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My Advice to Blues Fans During Historical Run: Take it in!

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NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Ground Control to Major Tom, can you hear me?

Over the past six weeks, euphoric disbelief has fallen down on the shoulders of St. Louis Blues fans like the perpetual wintry mix that won’t leave the city alone. On Tuesday night at The Enterprise Center, the Blues stood in the middle of the ring with a Stanley Cup hopeful team in the Toronto Maple Leafs, exchanging blows and the lead, coming out on top in the end.

A Ryan O’Reilly overtime winner rescued a game that the Blues had in hand going into the third period. Sometimes, winning ugly is part of the game. That’s what the Blues did last night. Imperfect, inconsistent, and flawed, they endured and won.

If you would have told a fan this team would win double-digit games in a row back in December, you may have been drowned in egg nog or kicked in the knee.

Can I believe in these Blues once again after such a disappointing start that had fans and media drafting up selling proposals for General Manager Doug Armstrong to consider? Sure I can. After all, these are the St. Louis Blues, whose name is the epitome of sexy heartbreak.

What you have seen in these 2018-19 Blues are the good, bad, and ugly of following a sports team: the insane highs, nasty lows, and moderate stopgaps located in between. Twice this week, on two different radio shows, I was asked if I had given up hope on this team at some point in the season, and the answer was unanimous.

Of course I did. This team looked like Grade-A dogshit back around Christmas, so I started thinking about what another playoff-less April would look like. And then, the team beat the Anaheim Ducks, 5-1, on Jan. 23 before the break.

It’s been 29 days since they have lost a game. In six of the eleven wins, the Blues have beat the opposition by at least two goals. In eight of those wins, the Blues have beat a team currently in the running for a playoff spot or one that owns a playoff spot. They shut out one of the best teams in the East in Tampa Bay. The Blues beat Nashville, whom they are just six points behind with two games in hand, twice inside 24 hours.

Suffice to say, this team isn’t picking up wins against weak ponies; they are dispensing with the cream of the crop. An elite road team, the Blues have gutted out some tough wins on home ice. Right when you think they were getting knocked out or resorting back to old habits, they pulled a few great plays out of their ass and won. It’s what the best hockey teams do.

Can it last? Sure it can. Look at the way each unit is playing. The defensive unit is producing offense again while strangling opponents in their own end. The two Maple Leafs goals had some fluke-type vibes to their execution, with one of them going off Joel Edmundson. With the resurgence of Jay Bouwmeester, the entire unit has pulled a 180, perfecting the tiny aspects of the game that lead to winning.

Backed by the empowered Vladimir Tarasenko and the ever-so-steady O’Reilly, the forwards are putting relentless pressure on the opposition. Remember that crazy long shift on Sunday in Minnesota where they sustained pressure in the Wild’s end for what seemed like five minutes and sixteen shots? How many times did you see that early on this season?

The passing is more crisp, which is leading to better opportunities on net, turning into more goals. The confidence level of this team is off-the-charts, which hikes up the swagger going into big games like Tuesday’s match-up with Toronto, a well-coached and efficient hockey team. The Blues of November and December would have wilted on Tuesday night, giving in to the better team and causing whiskey sorrow marches in Soulard. Instead, they found new and intriguing ways to outplay the other guys. Oh how sweet it is to be loved by consistent hockey?!

As I wrote in the esteemed fan club of Blues devotees, the St. Louis Game Time Classy AF paper, I’d like to place the bounty of the turnaround on Tarasenko’s shoulders, but an argument can be made for Jordan Binnington, who made a couple ridiculous stops against the Maple Leafs, and head coach Craig Berube.

The truth is health played a big key in the comeback. Bouwmeester and Tarasenko got healthy, and that helped reload the separate cores of this team’s attack. That in turn gave some push to the goaltender and coaches. Cue Gloria!

Inside 59 games, the Blues have showed fans the good, bad, and ugly of the game. Coming into the season, the sky was limit. Going into December, the dumpster had to be set on fire. By the new year, fans were ready to sell off every piece on this team. As February turns a corner on its final stretch, they are sitting comfortably in third place in the Central with their eyes on Winnipeg and Nashville. Can they really catch the Jets? Probably not, but the fact that it’s a possibility is the takeaway.

On Jan. 1, the Blues were 15-18-4. Since then, they are 17-4-1. That is the definition of unbelievable in sports. With a possible 46 points still up for grabs, it’s realistic to assume the Blues could end up with 30 of those, which would place them with 99 points after 82 games.

Step back and ask yourself this question: what team in the NHL can go toe-to-toe with the Blues right now in a seven game set? The Blues play extremely well away from Enterprise, and have found a second gear in St. Louis. The list of teams is tiny.

As the great Jackson Maine once told the love of his life, Ally, “take it in.”

Take it in, Blues fans. The Blues will lose eventually, and it will suck. Rest assured that the losing ways won’t stay for long. Against all odds, this team has turned the season around, not just regaining respect, but making history.

Now, if we could only get rid of all this snow and freezing rain, things would be perfect.