Blaming Ville Husso for the Blues being in a 2-1 hole is like blaming Jordan Binnington for the Blues getting swept out of the playoffs last season. The problems run deeper. Half the team’s defense has been broken. Torey Krug will be out for “some time” according to Craig Berube, which is not something that anyone but the Wild want to hear. Nick Leddy and Robert Bortuzzo both missed game four on top of Krug being injured early on, and the team had less than zero defense. What was already an inability to get the Wild out of Husso’s face got worse. On the opposite end of the ice, the Blues cannot get consistent high quality scoring chances, can’t grab Marc-Andre Fleury’s rebounds, and cannot clog the Wild’s crease.
So what happens tonight? Jordan Binnington is a possibility:
Berube on a starting goalie for Game 4: "We'll decide that tomorrow."— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) May 7, 2022
Are the #stlblues at least thinking about playing Binnington: "It's in our thoughts, yeah."
On the other hand, it’s not a necessarily a referendum on the goaltender’s play, despite what half of Blues Twitter will probably have one think if Binnington starts:
Berube on Husso's play: "I think he's done a pretty good job for us. We allowed them to have some odd-man rushes in the game. That's tough, we've got to do a better job there. We can't give up odd-man rushes like that in the game." #stlblues— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) May 7, 2022
If Binnington isn’t keyed in, and that was debatable in his games to close out the season, it won’t matter if the Blues’ offense finally gets back to scoring. There’s a risk switching starters mid-series, and while I do agree with Benjamin Hochman that switching things up sends a message, I don’t know if the proof is in the pudding with the Blues’ play in front of Binnington.
The Blues could be getting NHL caliber reinforcements back today in the forms of Nick Leddy and Robert Bortuzzo, but nothing is a guarantee, especially when it comes to injury. After a few days of waffling replies to questions about Scott Perunovich, Berube seems to think that odds are strong that he comes back in as well. He’s been out with a wrist injury since January 15th. Berube is focused on Perunovich slotting in for Krug on the power play, which is where the Blues need to excel if they want another game like game one:
“He can move the puck and moves well,” Berube said. “It was good to see him, he’s back and ready to go if we need him. We’ll see.
“He hasn’t played games in a long time. It was good that he could run that power play with Krug out right now. We’ll see how that goes. He needs some reps. It was one of the reasons we wanted to get out there today too.”
Right now, the plans for tonight are in flux - which could be the toughest thing for the Wild. It’s tough to plan when you have no idea what’s going on. On the other hand, that’s the challenge for the Blues as well.