I could start this preview off by discussing what a difficult opponent the Nashville Predators have been recently for the Blues and everyone else in the NHL. They’re second in the Central with 70 points and have one of the best goaltenders in the game in Pekka Rinne between the pipes.
But Thursday night the Blues and Jordan Binnington shut out the best team in the league, 1-0. Pardon me if the start of today’s home and home against the Preds impresses me less than it should.
The Blues are on a four game winning streak, and that’s still without David Perron, who has an upper body injury. That’s without regular playing time from Robby Fabbri. That’s without a decent season from Jaden Schwartz. The Blues are 7-2-1 in their last ten games played. The only team putting up better points than that are the 8-1-1 Montreal Canadiens. The fact that the Blues have finally figured their team out in the second half of the season couldn’t’ve come at a better time, either. The rest of the Western Conference is so bad that even the Chicago Blackhawks sit two points out of a playoff spot. The Anaheim Ducks, for instance, have won literally two out of their last 20 games. If you’re not in the top three in a division, this is wide open for you.
It’s rare that the West is this awful. Thank goodness the Blues know how to capitalize on that all the way up to the second wild card spot. Right now, they’re two points behind the Wild for the first WC slot and six behind the Stars for third in the division.
A big cog in the Blues’ machine right now - not to contribute to a goalie fight or anything - has been Jordan Binnington. This season he’s 8-1-1 in 12 games played, with a 1.70 GAA and a .931 save percentage. He’s allowed only 19 goals and has two shutouts. He has been, without a better phrase for it, absurdly good.
Allen will probably start one of these two games against the Predators. February has not been his month. To be fair, though, Saturday hasn’t been a good day for the Blues, and the thought of an afternoon game is concerning. Tomorrow’s another afternoon tilt (but two hours earlier, so yay) and it’s a national broadcast. Here’s hoping for the Blues to break the mold and not break their streak.