Blues Weekly: 70-Point Scorers, Thomas, Berube & More

The St. Louis Blues finished the week with a record of 3-0-1 and they will officially face off against the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the playoffs, which begin on May 2.

St. Louis Blues Weekly Ryan O'Reilly David Perron
Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron (The Hockey Writers)

The Blues have a regular-season record of 49-20-11 with 109 points, which is their highest mark since the 2014-15 season. During that season, they had a record of 51-24-7 and lost to the Wild in the first round of the playoffs. The scoring leader for that team was Vladimir Tarasenko, who had 73 points in 77 games. There are a lot of similarities between that season and the current 2021-22 season, which might be scary to think about.

Blues Now Have Three 70-Plus Point Scorers

For the first time since 1993-94, the Blues have three 70-plus point scorers. For Tarasenko, it’s his fourth season with over 70 points and his first with over 80. It’s a career-high season in many categories including points for both Pavel Buchnevich and Robert Thomas, who have each cleared the 70-point mark with ease over the past few weeks.

Related: Blues’ Buchnevich is a Key Component to Teams Future Success

Buchnevich is also the first Blue to reach 30 goals other than Tarasenko since Alexander Steen did so in the 2013-14 season. The Buchnevich trade has never looked better for Blues general manager Doug Armstrong, who acquired the elite winger for Sammy Blais and a second-round pick. Blais is a good player, but health was always a major concern as he tore his ACL after appearing in 14 games for the New York Rangers.

This was a breakout season for the ages for Thomas, who finally broke out in his fourth full season in the NHL. His vision and passing ability are next-level, and it’s become clear that he is the future of the center position for the Blues. The most important thing with this milestone for the team is that all three of these players are playing on the same line and have been overwhelming for teams to deal with.

Thomas’ Point Streak Reaches 17 Games

Thomas’ point streak ties the longest in the NHL this season which was set by Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, who had a 17-game point streak in the first two months of the season. With the brilliance of Thomas, it’s easy to forget that Tarasenko has a 10-game point streak of his own as well.

It’s been an incredible season for Thomas, who has 20 goals and 56 assists for 76 points in 70 games. His chemistry with Tarasenko and Buchnevich continues to grow exponentially, as they’ve been possibly the best overall line the Blues have had in the last decade-plus. It was likely that one of Thomas or Jordan Kyrou would break out this season, and the fact that they both have done so is an amazing thing for the Blues.

Thomas projects as the forward of the future for the Blues, and as he develops his two-way game, he could be one of the best players in the league in the coming years. What a draft steal this could be for Armstrong with the 20th overall pick in 2017, as he is fourth in scoring out of every player from his draft and the three in front of him were top five picks. The only player from the 2017 Draft that has over 100 points after Thomas is Jason Robertson of the Dallas Stars.

Berube Now Third All-Time in Blues History with 156 Wins

Blues head coach Craig Berube passed Brian Sutter, who had 153 wins in 320 games, for third all-time in franchise history. Berube got to 156 wins in 270 games, with the help of a great front office and brand of hockey that knows how to win games in a multitude of ways.

St. Louis Blues Craig Berube Doug Armstrong
St. Louis Blues head coach Craig Berube and general manager Doug Armstrong (Colter Peterson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

Teams under Berube in St. Louis have been good in all four seasons and have been efficient in collecting wins and points. In three of the four seasons, the Blues have had a point percentage of .600 or better. The 2021-22 team is on track for the best point percentage under Berube, and it isn’t all that close.

After being a defense-first team for the first two seasons under Berube, the Blues have become a version of the modern NHL that focuses on speed, skill, and transition offense. Their defense has dropped off while making this change, but clearly, it’s helped them become a better team. Even with a defense that is lacking, they still rank 10th in the league in goals against, which is an improvement from being ranked 19th last season.

Overall, the most significant coaching move in franchise history is the firing of Mike Yeo and the interim hiring of Berube, as it’s changed the trajectory and stature of the franchise.

Franchise Record Point Streak of 16 Games

With the hot streak comes a point streak for the Blues, who are 14-0-2 in their last 16 games. They haven’t just been beating non-playoff teams during that streak either, as they have wins over the Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild, Boston Bruins, and Nashville Predators. They have a tough test coming in the final week of the season with the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights on the schedule, but they’ve stood tall against every opponent during this stretch.

The record is second this season behind only the Avalanche, who had a point streak of 19 games earlier in the season. When the Blues are next to the Avalanche in almost every stat this season, it’s a great thing as they are the consensus-best team in the Western Conference and likely the NHL.

Robert Thomas St. Louis Blues
Robert Thomas, St. Louis Blues (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The name of the game for the Blues during this stretch has been goal-scoring, as they had a streak of 12 games straight with four or more goals, which shattered the franchise record for that particular stat. Over the last 16 games, they have 78 goals for and just 43 goals against. That is good for a goal differential of plus-35, which is absurd and off the charts.

The other key stats haven’t been all that impressive over this stretch, the Blues are just simply scoring way more goals than the opposition. In the month of April, they have scored 70 goals thus far, which is first in the NHL, and the second-place team is the Florida Panthers with 57 goals. It’s safe to say that getting hot at the right time helps pad numbers and makes the club much more confident heading into a daunting postseason.

The Week Ahead

  • Tuesday: at Colorado Avalanche, 8:30 PM
  • Friday: vs. Vegas Golden Knights, 7 PM

It’s the final week of the regular season and the Blues will take on the two preseason favorites in the Western Conference. The Avalanche have lived up to it with the best record in the NHL, while the Golden Knights are currently a couple of points out of a playoff spot. The Blues are 2-0-0 against the Golden Knights this season and 1-1-0 against the Avalanche, as they haven’t played either team since early in the season.

The Blues will likely need to win both of these games and have the Wild lose a game for them to get home ice in the playoff series, although I don’t expect that to be a major factor in the outcome of it.