By Patrick Kelly
The St. Louis Blues dads trip has been a staple for the team for many years. Last year, it came at perhaps the most opportune time for the team. The Blues were coming off a January where they went 7-4-1 while also debuting goaltender Jordan Binnington early in the month. The Blues officially started the dads trip on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019 in a game in Florida against the Panthers.
It looked like everything was looking up for the Blues. A win before the bye week against the Ducks and then a Saturday win in Columbus had them feeling pretty good, but little did they know the run they were about to go on. Despite being down 2-0 at the beginning of the third period, the Blues rallied and were able to come away with a 3-2 win in regulation, scoring three goals in just over 13 minutes.
The Blues then traveled with their fathers north to Tampa to play the Lightning, who at the time had an 11-point cushion atop the NHL. The Blues came in and despite barely being eligible for a playoff spot at the time, they skated with the Lightning all night and kept chipping away at the stellar goaltending of Andre Vasilevskiy. Just when it seemed 3-on-3 overtime wasn’t going to be enough, Brayden Schenn got free on a break and ripped one through Vasilevskiy’s five hole to give the Blues the 1-0 victory and extend their winning streak to four games. From then on the Blues were on a path for one goal and they didn’t stop until they reached it.
At this point in the season, virtually every team does some kind of parents trip, with the Toronto Maple Leafs having a mentors trip this year, where players were able to bring an old coach or instructor that meant a lot to them. It’s a great idea that all teams have adopted and the Blues seem to always do it during the best time of the year. Right now, the NHL season the equivalent to the dog days of summer in baseball. The All-Star Game is over, and the trade deadline is the next milestone in the NHL season. It’s also fitting that this usually happens in February, around Groundhog Day.
The Blues are now a full year removed from their dads trip that sparked an 11-game winning streak against some of the best teams in the NHL. They began the dads trip Tuesday night in California against the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks are just finishing up a tour of the East that saw them play all three Canadian teams in the east as well as the Sabres. After four games they managed to get points in all four, dropping two straight games in overtime to the Canadians and Maple Leafs respectively. Former Blue Ryan Miller has received a good amount of the starts as of late and he has deserved it, rocking a 3-1-1 record with a .928 save percentage on a team that currently sits third to last in the West.
For the Blues it looks like it will be Jake Allen in net after Jordan Binnington has allowed three or more goals in seven games. Allen is 1-2-1 in his last four games with a .910 save percentage. The Blues are still without forward Oskar Sundqvist, who made the trip with the team but isn’t expected to play in either Anaheim or Vegas. After Tuesday, the Blues travel to Sin City for a game Thursday against the Golden Knights, who are currently tied for second in the Pacific with the Edmonton Oilers, who just lost Connor McDavid. After the quick two-game road trip, the Blues return home briefly for a home-and-home series against the Nashville Predators, the same home-and-home they had last year in the middle of the 11-game winning streak. The Blues dads are now 7-1 when they are on the trips with the boys and they look to be 9-1 by the time Friday arrives.