The St. Louis Blues are putting together wins at exactly the right time, which means they’re well within a playoff spot and ready to make things interesting in the Western Conference.
Of course, the same could be said for every team in the Western Conference. Nobody’s really out of it yet altogether. Even the basement teams could potentially snag a wild card spot and find their way to the dance. The same cannot really be said for the Ottawa Senators or Detroit Red Wings out East.
But the Blues, like every club in the West, need to win.
And that’s where goalie Jordan Binnington is piling up dividends.
St. Louis is 7-2-1 in their last 10 and are on a six-game winning streak. The 25-year-old netminder is 9-1-1 this season with a 1.72 goals against average and a .931 save percentage. He has two shutouts.
Binnington was a San Antonio Rampage netminder up until the moment he got the call to the big leagues. Prior to his “renaissance” in the NHL, he’d only seen four shots against. In 2015-2016. And he allowed one goal on those four shots, too.
This time around, with the Blues having pitched Chad Johnson on waivers and trying to jar Jake Allen to some quality starts, the rookie slid in and stole the show.
Binnington is now, arguably, the starter for the Blues and, inarguably, playing brilliant hockey at just the right time.
St. Louis took back-to-back wins against the Nashville Predators, gaining wins on Saturday and Sunday to pull within two points of the Dallas Stars in the Central Division. Allen took the victory Sunday, with Vladimir Tarasenko’s hat trick lifting the visitors to victory. Binnington had the Saturday win with a 29-save performance against a tough offence.
Prior to that, Binnington shut down the NHL’s best offence when the Tampa Bay Lightning couldn’t put it past them.
The Blues will go on to face the New Jersey Devils Tuesday, then head out on the road for three games to end the week. A week Tuesday, it’s the Toronto Maple Leafs and another powerhouse offence.
All the while, St. Louis will count on Binnington’s improbable story to continue. And, with his exceptional play, the Blues might find themselves marching in to the post-season once again.
(Photo credit: Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire)