Blues Weekly: Perron, Injuries, Binnington & More

The playoff series between the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild is now tied 2-2 after the Blues bounced back in a Game 4 victory on home ice.

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

This series being tied was the expectation, but the journey to get there has been quite surprising, especially from the Blues’ perspective. These two teams are so evenly matched that the expectation for the series is now Game 7 or bust, which is certainly a legitimate possibility.

Perron Nets Five Goals in Four Games

Not only has David Perron been brilliant in this series, but it’s rubbing off on Ryan O’Reilly too, who has also been tremendous. The two of them have accounted for a whopping eight goals in four games, carrying over some of their late-season scoring success into the playoffs.

Related: Perron is Blues Secret Weapon

They played with Brayden Schenn on the other wing over Brandon Saad, and it didn’t matter, as they didn’t miss a beat. Both of them have been defensively responsible and physical when needed; those two things combined with goal-scoring are all you can ask for from their line.

Having two-way veteran forwards can certainly mask defensive issues caused by injuries. The definition of that is what O’Reilly and Perron have done in this series, as Perron continues to prove that his legacy in St. Louis is growing and is worthy of a contract extension this summer before he hits free agency.

Krug, Leddy, Bortuzzo, and Scandella All Injured

The Blues have had zero luck in keeping their defensemen healthy, as four of their top-six have all missed a game or more in this series. It’s clear that Torey Krug likely won’t return, but there are positive signs for both Nick Leddy and Robert Bortuzzo to make their returns for Game 5. As for Marco Scandella, he tried to return in Game 4, but it was cut short after likely reaggravating the lower-body injury that he suffered.

Nick Leddy St. Louis Blues
Nick Leddy, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Joe Puetz/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s certainly not ideal that these four are dealing with injuries, but Justin Faulk and Colton Parayko came up huge in Game 4 while playing heavy minutes. The return of Scott Perunovich certainly helps the Krug power-play unit excel without him, as he is a terrific mover of the puck. Niko Mikkola has helped to give the Blues a bit more size, which is part of what they were missing without Robert Bortuzzo.

A lot of the defensive issues that arose in Game 3 when Leddy, Bortuzzo, Krug, and Scandella didn’t play were due to poor decisions that led to odd-man rush chances for the Wild. It didn’t have much to do with the defensemen themselves, but the overall team effort was poor in that department. I have much more confidence in the defensive pairings not hurting them if Leddy and Bortuzzo return with a healthy Faulk and Parayko still playing heavy minutes.

Binnington Starts Over Husso in Game 4

Blues head coach Craig Berube made the aggressive move to start Jordan Binnington over Ville Husso in Game 4, and it turned out to be the right move. This move could shift the series back in the direction of the Blues, but time will tell us if that’s the case or not.

Jordan Binnington St. Louis Blues Kirill Kaprizov Minnesota Wild
Colton Parayko and Jordan Binnington of the St. Louis Blues defend the net against Kirill Kaprizov of the Minnesota Wild (Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images)

Binnington stopped 28 of 30 shots in the 5-2 victory in Game 4, including some major saves to keep them in front during a thrilling third period. I didn’t like the way that the Blues sat back and weren’t the aggressor with a 3-1 lead, but he saved them from losing that lead.

There is no doubt that this could be a confidence booster for Binnington and will propel him into starting Game 5 and beyond for the Blues. I liked the decision by Berube to try and find a spark in the series by starting a different goaltender, and it could end up saving it for them. It looked quite bleak after an ugly Game 3 loss, but Game 4 has certainly flipped the series back to an even level for both clubs.

The Week Ahead

  • Tuesday: at Minnesota Wild, 8:30 PM (Game 5)
  • Thursday: vs. Minnesota Wild, TBD (Game 6)
  • Saturday: at Minnesota Wild, TBD (Game 7, If Necessary)

The series will sort itself out this week, as Games 5 and 6 will be played and a Game 7 could follow if the two teams trade games. It’s going to be an enormous first period in Game 5 on the road in St. Paul. The Blues must come out firing as they did in Game 1 to bring the series back to St. Louis with a chance to move onto the second round.

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