Home-ice advantage is something rarely talked about in November because it is mainly a postseason term. However, the St. Louis Blues have made it relevant with their play of late at Scottrade Center.
The team has points in each of their last 10 match-ups at their home arena and have no desire to see that trend come to a close anytime soon. A streak that long is challenging to accomplish in the NHL, but a few aspects of their game have made it possible.
With a league as fast-paced as the NHL, it’s not difficult to notice patience when it’s present. Methodically playing the game requires a certain hockey intelligence that’s hard to come by, but St. Louis has displayed it this season.
They are making deliberate passes out of their zone, which feeds the offense nicely. The Note has been able to clog up the natural zone by patiently challenging opponents at the blue line and in turn, they protect the Blues’ goal.
Although being patient may seem like an obvious component of success in the NHL, it is not something most teams employ. Their patience was evident in last night’s 4-3 overtime win over the Dallas Stars — especially on this goal in the third period.
The players on the blue line were aware of which teammate had the puck and did not jump the gun and enter the zone too early. They kept their eye on the puck and were able to support one another as they challenged the Stars’ defense.
In turn St. Louis took a 3-2 lead in the third period, which led to them ultimately winning in overtime. This kind of play is one that is allowing the Blues to be so successful, especially in their play at Scottrade Center this season.
Shattenkirk and Stastny
The combination of Kevin Shattenkirk and Paul Stastny on home ice for the Blues has been great. For whatever reason, these two have been able to work well when on the ice together to contribute in every zone.
The two players have had better overall outings at home compared to on the road. Both Shattenkirk and Stastny have positive plus/minus ratings at home, but have suffered minuses in their games outside of Scottrade Center. While it is not the most telling of statistics, having the two contrast for both players is indicative of better play at home.
More than that, though, is offense. Shattenkirk in particular has benefited from playing at home this season. He has nine points in 13 home games compared to only six points in 10 road games. His ability to get involved in the offensive production at Scottrade Center makes the team a more well-rounded bunch.
While the Blues’ play at home will not rely solely on these two players, their contributions over St. Louis’ 10-game point streak at home do not go unnoticed.
Lastly, but possibly most importantly, the Blues are playing with confidence. They know they can win at home and are able to intimidate opposing teams. Others are aware of just how well the Blues have played at home of late and it is not something any team wants to deal with.
Scottrade Center has been an arena that fortifies the Blues and gives them an advantage, which is exactly how they will want to keep it moving forward.
St. Louis will attempt to maintain their fantastic play on home ice when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.