Blue Notes … blaring loudly today after Wednesday night’s entertaining and rollicking 5-4 victory at Anaheim.
For this edition, let’s put a special emphasis on the first-rate styling and production of the first-line Blues:
1. After a six-game interruption made necessary by Brayden Schenn recuperation from concussion-related concerns, the Blues top line reunited for a wild evening of hockey against the Ducks. And it sure was good to see the boys back together again after the team’s 2-3-1 record during Schenn’s absence. Schenn, Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko combined for two goals and four assists, cranked out 10 shots on goal, and were responsible for three of the five penalties charged on the Ducks.
2. While Schenn was away recovering, the Blues went six consecutive games of scoring no more than two goals and were 3 of 19 on the power play. With Schenn rejoining his linemates in Anaheim the Blues scored five goals — and cashed in for three power PP goals in five opportunities.
3. How hot is this line? Molten-lava hot. When the Blues have O’Reilly centering Schenn and Tarasenko they’ve won 12 consecutive games. The big line has connected and converted over and over again, combining for 51 points in the 12 games on 19 goals and 32 assists. The only thing that could stop them was Schenn’s injury.
4. Let’s update the metrics on Schenn-O’Reilly-Tarasenko. In their last 12 games as a finely synchronized machine, this tenacious and talented trio has outscored opponents by a ridiculous margin:
In addition the top fun-gun line has controlled 62.75 percent of the scoring chances in all situations, 57.5% of the scoring chances at five-on-five, and 56.8% of the scoring chances at even strength. And in all situations Tarasenko, Schenn and O’Reilly have a massive 51-29 edge in high-danger scoring chances over opponents. That’s 63.75 percent.
5. About Mister Ryan O’Reilly … granted, I’m not in good shape and would benefit from getting out of the office and away from the laptop to go for some walks in the park. Sounds like a plan. But for the time being let me say this: I become exhausted just watching O’Reilly compete. In this fiercely engaged contest won by the Blues on two late goals, O’Reilly pushed hard for 24 minutes and 37 seconds of unrelenting ice time — nearly five minutes more the the next forward (Tarasenko) on the list for the most playing time. Heck, O’Reilly logged first-pairing defenseman minutes in this one; he played only three seconds less than the marathon iceman, Alex Pietrangelo.
6. In doing more than his share to take down the Ducks, O’Reilly had a goal and an assist. He posted a superb 60 percent Corsi rating, attacked Anaheim with four high-danger scoring chances and won 23 of 39 faceoffs, or 59 percent … hold up, I need to take a break here … OK … let’s resume….
7. O’Reilly also drew two penalties… including one with just over three minutes remaining in the third period that created sustained pressure in the offensive zone — which led to the game-tying goal by rookie Robert Thomas.
8. O’Reilly now has 65 points on the season, a new career high. He set the previous personal standard with a 64-point season for Colorado in 2013-2014.
9. During his 12-game winning streak as part of the Blues’ big crew, Schenn has three goals, 12 assists and is a plus 13 at even strength. He hasn’t played in a losing game for the Blues since Jan. 21 … which happened to be a 4-3 setback at Los Angeles. Well, the Blues play at the Kings this evening and it’s about time their 0-2 record against an LA team that’s gone 24-34-8 this season … including a 1-7-4 mark since Feb. 9.
10. Here’s a great note from Travis Green, my friend and former producer of ‘The Bernie Show’ on 101ESPN. Green reminds us of what the Blues gave up in the trades that brought in Schenn from Philadelphia and O’Reilly from Buffalo.
Here’s what the Blues parted with, total, in the two outstanding deals: forwards Jori Lehtera, Vladimir Sobotka, Patrik Berglund and Tage Thompson, three first-round draft choices; and a single second-round draft pick. As Green points out, those departed Blues have a combined 17 goals, 20 assists and are a minus 51 since going to their new teams. Lehtera is in the minors (AHL) and Berglund hasn’t found another NHL job since walking away from Buffalo earlier this season.
Thompson, 21, has a chance to develop into a good player. But he’s struggling in Buffalo with seven goals, four assists and a minus 11 rating in 57 games. Thompson has no points and is minus 7 over his last 15 games.
Schenn (second season in St. Louis) and O’Reilly (first season here) have played in a combined 204 games for the Blues. Wearing The Note, Schenn and O’Reilly have combined for 64 goals, 109 assists, 173 points. As Blues, O’Reilly is a plus 21 Schenn is plus 11.
Nice work, Doug Armstrong.
Very nice work.
Thanks for reading …