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Blues at Lightning preview: No Binnington, no problem?

The Blues put three unanswered goals past Brian Elliott on Tuesday night.

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Blues’ win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night was one of the strangest games in eons. Down 3-0 by the end of the first period thanks to a myriad of fluky bounces, the team rallied and put up three unanswered goals, eventually winning in the shootout. Key to the win was Jordan Binnington, who coach Craig Berube refused to pull.

As Ryan O’Reilly put it:

“There were bad bounces and they kind of were just shooting everything, going to the net, getting chaos, got some goals early and put us on our heels. But it was a good thing we settled and took a deep breath, all of us, and started to chip away, started getting back, winning battles and just kind of getting on our toes a bit more and started to build it.”

The Blues are going to have to find a way to beat the Bolts tonight in Tampa without a major reason that they won on Tuesday. Jordan Binnington’s on the league’s Covid-19 protocol list. For those keeping score, that means that Binnington, Tyler Bozak, David Perron, Klim Kostin, and James Neal will be missing tonight’s game against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

If you’ve been searching for a way to describe a team that has been all over the map in terms of success this year, “resilient” is a good start.

A large part of the resiliency has been attributable to the Blues’ AHL depth of talent. Dakota Joshua always slots in, and Logan Brown - who has been having a solid season in Springfield - scored his first goal for his hometown team in the Blues’ victory. There’s not a sense within the Blues, or generally, within the fan base, that the injuries so far this season have been insurmountable.

The last time a goaltender was placed on the protocol list, it was Ville Husso. This time, with Binnington out, the team is going to have to rely on their backup for at least the next ten days. So far this season, Husso is 3-1-0 with a 1.76 GAA and a .936 save percentage, A small sample size, certainly, but also something to build on for both the Blues and their backup.

The Blues won’t have an easy go of it tonight, with Andrei Vasilevskiy in net, but the two teams’ choice of netminders doesn’t mean that this game’s result is a foregone conclusion.