On the morning of January 15, the Blues had a record of 16-23-3,good for 35 points, in last place in the Western Conference and eleven points away from eighth…the final playoff position.
Here we are twenty days later, and as the Blues wake up following a 4-2 win over Columbus, they have a record of 21-24-5, still in last place…but just six points out of the playoffs with a 5-1-2 run under their belt. In the eight games since January 15, the Blues have given up just eighteen goals. In the five wins, they’ve given up just eight goals.
This hot streak wins have come at the expense of Colorado, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Columbus, plus an overtime loss to Chicago and a shootout loss at Detroit. That’s some pretty impressive competition to be succeeding against.
The cool thing about the offense is that it’s the kids who are coming of age. During the eight game hot streak, David Backes has stayed productive with four goals, Patrik Berglund has three, T.J. Oshie has a pair and Jay McClement may have found his offensive groove with four.
The key, however, has been Chris Mason. Since taking over for an injured Manny Legace in Boston on President’s Day, Mason has played in six games and compiled a 1.297 GAA. His save percentage in those games is a stellar .955. The defensive run, by the way, roughly coincides with the return of the much maligned Jay McKee, who came back from his finger injury the game before this 5-1-2 streak.
When taking into consideration that the Blues are playing without Erik Johnson, Eric Brewer, and Roman Polak, this eight game stretch is nothing short of amazing.
This is a grueling stretch run for the Blues, who are in the midst of playing nineteen games in 38 days. They also face another brutal road trip toward the end of the season in which they go to Columbus, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix between March 29 and April 7 before their home finale.
For the rest of this month, however, the Blues have a chance to make some hay. And if they can keep up what they’ve done in their last eight…they might even make more than hay.