After a month of offensively inept hockey the Blues suddenly sprung to life against an old Western conference foe.
On Saturday afternoon the Blues put up seven goals against the L.A. Kings, a team they were trailing in the wild card hunt, and in the process chased Jonathan Quick from the net. It was a rare glimpse of the Blues team that had dominated the NHL in the beginning months of the season and showed that this team might not be ready throw in the towel just yet.
One of the factors that lead to sudden surge in goal scoring was Mike Yeo’s decision to reunite the top line of Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko. According to naturalstattrick.com the trio accounted for two goals in 14:16 minutes of even strength ice time and register 13 scoring chances, 2 of which came from high danger areas. In today’s NHL balance throughout a team’s lineup is usually a necessity but in the case of the Blues their focus has to be on scoring goals and this line gives them the best opportunity to do that on a consistent basis, even if that does make the team as a whole easier to defend. This is a classic case of you throw your best players out against our best players and let’s see what happens.
However, the most notable difference between Saturday’s game and the one against San Jose the previous Thursday was the Blues ability to keep the play moving forward. There was a noticeable effort to get the puck moving north and then to fire a large volume of shots on goal, two things that Blues have struggled to do in the last month.
The Blues were also able to once again generate some offense from their blue line. Alex Pietrangelo recorded a goal and an assist along with a team leading 8 shots on goal. Colton Parayko and Robert Bortuzzo both scored while Vinnce Dunn assisted on Jaden Schwartz’s third period goal.
Also, not to be forgotten is the excellent goaltending the Blues have received from Jake Allen, especially in the wake of Carter Hutton’s injury. In the last two games he has stopped 72 of 75 shots and has looked calm, cool and collected in net.
If the Blues have any shot of making the playoffs then they must adhere to the game plan they were able to execute against the Kings. Keep the play moving north, activate their defensemen and fire the puck on net as often as possible. They have a long road ahead of them but if they continue to play like the did on Saturday the last 14 games of the season could be very interesting.
Thanks for reading and Go Blues.