June 7, 2023

The St. Louis Blues won all three of their games last week to get back to .500. They’re now 15-15-1 and sitting in fourth place in the Wild Card race. It’s been an up-and-down season for the Blues, but they remain within striking distance as the New Year approaches.

St. Louis Blues Weekly Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou
Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou (The Hockey Writers)

Head coach Craig Berube appears to have found the right line combinations with this group. Keeping Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas together, as well as Pavel Buchnevich and Vladimir Tarasenko, is working well. The Blues are already 2-0-0 on their Western Canada trip and finish it out with two more winnable games this week. The shocking win over the Edmonton Oilers may have turned the season around.

I don’t want to get too excited about the Blues’ winning streak, but they’re playing much better right now. It’s clear that both goaltenders have ramped their games up and the Blues are scoring more goals.

Blues Win Three Straight Games

The first game of the week was an ugly 1-0 win in overtime against the Nashville Predators. Both teams were hard to watch in this one. The entirety of the game was sloppy, especially in the latter stages of it. One of the major signs of an ugly game is the number of shots by each team. In this game, the Blues had 24 shots, while the Predators had 25. The teams were a combined 0-for-7 on the power play, registering eight shots total between them. The Blues won the game 2:23 into overtime on a goal from Brayden Schenn, assisted by Torey Krug and Kyrou. Krug continues to be lethal in overtime with his passing and vision. The Blues are now 3-1 in overtime and 2-0 in the shootout.

Related: Blues Top 3 Lines Give Them the Best Chance to Win

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After the win over the Predators, the Blues began their trip to Western Canada. They didn’t play well against the Oilers, but they found a way to win. They took a penalty early in the game for listing Schenn in the starting lineup instead of Josh Leivo, who actually started. The Oilers took an early 1-0 lead, and the Blues answered with a filthy snipe from Kyrou. The Blues also took two penalties for too many men as well, this was a rough game for Berube. They went down 3-1 late in the third period, but Thomas and Tarasenko scored late to tie it up. The controversy set in as overtime appeared to be over when Leon Draisaitl scored. However, Connor McDavid was ruled offside after he entered the offensive zone with the puck behind him as he carried it in. I think that was the right call, but the rule is still confusing. The Blues won in the shootout after Kyrou scored the lone goal and Jordan Binnington stopped Draisaitl.

Jordan Kyrou St. Louis Blues
Jordan Kyrou, St. Louis Blues (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Blues played the Calgary Flames in a back-to-back to finish last week, they started Thomas Greiss in this game. They got outshot 43-24, but that doesn’t tell the entire story. I thought the Blues were more aggressive and obviously, generated some elite scoring chances. They went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and 1-for-2 on the power play. Kyrou scored two goals, Ivan Barbashev had a goal and an assist, Schenn and Thomas had two assists, and Buchnevich had a goal and an assist. This game was much more representative of the 2021-22 Blues with their goal-scoring. They won it 5-2 and Greiss made 41 saves for his fourth win of the season.

Kyrou and Thomas Living Up to the Hype

The hype for Kyrou and Thomas going into this season was off the charts. They both signed eight-year extensions that begin in 2023-24. Both of them had career years in 2021-22 with Kyrou tallying 75 points in 74 games and Thomas with 77 points in 72 games. These two are the future of the franchise, and that became clear with the matching extensions. It took a while for Berube and the Blues to figure it out, but playing them on the same line is tremendous. Barbashev is also a perfect compliment to them, he has the ability to score goals and get physical to protect them. While I’d like to see Buchnevich or Tarasenko with Thomas, it’s perfectly fine the way it is right now.

Thomas has been elite in the faceoff circle this season, up to 54.2 percent and up nearly five percent from last season. He has 28 points in 30 games, including 21 assists and nine power-play points. He’s been consistent for most of this season, while the Blues have been the opposite of that as a team. As for Kyrou, his start to the season was not good at all. However, he’s picked it up since then with 28 points in 30 games and 24 points in his last 19 games. If Berube keeps them together, the Blues will continue to score more goals. They generate so many scoring chances and receive a lot of attention from the opposing team. It’s great to see them both producing and living up to the hype they’ve rightfully gotten.

Blues’ Week Ahead

  • Monday: at Vancouver Canucks (13-14-3, 29 points), 9:30 PM
  • Tuesday: at Seattle Kraken (17-10-3, 37 points), 9 PM
  • Friday: at Vegas Golden Knights (22-10-1, 45 points), 9 PM

The Blues finish their west coast trip with three games this week before Christmas. They’ll play the Vancouver Canucks for the first time this season, and it’s their second game against both the Seattle Kraken and Vegas Golden Knights. The Blues are 2-0-0 against Seattle and Vegas, beating them each on the road. If the Blues can close out this road trip with two wins between three games, that would be ideal. They won’t return until after Christmas on Dec. 27 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. I hope everyone has a terrific holiday break. I expect to have the next Blues Weekly piece out before that game against the Maple Leafs. Thank you to everyone who has continued to read this series.

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