Back in January, it looked like the St. Louis Blues season was already over. Dead last in the NHL, things were not going well. That wasn’t the end, however. It was some of the Blues franchise records that powered them to a playoff spot and a potential Central Division title.
There were many factors that turned around the Blues season. The emergence of Jordan Binnington, the depth scoring, and an impressive winning streak are just a few of them.
Blues Franchise Records Power Playoff Push
Rookie Goaltending Wins
If there’s one place to start with the turnaround, Jordan Binnington is the answer. The team recalled the 25-year-old goaltender on January 5th. He would make his first career start just two days later. And the rest has been history for the rookie goaltenders. He became the 35th goaltender, and eighth in the past 15 years to record a shutout in his first career start.
And that hasn’t even been the best part of his young career. Binnington has been named as a player of the week twice thus far, the second star on January 14th and first on February 11th. He was also named rookie of the month in both February and March. He became the second goaltender to earn that honour in consecutive months since 2006-07.
With a record of 23-5-1, a GAA of 1.89 and a .927 SV%, Binnington has earned serious consideration for the Calder Trophy. While he likely isn’t able to earn the honour over Elias Pettersson, his consistent play is a huge reason the Blues are where they are.
Jordan Binnington earned his 23rd win of 2018-19 to establish a @StLouisBlues record for most in a season by a rookie goaltender, eclipsing the previous mark of 22 set by Jake Allen in 2014-15. #NHLStats #PHIvsSTL pic.twitter.com/SQGddq2PDo
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 5, 2019
In his last five games, Binnington is 4-1-0. And that came against teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning, Vegas Golden Knights, and Colorado Avalanche. And to think some thought the Blues were phasing out Binnington earlier in the season.
11-Game Win Streak
The 11-game win streak will certainly be looked back on as a huge turning point in the season. And one of the biggest Blues franchise records to be broken. The Blues were 21-22-5 on January 21st. 28 days later, they were 32-22-5. Starting January 23rd, the team went on a tear through February 19th.
The Blues went 493 minutes and 42 seconds without trailing in a game during the streak. Binnington would win nine games in a row, tied for fifth most by a rookie goaltender. Vladimir Tarasenko captured 20 points, 10 goals and 10 assists. Ryan O’Reilly had 12 points during the streak.
The streak included wins against some big teams. A 1-0 victory over the Lightning in overtime and a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime. They also beat the Nashville Predators twice, 3-2 in regulation and 5-4 in overtime.
The Blues currently hold the third spot in the Central Division at 97 points. The Winnipeg Jets sit in second with 97 points, holding the ROW tiebreaker over the Blues. Nashville sits at 98 points. All three will be in action on Saturday night. It will be a wild finish to find out the division winner.
Players With 10+ Goals
It’s no surprise when players like Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O’Reilly led the team in scoring. What does help, though, is when the depth scoring follows. And the Blues got that this season.
With Steen’s goal, the Blues have set a new franchise record by having 13 players score 10 or more goals in the same season. #stlblues
— x – St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) April 5, 2019
Among Blues franchise records, this one showed off just how much depth the Blues have. This record was recently broken on Thursday night. Pat Maroon and Alex Steen both scored their 10th goal of the season. This gave the Blues 13 different 10-goal scorers.
While names like Brayden Schenn and David Perron are also not surprising, a few players have emerged for the Blues. Ivan Barbashev has certainly broken out in his third season with the Blues. He had 12 goals combined in his first two seasons. He had 14 total this season. His 26 points are one more than the 25 combined in his first two seasons.
Oskar Sundqvist has also broken out in a big way. His previous career high in a season was one goal. This season he has 14 goals. Five points were his career high last season. He now has 31 points in 73 games this season. It is also the most games he has appeared in during his career.
Defensemen With 10+ Goals
It wasn’t only the forward group that chipped in on the scoring either. The Blues defensemen found themselves on the scoresheet fairly often as well. No surprise, Alex Pietrangelo led the way with 13 goals on the season, despite missing some time with injury.
Vince Dunn has emerged as a top defenseman for the Blues. He has a career-high 12 goals and 35 points in his second season with the team. He also has four game-winning goals this season. Colton Parayko has been reliable as well, scoring a career-high 10 goals in 80 games this season.
The Blues won’t have another defensemen reach the mark as the next closest is Jay Bouwmeester with three goals. But the depth on defence has been just another key as to how the Blues have made their late-season push.
Fastest Five Goals Scored
This won’t be a big factor in the end, but it is an impressive feat nonetheless. In the team’s second to last game of the season, they played like it still meant something. The game finished in a 7-3 route of the Philadelphia Flyers. But the team made history in the first period.
— x – St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) April 5, 2019
Five different Blues scored in the game’s first 9:41. They scored at even strength, on the power-play, and shorthanded as well. And they had eight total shots at that point. It again showed the depth that the Blues have. Six different players would score overall, with Steen grabbing two goals in the game.
While the record itself will just go down as another stat, it can still be looked at as one of the reasons the team has been able to fight back and contribute time and time again.
These Blues franchise records, among others, have shown what this team is capable of. They fought back from dead last in the league to a chance at first place in the Central Division. And there is little doubt that they won’t be in a position to make a run in the playoffs.
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