As I like to call it … “5 Minutes For Scribing.”
Happiness: A 3-2 overtime win over visiting San Jose to lift the Blues’ season record to 10-5-2. Your Note is 3-1 in the last four games, and 3-1-1 in the last five. The Blues are in a cluster of teams with 22 points overall, tied for second in the NHL. But the Blues have played 17 games, more than most teams. In terms of points percentage, the Blues rank 10th in the NHL at .647. Vegas has one fewer point than the Blues in the West standings, but the Golden Knights have played only 14 games and have a points percentage of .750.
Star of the Game … but more than that: On an assist from defenseman Torry Krug, David Perron deposited the winning goal with a minute remaining in overtime. It capped another superb game from Perron, who had a goal and an assist and finished +3.
It wouldn’t be accurate to say that Perron is being overlooked this season; he plays on a high-profile line and gets plenty of ice time. But considering the season he’s having, Perron may be just a little underrated.
Perron, 32, leads the Blues in points (18), assists (12), and first assists (6.) He also tied for second in goals (6) and leads the Note with seven points (2-5) on the power play. When Perron is skating at even strength this season the Blues have 56.4% of the shots on goal and have outscored opponents 13-8.
Here’s another reason why Perron may be underrated: In Blues franchise history he ranks 13th all-time among forwards in goals (156), 12th in points (368), 10th in games (567), and 7th in plus-minus (+53.) He’s steadily moving up the charts. His franchise rankings are even more impressive when grouped with wingers only. David Perron is a True Blue
Comebacks and character: The Blues did it again, erasing a very late 2-1 deficit to carry this game into overtime for the eventual victory. The Blues have won seven times after trailing in a game this season; in the NHL only Florida (8) has more comeback wins. Admirable. Especially considering all of the regulars that didn’t play Thursday because of injuries: Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Tarasenko, Robert Thomas, Tyler Bozak and defenseman Colton Parayko. Also: Ivan Barbashev left the game in the third period after getting nailed in the foot by a teammate’s shot.
Close calls: A dandy note from my friend and former colleague Jim Thomas of STLtoday and the Post-Dispatch: “If you subtract empty-net goals, it was the eighth straight one-goal game for the Blues, and their 12th of the year in 17 games. Maybe it’s just going to be that kind of year.”
The special teams are starting to click: The Blues’ most rickety area is starting to shape up. The Blues angled for two power play goals Thursday night including Perron’s prize-winner in extra time. And the PK unit took care of its one assignment, snuffing San Jose’s only PP opportunity. In the last five games the Blues have clicked for 4 PP goals on 14 chances (28.5% success) and killed 12 of 14 penalties (85.7%). You can easily make the claim that special teams won this game for St. Louis; the Blues were outscored 2-0 by the Sharks at 5-on-5 play.
Good note from Lou Korac of NHL.com: The Blues scored the game-tying goal with 40 seconds left in the third after pulling goaltender Jordan Binnington for a sixth attacker. And as Korac wrote, “It was the Blues’ fourth 6-on-5 goal of the season and leads the NHL. They had three all of last season.”
If you haven’t checked out Korac’s blog, In The Slot, hey you need to get on it.
Mike Hoffman being Mike Hoffman: He scored an early PP goal for a 1-0 lead, then surged to set up the game-tying rebound goal by Brayden Schenn with time ticking away. In the last 10 games Hoffman has 5 goals and 5 assists and is a plus 7. He’s also averaged 3.2 shots on goal in the last 10 games, and 3.75 shots on net in his last eight contests.
“I think he’s done his job,” Blues coach Craig Berube said via post-game ZOOM. “I think that he’s starting to figure out how we play a little bit. Defensively he’s been fine, he worked himself in good spots defensively and he’s doing a good job there. He’s really good, he gets opportunities and he capitalizes on them.”
Welcome back: After missing six games, defenseman Marco Scandella returned from the injury tent and teamed with Eric Gunnarson to form an effective pairing. In nearly 11 minutes of even strength time, the duo combined for a 62.5% Corsi rating.
Justin Faulk and Torey Krug: The Blues’ best defensive partnership was stout (again) during the win over the Sharks. With Krug and Faulk out there at even strength the Blues had a 1-0 edge on goals, and controlled 60% of the shots on net. In 167 even-strength minutes the Blues have outscored opponents 13-3 with the Faulk and Krug pairing.
This Just In: Jordan Binnington is really good. Of course, we knew that already. For the record, the Blues are 62-21-10 during the regular season when Binnington starts. As Blues manager Doug Armstrong told Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic: “When you’re looking at a No. 1 guy, you’re hoping to have a guy who can play the lion’s share of the games and, every night he goes out there, you can feel like your goaltending is as good or better than the guy at the other end of the rink. When Craig (Berube) tells me he’s starting, you just feel like, ‘OK, we’re going to have good goaltending,’ which is the biggest compliment you can give somebody.”
Next Up: The Blues continue their 10-game stretch of games vs. San Jose, the LA Kings or Anaheim with Saturday night’s 6 p.m. home game against the Sharks. Starting with Thursday’s win over the Sharks, the Blues are scheduled to play 14 of their 16 games against the three teams.
Thanks for reading …
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