changing the goalie after three goals on ten shots in a generally disappointing team performance, the Blues woke up and played much better. They defeated a team that they should've beaten handily by the skin of their teeth.
It was deja vu back to the Blues' November 28th performance against the Edmonton Oilers. A game in the middle of a winning streak, shoddily played, nearly cost the Blues two points that they should've had. Hopefully Saturday night's win over the Hurricanes will help the Blues avoid the complacency trap again with an Oilers team that has some firepower.
The Blues are performing with more firepower now than they were in November. Instead of an over-reliance on the STL Line of Jaden Schwartz, Jori Lehtera, and Vladimir Tarasenko, the scoring has spread itself out and kept up a healthy pace during the Blues' hot streak. The top line of Alexander Steen, David Backes, and T.J. Oshie have scored 30 points in the past five games (14 goals, 16 assists). The team's third line has also picked up the pace. Patrik Berglund is playing much better, and Dmitrij Jaskin and Paul Stastny have clicked.
In turn, Stastny's ice time has increased. Jeremy Rutherford got the reason out of Ken Hitchcock for Stastny's increased visibility:
"I figured out something with him," Hitchcock said. "The more I play him, the better he plays. The more I include him, the better he plays, so we’re finding places for him to play."
Wow. Also helpful is that he is no longer expected to center fourth liners.
The Blues are a dominant 15-2-1 against the Oilers in their last 18 games. The Oilers haven't won on the road in 13 games. This isn't the exact same team that was here in November. David Perron is gone, traded to the Penguins. Coach Dallas Eakins has been fired, the latest fallboy for a gong show of a franchise. The Oilers have started to play better since Todd Nelson took over, but it remains to be seen if it's good enough to beat the Blues cleanly.