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For the past few seasons, the Blues seemed like a team that was going to make some noise. Before last season, they signed Montreal playoff hero Jaroslav Halak, which seemed to be the missing piece.
Then the season started.
The Blues struggled inexplicably last year. They suffered some injuries, Halak was inconsistent and they quickly faded out of contention.
This year, however, the story is different.
They are one of the NHL’s best teams right now. They are in first place in their division and could be tied for the Western Conference lead if they beat Vancouver on Thursday night.
The early story for St. Louis was the play of backup goalie Brian Elliot. When Halak started slow again this year, Elliot took over for the Blues and has an amazing .940 save percentage.
The really scary thing is now Halak is playing well, giving St. Louis one of the best tandems in the NHL.
David Backes is having another solid year, leading the Blues in scoring. Much like his team, Backes is an unheralded player in the NHL. If he played in a bigger market, you would see his face on every NHL commercial out there. Do yourself a solid and watch him play.
St. Louis could use some scoring depth, and look for them to be in the market come the trade deadline. The Blues will be a very tough team to deal with in the playoffs. Nobody can be too thrilled to face Halak and Elliot for four games.
Why nobody talks about them: When you are in a smaller, Midwest market and share a division with two original-six teams in Chicago and Detroit, you are going to get overlooked.
The Blues have a long and rich history, and after a down year last year, they are back on the track many thought they would be on a couple of years ago.
Is this the year they finally arrive?