2 Takeaways From the Blues’ 7-Game Winning Streak

The St. Louis Blues are riding high with a seven-game win streak. Their record has now gone from 3-8-0 to 10-8-0, putting them back into the mix. They are being labeled as one of the streakiest teams in recent NHL history. It’s not often that a team has three different streaks across an 18-game stretch, but that’s what this team has done.

Related: Blues Weekly: Winning Streak, Buchnevich, Parayko, & More

The Blues have relied on key players and goaltending during this streak. It also helps that their schedule eased up after a couple of hard-fought road wins against the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights. Either way, this streak has been impressive to watch from this team.

Key Players Scoring for the Blues

One of the many themes during the eight-game losing streak was the inability to score goals. The Blues scored 12 goals in those eight games, they scored more than two goals once during that stretch. They had four games with one goal and a shutout loss to the Winnipeg Jets that started the skid. It was an ugly offensive stretch for the majority of the losing streak. The cure for losing streaks might be to play the San Jose Sharks, they rank 29th in goals against in the NHL. The Blues’ offense woke up to start the winning streak with a five-goal showing against the Sharks.

The puck started to bounce their way as the winning streak began. During this streak, they’ve scored 30 goals overall and allowed 16. Key players have started to score again; Ryan O’Reilly has three goals during the streak after scoring two goals in the previous 11 games. The same can be said for Jordan Kyrou and Pavel Buchnevich — Buchnevich has 10 points in seven games and Kyrou has nine points. They’ve also found solid line combinations, keeping O’Reilly with Brandon Saad and Josh Leivo. That line has worked well together, so it’s been a key force during the win streak.

Pavel Buchnevich St. Louis Blues
Pavel Buchnevich, St. Louis Blues (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Blues’ bottom six has turned its season around with this streak. They were struggling mightily for most of this season, but some changes have made a huge difference. The additions of Tyler Pitlick and Nikita Alexandrov are notable; they have been fantastic. One of the most under-the-radar signings of the offseason could be Noel Acciari. He’s been both versatile and consistent, scoring eight points in 18 games. He had three goals in the two wins over the Anaheim Ducks. His best fit is as the fourth-line center with Alexandrov and Pitlick on the wings. It also helps to have the depth to have players like Ivan Barbashev and Brayden Schenn on the third line. Forward depth is a luxury for the Blues, but it took nearly 10 games for their depth to show.

Binnington & Greiss Have Been Tremendous

Throughout the majority of the eight-game losing streak, the Blues’ defense was consistently hanging their goaltenders out to dry. That has changed during the winning streak, but the goaltenders have also played much better overall. Winning builds confidence and that’s been the case for both Jordan Binnington and Thomas Greiss over the last seven games. The Blues’ defense still leaves a lot to be desired, but this team can win if the goaltending holds up behind them.

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Let’s start with Greiss. He’s played one game during this streak. However, he was playing well before the streak began, but the stats don’t bear that out. He’s faced 169 shots in his four starts this season, which is an average of 42 shots per game. It’s too many shots to face in four starts, but he has a save percentage (SV%) of .906 to show for it. Overall, I’ve been happy with how he has played and I don’t think the defense has been good in front of him.

As for Binnington, he has gotten his mojo back. His numbers were hard to look at before this stretch of seven straight wins — they were about as bad as could be for a starting goaltender. Most of it wasn’t his fault because the team was playing badly in front of him. Throughout the winning streak, he’s 6-0-0 with a SV% of .940 and he’s only allowed 12 goals. He was the main reason that they beat both the Avalanche and Golden Knights, making 79 total saves in those two games. Either way, the Blues have found a winning formula and the goaltending has been brilliant.

Blues’ Schedule Gets Tougher Through the End of the Year

The schedule ramps up even more through the rest of the calendar year. They needed to put wins together and the past two weeks have been the perfect time to do it. To give an idea of what that is, here is their lineup of opponents over the next two weeks.

  • at Tampa Bay Lightning (Nov. 25)
  • at Florida Panthers (Nov. 26)
  • vs. Dallas Stars (Nov. 28)
  • vs. Carolina Hurricanes (Dec. 1)
  • at Pittsburgh Penguins (Dec. 3)

This schedule shows the gauntlet ahead and it continues throughout December as well. The Blues are going to be facing divisional opponents and Stanley Cup contenders over the next five weeks. This stretch should say a lot about where this team is at and if they are for real with this winning streak. They are back in the playoff conversation with a 10-8-0 record and they sit as the top wild card in the Western Conference right now. The Blues have figured out how to win again and it’s been a sight to see.

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