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Photo Credit: © James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

The Race Is On 2019: St. Louis Doesn’t Lose

Even with the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks both in a bit of a down year, the three game road trip through California is still a tough task for teams to go through as it usually involves a back to back set – typically with the two teams in Los Angeles – and then a third game in four nights in San Jose… Or some sort of variant on overall block of games.

The St. Louis Blues picked up wins in back to back nights against the Ducks and Kings and were done so in rather impressive ways.

Last Night’s shutout of the Kings was Jake Allen’s third of the season and 19th of his career and made for a nice little reprieve from having to lean on rookie standout Jordan Binnington. But it was the win the previous night in Anaheim that was more astonishing.

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The Blues had a 3-1 lead a little over halfway past the game after Robert Thomas’ power play goal gave the Blues a two goal edge. The Ducks got scrappy though and tied things up at 3-3 before the period was over and took a 4-3 lead five minutes into the third. It stayed that way until the Blues got two goals in the span of 12 seconds in pretty much the final minute of play to tie and then snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Meanwhile…

The Nashville Predators reclaimed top spot in the Central – but the Jets still have three games in hand and are just a single point behind, so no worries.

The Dallas Stars benched Alex Radulov for their game against the Rangers because he was late for a morning skate, and then he proceeded to score a hat trick against Colorado two nights later. They also haven’t given up a goal in their last 144+ minutes of play over the last three games.

Minnesota hockey fans and their goalie Devan Dubnyk are about sick of the shootout and some of the tactics used in it, as you might imagine having seen their Wild lose two in a row to Nashville via the skills contest.

The Standings


Nashville Predators

Last Game: SO Win Vs Minnesota 5-4 (03/05)
Next Game:
Vs Carolina – March 9
Games Remaining:

6 Home: CAR, TOR, PIT, CBJ, VAN, CHI
7 Road: ANA, LAK, SJS, WPG, MIN, PIT, BUF
Linked Up: Nashville Predators Gain First Place After Wild Win Against Minnesota (Predlines)

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The goalies were perfect through the first three rounds of the shootout, sending it to a sudden-death fourth round where Ryan Johansen scored and Pekka Rinne stopped Ryan Donato to give the Nashville Predators a huge 5-4 victory.


Winnipeg Jets

Last Game: Loss @ Tampa Bay 5-2 (03/05)
Next Game:
@ Carolina – March 8
Games Remaining:

7 Home: SJS, BOS, CGY, NSH, DAL, NYI, MTL
9 Road: CAR, WSH, LAK, ANA, VGK, CHI, MIN, COL, ARI
Linked Up: Jets goalie knew he’d be back after taking shot in mask (Winnipeg Sun)

“It hurt pretty bad, like a punch. I don’t usually go down from those. But I knew I had to go back (to the room), because something was wrong. I noticed I had a little bit of blood. When I opened my eyes, I saw the trainer was coming, so I knew something was wrong. Originally, I thought I was going to go down, get up, shake it off and finish the power play.”

St. Louis Blues

Last Game: Win vs Los Angeles 4-0 (03/07)
Next Game:
@ San Jose – March 9
Games Remaining:

8 Home: ARI, EDM, DET, TBL, VGK, COL, PHI, VAN
7 Road: SJS, OTT, PIT, BUF, NYR, NJD, CHI
Linked Up: Jordan Binnington has given the St. Louis Blues life (Puck Prose)

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Since Binnington took over the Blues net, no team in the NHL has picked up more points than their 40. Moreover, their point percentage of 0.741 ranks third in the league during this span. The Blues have also gotten the fifth-best goaltending in the NHL since Binnington took over.


Dallas Stars

Last Game: Win vs Colorado 4-0 (03/07)
Next Game:
Vs Chicago – March 9
Games Remaining:

8 Home: CHI, VGK, VAN, FLA, COL, PIT, PHI, MIN
7 Road: BUF, MIN, WPG, CGY, EDM, VAN, CHI
Linked Up: Stars Using Alexander Radulov As Jekyll & Hyde Example To Organization (The Runner Sports)

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With Radulov’s fiery personality comes him losing his temper very quickly. That frustration has manifested into a second among the team 46 penalty minutes and can be spotted when he refuses to vacate the ice on a proper shift time and remains stubbornly in the play; he holds the longest shift times among forwards on the team, averaging 47 seconds per shift. Surely it also has something to do with when Radulov abandons the perceived plan and ad-libs more than most would like to see. For a productive player, that’s sometimes the Jekyll & Hyde actions teams have to leverage a high-stakes balancing act with.


Minnesota Wild

Last Game: Win @ Tampa Bay 3-0 (03/07)
Next Game:
@ Florida – March 8
Games Remaining:

8 Home: SJS, DAL, NYR, NYI, COL, NSH, WPG, BOS
6 Road: FLA, WSH, CAR, VGK, ARI, DAL
Linked Up: Zucker, Dubnyk lead Wild past Lightning 3-0 (USA Today)

“We had some tremendous energy today and we pressured them all night long,” Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said. “When you pressure any team, it’s tough to make plays. We were forechecking, we stripped pucks and I thought it was (Dubnyk’s) best game of the year.”


Colorado Avalanche

Last Game: Loss @ Dallas 4-0 (03/07)
Next Game:
Vs Buffalo – March 9
Games Remaining:

8 Home: BUF, CAR, ANA, CHI, VGK, ARI, EDM, WPG
5 Road: MIN, DAL, CHI, STL, SJS
Linked Up: Three reasons why the Colorado Avalanche have gone off the rails (Sportsnet)

The Anaheim Ducks have been getting a lot of attention recently for how their season has imploded and how that led to the firing of coach Randy Carlyle over the weekend. But it’s worth pointing out that since Dec. 1, no NHL team has fewer wins than Colorado’s seven.

  • The Jets have a tough schedule to end the season but they seem to play their best hockey against good teams. When Buff and Morrissey come back it should stabilize their defense and set them up for the playoffs.