Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Playoff Primer: St. Louis Blues

I didn't know such a logo existed. Now I do!

This is one of the other 3 teams in contention for the President's Trophy. Astute fans will remember their last run to the President's Trophy, that was followed by a first-round playoff exit and years of wallowing in the also-ran pile.

Things clicked when Jack-Adams obviousnominee Ken Hitchcock looked at this team and quite plainly said - "You guys shouldn't suck". This team has David Backes, David Perron, Alex Pietrangelo, Barret Jackman, and in the ludicrous trade with the Avalanche, Kevin Shattenkirk and Chris Stewart. Just looking at that list, it's formidable.

But the St. Louis Blues would not be where they are without what might be the best single-season tandem in history, Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliot. You think I'm being generous? Both players are top 5 in GAA (5th and 1st), top 7 in Save Percentage (7th and 1st), top 5 in shutouts (5th and 2nd)... They may be the best two goalies since Glenn Hall and Jacques Plante... on St. Louis.

St. Louis is so fricking deep in goal they sent away Ben Bishop for peanuts just because.

They've cooled off.

I wish there was more to say, but they've stopped utterly dominating the rest of the league. Halak has had a stretch now where he's been bad-ish. This team plays a choking defensive style, waits for the mistakes and spins the game right back at you, scores and waits again.

Will win the Stanley Cup if...
Halak and Elliot return to their form, and Backes dominates the board play like he has done with exceptional skill all of this year. They have had the ability to beat almost every other team in the league this year, with their choking style. But they've began to choke - is this a lull before the domination? Or something more sinister...

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