On Nov. 21, through 20 games, the St. Louis Blues were the second worst team in hockey. Mike Yeo had just been relieved of his duties as head coach, locker room chemistry was completely off, and the team had almost half the points of their division competitor, the Nashville Predators.
Fast forward to now, where the Blues reside in third place in the Central division and four points above second-place western wildcard Minnesota Wild.
It seemed as if a comeback was impossible for a while, but the turn around that has ensued has been beautiful to follow.
With a record of 12-1-1, the Blues went on a tear during the month of February. St. Louis has crawled back and put themselves in position for a deep playoff run with a franchise-record 11-straight wins, many of which came against contending or playoff-bound teams.
Much of this productivity has come from the top line. Offseason addition C Ryan O’Reilly has been the best skater for the club, playing alongside Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko, and ranking No. 8 in the league in plus-minus.
Jordan Binnington has been the success story of St. Louis. Jake Allen is off to his worst season so far and Binnington has been there to take it over. Through 19 starts and 21 games, Binnington has gone 15-3-1 with a GAA of 1.68 and a save percentage of .933, leading the league for goaltenders in both categories.
Vince Dunn and Colton Parayko are the backbones of this Blues squad. Parayko has shone through in several line combinations and he leads the club’s defensemen in goals and plus-minus. As for Dunn, who ranks second for team defensemen in plus-minus, it will be interesting to see when the 22-year old will begin getting minutes over veteran Blues Carl Gunnarsson and Jay Bouwmeester.
After Yeo’s firing, assistant coach Craig Berube was named interim manager of the Blues. After bringing this club together, he boasts an impressive season record of 27-16-3. Along with Mike Shildt and the Cardinals, it has been very fun to watch these interim managers make crucial midseason comebacks.
With the way this team has been performing lately, it won’t take too much for the Blues to finish with a ticket to the postseason. Injury returns from David Perron and continued success from these top lines and Binnington will bring St. Louis to the playoffs after coming up short during the final game of the season last year.