Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues Developing Their Identity

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues Developing Their Identity

Article excerpt

Paul Stastny had no idea the Blues were 15-5-1, the best record in the Western Conference and the second-most points (31) in the NHL.

"I didn't even know that was the record," Stastny said after the Blues' 4-3 overtime triumph Saturday night in Vancouver.

Neither did Joel Edmundson.

"I don't know that either," Edmundson said. "We just go out and play. It doesn't really matter to us. We worry about one day at a time. Worry about that game. Standings will take care of themselves."

Mike Yeo likes it that way.

"I try not to pay attention to it either," said the Blues coach. "You know, we talk about staying in the process through the game and it's the same way for the season. If we just keep showing up to the rink and making sure that we're prepared to play and playing good hockey, then we'll like where we're at at the end of the year."

Conventional wisdom said the Blues would be hard-pressed to overcome the rash of offseason and preseason injuries injuries that robbed them of significant top-end talent.

There has been some skepticism as well as to whether Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz can continue their scoring ways. Or that Blues defensemen could continue to pile up goals.

But by the quarter point of a hockey season a team starts to develop its identity, and maybe this is the Blues' identity.

The Schwartz-Schenn-Vladimir Tarasenko line, with 28 goals, 46 assists and 74 points, shows no signs of letting up.

After goals by Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson against the Canucks, St. Louis has 21 goals by defensemen in 21 games a league high.

The work of that line and those defensemen goals are the two defining characteristics of the Blues' season to date. But they're not everything.

"Everyone's contributing some shape or form," goalie Jake Allen said. "Obviously Vlady and Schwartzy and those guys are scoring goals. You know, Thorbs (Chris Thorburn) and that line, they're doing a great job. They really are. They're taking D-zone faceoffs for us. They're penalty-killing. They're doing everything. We're still missing a few bodies, key bodies in our lineup."

With the exception of the third line, the team has displayed scoring balance. The second line of Vladimir Sobotka, Stastny and Alexander Steen has contributed 39 points on 12 goals and 27 assists. Sobotka has perked up lately with five goals in his last 10 games.

Even the fourth line of Scottie Upshall, Kyle Brodziak and Thorburn has contributed 16 points on four goals and 12 assists.

The Blues have 10 players with eight points or more. And 13 of their 18 regular skaters are at even or plus in the plus-minus category, led by Schenn (plus-15), Schwartz (plus-15) and Tarasenko (plus-14). Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson is next at plus-10.

Despite a couple of recent hiccups against the New York Islanders and Calgary, the goaltending has been good to excellent. …

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