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

The St. Louis Blues are in the midst of another streak. After winning their first three games and losing their next eight, they’ve now won six straight games. This streak includes road wins against the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights, so their schedule hasn’t been a cakewalk.

St. Louis Blues Weekly Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou
Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou (The Hockey Writers)

The Blues haven’t played their best in parts of this streak, but the results matter most. They are back into the mix with their recent play. They needed to figure out how to get more points before Thanksgiving and they’ve done so.

Blues Have Won 6 Straight Games

After a 3-8-0 start, the Blues have won six straight and are now 9-8-0 on the season. They are a streaky team that seems to have found their footing after 11 games, as they beat the Avalanche, Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals, and Anaheim Ducks this past week. My main takeaways were goaltending and scoring for the Blues, as they got major contributions in both areas, and despite a few struggling teams on the schedule, they did what they needed to do against them.

Related: Blues’ Kyrou and O’Reilly Bounce Backs Fueling Team’s Win Streak

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Jordan Binnington made a whopping 45 saves in their 3-2 win over the Avalanche. He also played well against the Blackhawks with 25 of 27 saves in that game. Thomas Greiss started against the Capitals and in the shootout win, he saved 47 shots. Binnington’s numbers are on the rise after a major dip during the losing streak. In his last five starts, he is 5-0-0 with a save percentage (SV%) of .936. He’s been brilliant against elite opponents and he has kept his team in games. The Blues’ schedule heats back up later this week, so it’s going to be interesting how they respond to that uptick.

Buchnevich & Thomas Back to 2021-22 Form

The elite chemistry of Pavel Buchnevich and Robert Thomas has returned during this streak. Sometimes the puck bounces go against you and that was the case for these two before last week. Thomas is now up to 15 points in 17 games this season, including a three-point night against the Ducks.

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

As for Buchnevich, he’s fully back to being the dynamic two-way forward that scored 76 points last season. He looks confident again with the puck and he’s making the right decisions with it. He had a five-point game against the Ducks, including two goals. He’s now up to 11 points in 12 games with a plus/minus of plus-3, and he’s one of the nine players on this roster that has a positive plus/minus stat.

I’d also like to shout out Jordan Kyrou as well, who I had some serious doubts about early in the season. He jumped onto the line with Thomas and Buchnevich against the Ducks, and they made some magic in the offensive zone. It was an offensive clinic from those three, and I wonder if head coach Craig Berube will keep them together when Vladimir Tarasenko returns to the lineup. Both Thomas and Buchnevich are playing at a high level, some of which is due to the work of other forwards setting the tone.

Defensive Unit Stepping Up Without Parayko

Colton Parayko missed three games last week with an upper-body injury. Their defense has played well without him, especially with the recent emergence of Niko Mikkola and Calle Rosen. Both Mikkola and Rosen have gotten more minutes in recent games, and rightfully so. Another note coming out of Parayko’s injury is the debut of Tyler Tucker. What you see is what you get with Tucker, he throws a lot of hits and competes hard.

Colton Parayko St. Louis Blues
Colton Parayko, St. Louis Blues (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

As for Parayko, he is a solid player, but his minutes should go down when he returns. His poor defensive positioning and lacking offensive ability aren’t good fits for this team. However, he will be back in the lineup when he is healthy. I don’t think the Blues can take Rosen or Mikkola out of the lineup, so I expect Tucker to come out.

Blues’ Week Ahead

  • Monday: vs. Anaheim Ducks (5-12-1, 11 points), 7 PM
  • Wednesday: at Buffalo Sabres (7-11-0, 14 points), 6 PM
  • Friday: at Tampa Bay Lightning (11-6-1, 23 points), 7 PM
  • Saturday: at Florida Panthers (9-7-2, 20 points), 5:30 PM

It’s another four-game week for the Blues, starting with the Ducks on Monday. After that, it’s a road trip to Buffalo, where the Sabres have been on a losing skid after a nice start. Their back-to-back in Florida will be interesting to watch with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers, two of the best rosters in the NHL. The Blues could make a major move in the Western Conference with a lot of success this week.

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