St. Louis Blues Are Down But Can Still Save Their Season

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10: Alex Pietrangelo
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10: Alex Pietrangelo /

The St. Louis Blues still have a tall mountain to climb to get back into the playoffs for the seventh straight season. It’s not entirely impossible though due to one factor being in their favor.

The St. Louis Blues were just about eliminated from the playoffs heading into their late season matchup with the L.A. Kings. Now, with one game remaining on their west coast trip, they have renewed life.

It is amazing how much one good game can affect your outlook on things. Whether you’re a fan or a player, you had to be seriously worried about the team even winning a game the rest of the year, let along making the playoffs.

Now, with only two wins in their last 10, just because they played so well, things look brighter. There is another thing looking brighter beyond just an upturn in effort and ability.

For those that watch ESPN, you might be familiar with Woody Paige’s saying “Look at the schedule.” That is exactly what Blues fans with renewed hope should be doing.

Six of St. Louis’ remaining 14 games are against teams outside of the playoff picture. You could almost include three more games because Columbus and Colorado are also clinging to their own playoff lives.

Those are games that, if the Blues can maintain anything close to the level they played in Los Angeles, should be winnable. Clearly, it is still up to each player to keep their end of the bargain up and play well. Still, those are all games that, on paper, you know St. Louis can win regardless of their recent form.

Beyond that, they still have two games with Colorado. As of writing this, the Avalanche sit in the eighth playoff spot and are three points ahead of St. Louis.

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My, oh my, how things would change just with St. Louis winning both of their remaining games against the Avs. That’s a potential of four points swung in either direction, depending on the outcome of each one.

The pessimists will say the Blues still have to face teams like San Jose, Boston and Washington. That’s true, but doesn’t have to be a negative.

Of those teams, the only one the Blues have truly struggled against is Washington. The Blues have not beaten the Capitals since March of 2016. The game does not fall in a good spot either, being in the last week of the season when points will be most crucial. It is a good test to see whether they truly want in or not though.

The other two are also both winnable. The Blues did just lose to San Jose, but as poorly as they played, they only lost 1-0. Yes, the score was 2-0, but empty net goals only change the box score. The Blues only allowed one goal through the regular run of play and that was a lucky bounce in off the post.

The negative side says Boston has the best defense in the NHL. Well, the Kings had the second best and the Blues just lit them up for seven goals. The Blues have plenty of issues, but they have enough in there to get it done. Also on their side, the Bruins and Blues have split their season series every year since 2013-14. Boston already won in Boston, so it would be time to return the favor.

Lastly, the Blues have a shocking three games remaining with Chicago. The Blackhawks have been playing better late in the season, but the results are still not there.

Chicago continues to hover around .500 or just under for their last 10 games. Usually you say chuck the stats out the window for rivalry games, but this would be the perfect time for the Blues to establish some dominance over a seemingly inferior team.

Chicago still has better talent at the top. However, for all the faults the Blues show, they are now the deeper team. Imagine how much they’d be better if St. Louis had some actual depth.

The point is that the season is not over yet and it is not just an optimist’s point of view. There are plenty of winnable games left in the season.

It is up to the Blues to actually go out and win these games, since they are not played on paper. However, not having nothing but games remaining against teams in their divisional top three is encouraging.

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The Blues have teams to climb over. Even so, it is not like they have been lighting the world on fire.

If the Blues had just been playing .500 hockey over the last month or so, they’d be secured in a playoff spot. That shows how poorly they have been playing, but also shows that the teams they are competing with are not world beaters.

The Blues must focus on each game as if it is a must win, because it essentially is. They are almost all winnable though and that gives the Blues an excellent chance to still make a push to the postseason.