That was a fun game at San Jose. Even if you were tempted to give in and doze a little during Thursday’s late-night action, the Blues roused you with a 5-3 victory.

After a good night’s sleep, I’m Rolling Four Lines …


Craig Berube On Tour: There’s been one consistent characteristic for the Blues since Berube became their coach on Nov. 21, 2018. They go on the road. They kick arse. They collect points.

The Blues are 7-1-1 overall this season, including their 4-1-1 scorecard away from St. Louis. Their road points-percentage (.900) ranks fourth in the NHL so far.

No surprise. The Blues are determined industrialists under Berube, packing up for road trips to get a job done. They take care of their business.

Team Berube is 57-31-15 on the road during the regular season since he replaced Mike Yeo. Only Tampa Bay and Washington have more road points than St. Louis over that time, and the difference is a mere four points.

With Chief as their leader, the Blues’ points-collected percentage on the road is .626, ranking third in the NHL and first among Western Conference teams. And we’ll never forget how the Blues won 10 road games in their march to the Stanley Cup in 2019.

When the Blues leave St. Louis, they take Thunder Road.


Welcome to the NHL, Joel Hofer: Playing in his first NHL game, the 21-year-old rookie stepped into a circle of hell right away, with fireballs coming at him from every direction as the desperate Blues killed 17 San Jose power plays in the game’s opening minutes.

OK, it wasn’t 27 power plays; it just seemed that way. The count was three penalties and over seven minutes of power plays including a 5-on-3. But the Sharks were largely turned aside despite their early advantage, managing only one power-play goal in the dizzying sequence that Hofer handled with the poise of a cool-headed veteran. Hell, ol’ Gump Worsley couldn’t have done it any better.

For the game, Hofer stopped 15 of 16 shots at even strength, and snuffed eight of nine shots on San Jose’s power plays. And the Sharks scored a shorthanded goal on Hofer, but it wasn’t his fault.

With the Blues hanging tough with a one-goal lead, the laddie stopped San Jose’s final 12 shots on goal down the stretch. And to top it all off, Hofer got an assist on the empty-netter by Robert Thomas that put the Sharks away. Big night for the kid.

“I think he did a good job,” Blues forward Brandon Saad said of Hofer. “We took a lot of penalties, he saw a lot of action early on especially. Obviously we’re all excited for him. It’s a big first win and a special moment for him.”

Hofer was summoned from the AHL bullpen after No. 2 goaltender Ville Husso went on the Covid-19 list. For the second time in as many chances this season, the Blues won on a night off for starting goalie Jordan Binnington.

Husso had a shutout in his one start. Hofer played very well in his NHL debut. With Binnington resting, Husso and Hofer combined to stop 38 of 39 shots at even strength in their two starts. That’s a .974 save percentage. Husso and Hofer also fended off 18 of 19 shots on the penalty kill, a save percentage of .947.

“It’s his first NHL game and you start a period with 5-on-3 for I don’t know how long, four minutes or however long it was. That’s tough, but he battled and did a good job and the team did a good job in front of him,” Berube said of Hofer. “You need two goalies in this league now. We all know that. With Husso out of the lineup, we needed Hofer to step up and he did and won us a game.”

How good is the St. Louis goaltending through the team’s first nine games? Here are the digits:

— At five-on-five, .938 save percentage, 5th in the NHL and 3rd in the Western Conference.

— At even strength, .933 save pct., 7th overall and 2nd in the West.

— On the penalty kill, .940 save pct., tied for 1st overall.

— At all strengths, .932 save pct., 3rd overall and 1st in the West.


Armstrong’s Army: four of the Blues’ five goals were scored by dudes who played for other teams last season. Brandon Saad (Colorado) scored two against the Sharks. Pavel Buchnevich (NY Rangers) and James Neal (Edmonton) each banked a goal. GM Doug Armstrong’s offseason moves are looking sweet. The newcomers are part of a deep collection of forwards, a group that’s providing exceptional balance. The Blues have gotten goals from 12 forwards — and 10 have at least two goals. And 14 of the STL forwards have at least one point so far.

The Blues are benefiting from the production of forwards age 33 or older: Tyler Bozak, David Perron and James Neal. And 30-year old forwards, Ryan O’Reilly and Brayden Schenn. And they’ve received four goals and seven assists from a 30-year-old forward who wants to be traded, Vladimir Tarasenko. And they’ve seen good play from a teenage forward, Jake Neighbours. They’re watching early-20s forwards Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou evolve into budding stars. And of course: the new-Blue forwards, Buchnevich, Saad and Neal.

And Oskar Sunqvist will return soon after his lengthy rehab and recovery from knee surgery.

The forward depth has enabled the Blues to go 2-1-1 so far with do-it-all O’Reilly on the Covid-19 list. The Blues won at San Jose with Schenn playing only 6:57 before departing with an upper-body injury.

Last season the Blues averaged 2.98 goals per game, 13th among the 31 NHL teams. Early on in the new campaign, their average of 4.00 goals per game ranks 4th among the 32 teams.


You Have To Like Torey Krug: And if you don’t like Torey Krug, then I don’t like you, and your pets probably dislike you too. In his second season with the Blues, the defenseman is adding new fans by the game. He’s been very good. Krug wasn’t as bad as the chronic whiners claimed last season, but clearly he’s more comfortable in his second year wearing The Note.

Krug has two goals and eight assists overall, putting him tied for 11th among NHL defensemen with eighth points. Among 178 defensemen that have at least 100 minutes of ice time this season, Krug ranks 5th with an average of 2.57 points per 60 minutes.

Among 91 NHL defensemen with 100-plus minutes at five-on-five, Krug ranks 8th with a Corsi For percentage of 55.15%, and is 21st with an expected-goals percentage of 53.2%. When Krug has been on the ice at five-on-five this season, the Blues have outscored opponents 10-6.

Another thing to like is Krug’s on-ice compatibility in multiple defense pairings.

— When he’s partnered with Justin Faulk at five-on-five (108 minutes) the team has a 55.6% Corso For and has outscored opponents 8-3.

— When Krug has played alongside Colton Parayko at five-on-five (22 minutes), the Blues have controlled 56 percent of the shots, have a 2-0 edge in goals, and an expected goals-for percentage of 68.7%.

— And at 10-plus minutes of Krug working with Robert Bortuzzo at five-on-five, the Blues have a 71.4% share of shots on goal, and an expected goals-for percentage of 72%. The Blues have been outscored 1-0 with this duo on the ice, but that’s a fluke. Their underlying metrics are very strong.

Krug’s pairing with Jake Walman hasn’t clicked — the Blues have been outshot by a wide margin, and outscored 2-0 at five-on-five — but they’ve only played six minutes together.

Thanks for reading …


Bernie invites you to listen to his opinionated sports-talk show on 590-AM The Fan, KFNS. It airs Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and Friday from 4-6 p.m. You can listen by streaming online or by downloading the “Bernie Show” podcast at — the 590 app works great and is available in your preferred app store.

Statistics used here were sourced from Hockey Reference and Natural Stat Trick.

Follow Bernie on Twitter @miklasz