Well, that one felt a lot better than what we felt on Friday night. This is a lesson that I guess even the ultimate optimist should know (yes, I’m talking about me), you can’t evaluate a team off of one game. It may not have been the cleanest win but as they say, “a win is a win” and the Blues came away with two points. Here is my “Ferrario Five” from game #3.
1. The Forward Lines Are Still a Work in Progress
Call me crazy (and you should) but I’m not sold on this forward pairing for St. Louis, even after they scored 5 goals last night. It still seems that chemistry is building on the ice for some of these guys and we are getting there. I do like Brayden Schenn in the middle but I don’t love Robert Thomas playing 15:00 in the game. I don’t know what the resolution is because Schenn and Schwartz work well and you want to see Thomas and Hoffman turn into a dynamic duo but there needs to be consistency. I think there are certain things that work with the most recent pairings but don’t be surprised if Berube switches things up again on Wednesday.
2. Jordan Binnington has been EVERYTHING for this Blues team
Three games this season and all three of them Binnington has shined but last night was a big night. The first period the Blues found themselves down by 2 goals but it was the 2nd period where Binnington came up with a save that shifted the momentum. After the Blues scored to tie the game, Binnington came up with a pad save on Hertl that would’ve sucked the life out of the Blues. He made that save and kept the momentum going north. Then, the 3rd period was the “clutch the remote” period as the time dwindled down and San Jose swarmed the offensive zone. I’ve said it multiple times, you have to have a goalie who makes the big saves at the right time and he did that.
3. Is it Possible that Kyrou Could be Better than we thought he would be?
Here’s a guy that we’ve talked about but none more than what we will be all day today after his performance. Jordan Kyrou is emerging as a top-6 winger for the Blues with his ability in the offensive zone. He has 2 GWG in three games this season and that is while playing on two separate lines (Bozak & Sanford on Wednesday and Schenn & Schwartz on Monday). Kyrou is responsible on the defensive side of the puck right now too which allows Craig Berube to play him in big scenarios. Last night, Kyrou stick-checked the puck from a Sharks defenseman which resulted in a goal for St. Louis. If that’s the guy the Blues are getting this season, they may have found a future 20 goal scorer in a normal season. His speed is what needs to be discussed. Kyrou drove the puck up the board for Schenn’s goal by out-skating Erik Karlsson, one of the fastest skating defenseman in the NHL.
4. Still need to tighten things up in their own zone
This is the area that still concerns me about the Blues, being outworked in their own zone. That 1st period started with the Blues getting pinned in their own zone which led to SJ peppering Binnington with shots. Then there was the PK (we don’t need to speak of that right now) and it seemed the Blues would be caught out of position with easy one-timers against them. It’s something that feels tied into the chemistry on the ice which is leading to the miscommunication errors but I do believe this will improve over time. This team is one of the best at quick-transitions up the ice, it’s just a matter of putting that aspect of their game into action, when moving the puck out of their own zone.
5. Justin Faulk broke through last night…and that’s a good thing
Finally, it’s the player we all need to talk about Justin Faulk. An incredible game for a Blues defenseman who, for the last year, has had an enormous amount of pressure on his shoulders. 2 goals should be impressive enough but it was the play in the neutral zone that impressed me with Faulk. Strong on his stick defensively, ability to lay the big hit and joining the rush to create offense. He may not be elite in his own zone but he has not been a liability this season and that is going to continue improving this season.