The St. Louis Blues have their backs against the wall right now. Despite a great opening to the season, they are in real danger of missing the playoffs.
For the second time in some of our lifetimes, the St. Louis Blues are in danger of losing the league’s longest playoff streak. When I was younger, the team had ramped it up to a quarter century worth of playoff appearances before they missed. Now, they have made it six straight years, but a seventh is in doubt.
Despite the team’s almost record breaking start to the season, they are on the brink of being put out of the playoff picture. What seemed like an almost impossible idea is now the brink of reality.
Due to a comeback win from Minnesota last night and a dominating performance by Dallas, the Blues are now in the final Wild Card slot. They only lead the Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames by a single point.
That can all change with a win tonight against Winnipeg. This is not exactly the best time for a struggling Blues team to be going up against the third best team in the conference however.
But, these are the games you have to win if you expect to be a contender. Right now, the Blues look anything but, but stranger things have happened.
If we look at the bright side, it was not long ago that the Kings backed into the playoffs and then won the Cup as an eighth seed. Do not expect the same from this Blues team, but at least it does not rule out the possibility.
Know Thy Foe
The Winnipeg Jets have seriously cooled off themselves over the past month or so. Despite that, they are still playing relatively well.
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The Jets are 6-3-1 in their last 10. They dropped a game, 4-3, to the Kings on February 20.
Winnipeg doesn’t have it easy right now, since they’ve got back to back games. It’s in St. Louis tonight and then down to Dallas tomorrow.
The Jets could seriously help out St. Louis if they could lose tonight and then beat Dallas tomorrow. Don’t expect any pity from Winnipeg in that area though.
Winnipeg has struggled on the road, going 10-12-7, giving the Blues a possible advantage. However, given the Blues record at home has been spotty, it might even out.
Michael Hutchinson, Adam Lowry, Steve Mason, Shawn Matthias, Brandon Taney and Jacob Trouba are all on the IR list for the Jets. Winnipeg did recently get Mark Scheifele back and he’s already got eight points in his last five games.
The Blues know it’s desperation time, even if they have not played like it. However, the frustration is currently growing for Mike Yeo.
"“Desperation time was a while ago, so yeah, this is where pride has to come in,” Yeo said after a 3-2 loss Tuesday to San Jose. “We have to make sure that we obviously stop the bleeding. We have to start building confidence in the game that we’re playing and have a feeling that showing up to the rink that everybody’s going to be ready to go.“We can’t just accept that we’re playing good and not winning hockey games,” he added. “That’s not good enough. We need points, we need wins and we need to start doing it now.”"
St. Louis has now fallen to 4-5-1 in their last 10. They’ve lost four straight games and only gained one point during that span in an overtime loss to Nashville.
For their part, the Blues have played well against the Jets. St. Louis has taken two of three in the season series and won 5-2 back on February 9.
St. Louis will need their best players to be their best players. So far they have been against the Jets.
According to the team’s website, Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Pietrangelo have seven points in their last seven games against Winnipeg. Brayden Schenn, Alexander Steen and Jaden Schwartz all have similar streaks.
This will be the final regular season meeting of these two teams.
Projected Lineup from the team website:
Where To Watch
Fox Sports Midwest, TSN3
Fox Sports Go, NHL.tv (subscriber fee)
KMOX, KMOX.com, Blues app
The puck drops tonight just after 7 pm Central Time. It is the final home game before the trade deadline, so it could be the final time to see a player or two in a Blues jersey.
My predictions have been awful of late. With that in mind, perhaps some reverse psychology will work.
I’ll say the Blues lose in overtime 3-2. It’s not a stretch, given how the team has been going. They would get a point to keep their head above water, but it would be the Jets evening the season series.
Of course, that’s not what any of us want to happen. We want the Blues to come out and have another 5-2 performance. The likelihood of that seems minimal until they actually go out and show they can do it.