In a shortened week the St. Louis Blues have returned to action. However, despite a lack of games on the schedule, the team remained at the forefront of the news cycle.
Here’s a look at the latest Blues news and rumors from the past week.
The Week That Was
St. Louis Blues @ Buffalo Sabres
With only two games this past week on the docket, the Blues kicked off Saturday’s games against the Buffalo Sabres, their first of a back-to-back set concluding against the Montreal Canadiens. With the Blues returning from the All-Star and bye-week break, there was little time for the team to shake off the rust. After fending off an early tripping call against Calle Rosen only six minutes into the game, the Blues went to the power play at the 11:47 mark as Ryan Johnson slashed Alexey Toropchenko. The club needed only half their time on the man advantage after Jake Neighbours tipped a shot from Robert Thomas that ricocheted first off of Pavel Buchnevich in time for Neighbours to redirect a backhanded attempt at the net and put his team up 1-0.
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The Sabres did not sit back though with their team captain, Kyle Okposo scoring only 51 seconds into the second period to tie the game 1-1. Okposo received a centering pass from Tage Thompson who was down below the red line and managed to deflect a shot off the stick of Blues defenseman Matthew Kessel and past goaltender Joel Hofer.
With continued pressure from the Blues, Jordan Kyrou put his team back out in front 2-1 nearly four minutes later. The forward collected a shot from the point by Colton Parayko that bounced off the end boards. Kyrou’s goal did not require much work after this as he was uncontested by the Sabres defenders allowing him to set up a wrist shot from the low slot and past the glove of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.
The Blues and Sabres continued to trade opportunities through the remaining minutes of play with Neighbours capitalizing once again on a rebound opportunity with 1:57 left to play. St. Louis weathered 14 shots on goal during the second period while only recording four themselves. Hofer concluded the game stopping 34 of 34 shots on goal while still with one goal against as the goal that was scored by Buffalo was not recorded as an official shot on goal.
St. Louis Blues @ Montreal Canadiens
Ahead of the Super Bowl, the Blues played in one of two games on Sunday. The game’s 7-2 final was a fitting score with the Blues putting up a touchdown’s worth of goals against the Montreal Canadiens. St. Louis got the scoring started early as Toropchenko picked up the puck in the neutral zone, skated down the right side of the ice, pulled the puck back between his legs to deke around Canadiens defenseman Jayden Struble before cutting across the crease, and stuffing the puck around Jake Allen’s right pad.
Nearly five minutes later in the first period, Blues captain Brayden Schenn scored after redirecting a shot by Parayko extending their lead to 2-0. The two teams continued to battle back and forth until Montreal forward Nick Suzuki cut the lead in half at the 10:23 mark with a one-timer shot from Juraj Slafkovsky. However, the one-goal lead did not last long as Kyrou scored for the second game in a row with 4:40 left in the period.
With a two-goal lead, the Blues added one more in the middle frame on a snapshot from the right circle by Nathan Walker at 17:49 to make it a 4-1 game. They continued to push offensively in the third period scoring a power play goal only 31 seconds into the period. Montreal stopped the goal run by St. Louis with a wrist shot from the slot by David Savard that deflected off of Joel Armia 3:06 into the period. Neighbours struck once more adding a power play goal, his 18th of the season 7:14 into the period as he banked in a rebound from defenseman Torey Krug. The club added one final goal as Kyrou scored his second of the game and 100th of his career at 15:33. The shot from the slot went over the net, but bounced in off Allen’s skate after hitting the end boards.
Blues forward Sammy Blais was assessed a major and match penalty at 5:18 of the first for boarding Montreal defenseman Jordan Harris behind the Canadiens’ net. Krug recorded five assists and Binnington stopped 30 of 32 shots.
Here’s a look at where the Blues rank statistically among the rest of the NHL:
- Team Record: 28-21-2 (fourth in division, eighth in conference)
- Goals Scored: (22nd in NHL)
- Goals Against: (T-18th in NHL)
- Power Play:% (22nd in NHL)
- Penalty Kill:% (19th in NHL)
- Faceoff (%):% (21st in NHL)
Blues and Chicago Blackhawks to Meet in 2025 Winter Classic
The Blues will return to center stage on Jan. 1, 2025, when they meet their Central Division rival, the Chicago Blackhawks at Wrigley Field, home of Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs, in the NHL Winter Classic. It will mark the third regular-season outdoor game for the Blues and the seventh for the Blackhawks. It is also the second time the game will be held at Wrigley Field. The Blues have posted a 2-0-0 record in outdoor game appearances, including a win over the Blackhawks in the 2017 NHL Winter Classic at Busch Stadium.
Might the Blues Look at Jakob Chychrun?
In a report outlined by Jim Parsons, the Blues were brought up in a conversation surrounding Ottawa Senators defenseman Jakob Chychrun on The Jeff Marek Show. As the St. Louis squad is currently in the midst of a playoff hunt with a number of veterans with no-trade clauses, any trade that could be made at this time could present multiple hurdles to overcome before a deal could be made. The 25-year-old currently has an average annual cap hit of $4.6 million that is set to expire at the end of the 2024-25 season and will be looking for a pay raise.
The Blues have three games on the schedule for the coming week, their first against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, Feb. 13. Puck drop is scheduled for 6 PM CST.