Good morning Blues fans! It’s another gameday as the season begins to wind down. While the Blues are assured of a playoff spot, tonight marks a chance to prove themselves yet again.
The St. Louis Blues have accomplished a lot in 2016-17. After a woeful end to 2016 and a worse start to 2017, there were doubts the team would even make the playoffs.
Some went so far as to say it would be best for the Blues to miss the postseason. There are arguments to be made for that sentiment, but I can’t say it’s ever truly a good thing to miss out. You can’t win if you aren’t in.
The Blues have managed a heck of a turnaround. St. Louis only lost three times in the month of March.
The coincidental part of that last statement was one of those three was against the Winnipeg Jets. Despite the Blues remarkable turnaround toward the end of the season, the Blues have yet to beat the Jets.
Winnipeg held in the race longer this year than just about any since their return from Atlanta. Nevertheless, they have yet to prove themselves as a consistent playoff team.
While the Jets have always been a thorn in the Blues’ paw, they have never presented the challenge they have put up this season. Four games played and four straight wins for the Jets.
Tonight presents an opportunity for the Blues. They have a chance to keep or extend their lead over Nashville and put the demons that the Jets have represented to rest.
The Blues have not defeated Winnipeg in over a calendar year. December of 2015 was the last time the Blues tasted victory.
This season, it has not been that close. With the exception of an overtime loss in December, the Blues had consecutive 5-3 defeats and a rather embarrassing 3-0 defeat to start March.
The Blues have gone 12-1-2 since then. Now, with the playoffs clinched and a divisional playoff spot within sight, the Blues can concentrate on just taking down the Jets.
Additionally, the Jets have a very potent offense. Only Chicago and Minnesota have more goals than the Jets do this season. On top of that, Winnipeg has won four games in a row.
It’s up to the Blues to take things seriously tonight. Sure they have a playoff spot wrapped up and have taken care of business against some of the league’s cellar dwellers, but you can’t have mental hurdles left.
The Jets are a clear representation of a hurdle. Getting a victory over them this late in the year might only be a morale victory, but it would be a big boost.
The Blues need as much mental momentum as they can get heading into the playoffs. Knocking off a team that has had their number would be just that.
Here are your St. Louis Blues Morning Links to get your day started off right.
The Blues have managed to do quite well despite some big name injuries this month. They have been without Jori Lehtera since March 10. Now, the fandom splitting center says he is ready to return, but his status might not be so clearcut. (STLToday)
Despite the heart-breaking nature of the Blues losing just one step short of the Stanley Cup Finals last year, we fell back on the idea that so many guys gained important playoff experience. However, a wrench has been thrown in the works as many guys are injured nearing the season’s end. If the team does not get healthy, we might be saying the same thing about valuable experience once the playoffs end. (Post-Dispatch)
In case you missed it, our contributor Joseph Schneider ran down the scenarios for the Blues playoff opponents. While one team is most likely, there are still several options for how everything might play out. (Bleedin’ Blue)
The US National Team has shrugged off all the boycott talk and steamrolled through the group stages at the women’s IIHF World Championships. Now, they have to focus as the knockout stages begin. (NHL)
A record that has stood since 1982 got broken last night. Auston Matthews continued to cement his place among the league’s best now and in the future by setting a new mark for future generations to strive for. (ESPN)