The final month of the season is here for the St. Louis Blues, and every game matters as they fight for a spot in the playoffs. They must finish in second or third place in the Central Division to avoid playing the juggernaut Colorado Avalanche in the first round for the second season in a row.
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They have a difficult schedule this month, with multiple matchups against division rivals and playoff contenders, so they’ll need to find a way to tally points despite a brutal month of March.
Edmonton Oilers – April 1
The Blues continue a Canadian road trip with a matchup with the Edmonton Oilers, the third and final of the season between the two. The Oilers have been up and down this season, but they still possess two of the league’s best players with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
These two teams faced off in November and December, with a split overall. The Blues lost to the Oilers 5-4 in November and beat them 4-2 in December, both games were in St. Louis. McDavid had a goal and two assists in the two games versus the Blues, while Draisaitl had two goals and two assists. They’ve struggled to keep those two in check this season, but every team has the same issue with them.
The Oilers are currently 38-25-5 and rank third in the Pacific Division, they’ve been playing better hockey under new head coach Jay Woodcroft. They rank fifth in the league in goals for, while ranking 22nd in goals against, expect offenses to be prevalent in this matchup.
Calgary Flames – April 2
This season series has had an incredibly weird set of games, it’s been a tale of two games. In the first matchup, the Flames torched the Blues 7-1 in Calgary, the Blues never showed up in this one. They followed that up three days later by beating the Flames 5-1 in St. Louis. Brandon Saad had two goals and an assist in that game, so it was one of his best games as a Blue.
The Flames are one of the best teams in the league, with a record of 40-18-8 with 88 points, they have a six-point advantage over the Los Angeles Kings for first place in their division. They don’t have a weakness, they’re seventh in goals for and second in goals against, behind only the Carolina Hurricanes in that category. This should be a weird game, it’ll be hard to predict given the blowouts by both teams in the first two matchups.
Minnesota Wild – April 8 & 16
Somehow, the Blues have only played one game against the Minnesota Wild this season. That game happened to be on New Year’s Day, for the Winter Classic at Target Field. The Blues dominated the majority of that game, winning 6-4 on the back of a four-point game from Jordan Kyrou. The league learned about how great Kyrou was that night, he was incredible, and it’s all gone uphill since that.
These two teams could match up in the first round of the playoffs, as they both rank second and third in the division. The Wild have 86 points in 65 games, while the Blues have 83 points in 66 games. The Blues have five more regulation wins than the Wild, so if they could find a way to match the Wild’s point total, they could get home-ice advantage in a possible series.
A series between these two could be electric, as Marc-Andre Fleury comes into the mix for the Wild, they’ve become even harder to score on. The Blues have had success against them over the last two seasons, but the Wild are primed for a playoff run this season. These two games will tell us a lot about the state of these two teams against each other.
Boston Bruins – April 12 & 19
This month will have the second matchup between the Boston Bruins and Blues since their battle during the 2019 Stanley Cup. They met one time during the 2019-20 season, which was at TD Garden in Boston, the Bruins won that game 3-0 in late October. The Bruins are currently 14-3-1 since late February, they’ve been tremendous, but they sit at fourth in their loaded division.
The Blues should be able to defend the Bruins’ attack, they’ve had their issues scoring goals. They rank 17th in goals for, but they are fourth in goals against. Goaltender Jeremy Swayman has been fantastic for them, sporting a 19-9-3 and a save percentage (SV%) of .920. These two games should be interesting, even though nearly three years have gone by since their heated Cup matchup in 2019.
Nashville Predators – April 17
This will prove to be a crucial game between two teams fighting for the second or third spot in the division, both teams wanting to avoid a first-round matchup against the Avalanche or Flames. The Blues are 2-0-1 against the Nashville Predators this season, and their offense has been the story. They’ve scored 15 goals in three games, including 12 in the last two, which is impressive given the structure and defensive numbers of the Predators.
One interesting stat from the season series between the two is that Brayden Schenn has five points in two games against Nashville, including a four-point effort in mid-January. Robert Thomas has six points in three games against the Predators, including his four-point game against them in March, he was a force in that game.
As of right now, the Blues have one more point than the Predators in one less game, so they remain in a good position to stay in the third spot of the division. Goaltending will be a major factor in this matchup, the Blues have had no issues scoring against Juuse Saros this season, so if he plays they should feel confident.
Colorado Avalanche – April 26
There isn’t a lot to discuss about this matchup other than that this has been a bad matchup for the Blues. The Avalanche are a bad matchup for everybody, they’ve been an absolute force in the NHL after a somewhat slow start. They started 13-7-2, they’re now 47-14-6, which is unbelievable. Having a stretch with a record of 34-7-4 is incredible in this current form of the NHL.
Hopefully, this matchup won’t mean anything for the Blues in terms of staying in second or third place of the division. They need to have locked one of those spots up by this game, or they’ll have a lot of pressure on them. Anybody who has to face the Avalanche in the first round is in major trouble.
This is a difficult final month of the season for the Blues, with matchups against some of the best in the conference and crucial divisional matchups. This month will tell us a lot about the Blues and how they look going into the playoffs, it’s time to sink or swim.