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Blues Clinch Stanley Cup Playoff Spot; Latest 2021 NHL Playoff Picture

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 8, 2021

St. Louis Blues' Ryan O'Reilly (90) is surrounded by teammates in celebration after scoring in overtime against the Minnesota Wild during an NHL hockey game Thursday, April 29, 2021, in St. Paul, Minn. St. Louis won 5-4. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
Stacy Bengs/Associated Press

The St. Louis Blues will be in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the ninth time in 10 seasons.

The 2018-19 champions booked a place in the postseason Friday by virtue of an overtime loss to the Vegas Golden Knights and the Colorado Avalanche's 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. They are the 14th team to claim one of the 16 bids.

          

Qualified Playoff Teams

Central

  • Carolina Hurricanes (77 points)
  • Florida Panthers (75 points)
  • Tampa Bay Lightning (73 points)

East

  • Washington Capitals (71 points)
  • Pittsburgh Penguins (71 points)
  • Boston Bruins (68 points)
  • New York Islanders (67 points)

North

  • Toronto Maple Leafs (72 points)
  • Edmonton Oilers (64 points)
  • Winnipeg Jets (59 points)

West

  • Vegas Golden Knights (74 points)
  • Colorado Avalanche (72 points)
  • Minnesota Wild (70 points)
  • St. Louis Blues (55 points)

         

The Blues' title triumph two years ago wasn't a fluke, but the stars aligned for the franchise after it went from firing Mike Yeo midseason to lifting the Stanley Cup. St. Louis' luck came back around in 2020 as it failed to advance past the Vancouver Canucks in the first round.

Based on where they sit in the standings, the Blues would appear destined for another early exit.

St. Louis' point total is deceptive though, since the team had to play 10 games against the Avalanche and nine against the Golden Knights, two of the NHL's strongest squads. The Minnesota Wild have been no pushovers, either.

To the extent regular-season momentum matters in the playoffs, the Blues might be peaking at the right time. On April 5, they suffered their 12th defeat in 14 games. Since then, they have reeled off eight victories in 14 games.

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In order to buck the odds and make a deep run, St. Louis will need David Perron (50 points) and Ryan O'Reilly (50 points) to continue shouldering the bulk of the offensive burden.

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