Not unlike their NHL counterparts, the Chicago Wolves were the slower team against the Texas Stars tonight. Also like their affiliate, the Stars of the AHL haven't had the best of seasons this year. But what we got was a very even game overall in which Jordan Binnington made his mark yet again. The 30 save performance was nothing short of perfect.
Tonight was Binnington’s sixth start in a row as the returning Ville Husso sat on the bench as the backup. Husso hasn't been available the past 10 games with a lower body injury. With a set of back to back games in the coming days one has to think the young Finn will get his first start back in net very soon.
But back to Binnington, the 23 year old has been on fire of late. Whether mentally he couldn't get over his sluggish play earlier in the season or just bad luck, the young prospect has found his mojo again. This throws a bit of a wrench in the goalie rankings for the St. Louis Blues. For quite sometime now many saw Husso as the “future number one” for the Note. Which very well could still happen but Binnington is not going to give up his position easily. This competition for starts is exactly what both players need. In the long run both with benefit and there really isn't a loser.
Elsewhere in the game the struggles for Ty Rattie continue. This has to be a season Rattie will want to forget, for forever. The short spell with the Carolina Hurricanes lasted about as long as the leash Ken Hitchcock gave him here with the Blues. Now that he’s back in the Blues system the points have yet to arrive. The opportunities have been there, including a missed empty netter, can it get any worse him? If there’s been any highlight since returning it has to be his shootout goal tonight. At least the puck hit the back of the net on that occasion. It’s yet again a contract year for Rattie, who really knows how this story will play out.
The Chicago Wolves now have 82 points on the season. With two massive games this weekend against the Grand Rapids Griffins, the battle for first place in the division continues. For players like Vince Dunn, Samuel Blais, and Tage Thompson the positioning the Wolves are in is a perfect learning experience for them. The race for the Calder Cup has just as many big game situations as the Stanley Cup. The rinks are just a...tad smaller.