Fresh off of the two-week Olympic break (not really a break for David Backes, Erik Johnson and Roman Polak though) the Blues started their march down the home stretch with a trip to Phoenix to play the Coyotes.
The Blues, winners of three straight impressive victories before the break, were looking to continue their fine play and hope the time off didn't effect the roll they were on, which is what teams always talk about being afraid of when playing well heading into a long break of any kind.
But the time off didn't seem to matter as far as the Blues were concerned as they dominated the Coyotes en route to a 5-2 victory. Not really the best game for the desert dog's goalie, Ilya Bryzgalov, as he we pulled after allowing five goals on 22 shots in two periods of play. Bryzgalov looked slow (lazy) and disinterested in putting forth any actual effort for his team and his fans. So...thank you very much Mr. Bryzgalov. Brad Boyes owes you a steak dinner, especially if the nice goal he scored on you gets him on a roll.
Phoenix scored first, but the Blues scored the next five and cruised to an easy road win.
This was a huge win for the Blues, as will be most games down the stretch with St. Louis currently sitting 3pts. on the shit side of the playoff picture. With one game in the books out of a 6 game road trip at a critical time in the season, continuing their winning ways against a good team was a massive first step down the stretch. It doesn't get any easier either as the Blues head to Dallas on Thursday to play the Stars, who sit only one point ahead of the Blues. It sounds ridiculous, but pretty much every game for the rest of the season will be referred to as, "the biggest game of the season", so get used to it. But, as Blues fans, you should be used to it...we did this exact same thing last season.
Here's the deal...
There are 19 games left in the Blues season. They currently sit in 12th place with 67 pts. (3 pts. out of a playoff spot). Let's say 94 pts. is the mark they need to get to for them to make the playoffs. To reach 94 pts., they need 27 pts. in their last 19 games, which is 1.42 pts. per game. Which means, they need to go something like 12-4-3 over their last 19 games...and then they have a good/decent shot to get in. But I hate talking about points that the team needs to reach to get in the playoffs. That's just a guessing game, it could be higher and it could be lower than 94 pts....people have no idea. Here's the real deal...right now, the Blues are 3 pts.out of a playoff spot. So (not including tie-break scenerios) the Blues need to be 4 pts. better than Detroit, 3 pts. better than Calgary, 2 pts. better than Dallas and 1 pt. better than Anaheim to get into the playoffs as at least the 8th seed. This is assuming the 6th or 7th place teams don't collapse and fall in the standings or Minnesotta doesn't get hot and pass up some teams.
The formula is not complicated...it's actually quite simple. Just keep winning and we'll get to have some fun in the playoffs...and hopefully see Detroit on the outside looking in.