By Patrick Kelly
Seventeen games is the NHL record for most wins in a row by a team. It was set by the 1993 Pittsburgh Penguins who were just coming off back-to-back Stanley Cups. If you look at teams behind the Penguins in consecutive wins you will see the Penguins of recent years, the Bruins teams of the ‘70s and today. One thing you will notice with all of these teams though, is that they accomplished these feats with their top superstars. The Blues’ consecutive wins record now stands at eight and it’s all been done without the help of Vladimir Tarasenko.
This is a Blues team that is playing as close to perfect as you can. While the Blues as a franchise have adopted the next-man-up mentality for some time now, it seems that this year has been the best example of it yet. This next-man-up mentality doesn’t just apply to filling in the lineup spot of a downed player, but stepping into that spot and making sure the team has zero lost production. As it stands right now, five different Blues players are on pace to score 60 points or more this season including David Perron who is averaging a point a game in what has so far been his best year production wise.
Probably the biggest reason for the team’s success not only this year but during the winning streak is goaltending. The next-man-up mentality had to be put into effect between the pipes when Jordan Binnington got some much-needed rest. Jake Allen was already riding the hot hand and he continued his stellar play until Binnington was able to step back into the crease. It appears that rest is exactly what Binnington needed to help the Blues keep their streak alive. Of the eight wins in a row, Binnington has won six while posting a 2.15 GAA and a save percentage of .921.
Half of the Blues’ wins in this streak have been against playoff teams, but in order to keep their streak alive they will have to step it up a notch over the next few games. The Blues are flying out to the desert to play the Arizona Coyotes on New Year’s Eve before heading to Colorado for a big divisional matchup against an Avalanche squad that just got back their top rookie Cale Makar, who was injured the last time these two clubs played. The Blues wrap up their road trip with a trip to Sin City to battle a Golden Knights team that is in a big three-way fight for the top spot in the Pacific.