Winger Pavel Buchnevich is a big part of the Blues reversal of fortunes.
Not long ago, the Blues were staring down the barrel of a multi-game losing streak. It was 8 games, in fact, that the team lost consecutively, and a disaster of a season seemed to be impending.Read more: A Fast Turnaround
Eight straight losses in regulation was a franchise best……er,…….worst. So, history made, in a bad way. The streak seemed to have some ways to go, too, as hollering sessions by coach Craig Berube seemed to have little effect. But all of a sudden, the Blues won, then won again, and again.
As I type this, the Blues lead 5-1 over the Anaheim Ducks, seemingly on their way to a 6-game winning streak. Everyone is playing better. They’re playing as a team again. Saad, O’Reilly, Schenn and Buchnevich are being offensive contributors again. Kyrou scored in the Sharks game; Saad and O’Reilly in the Vegas game; Saad, Thomas and Kyrou in the Avalanche game. In this Anaheim game, Buchnevich has 2 goals, and Thomas, Schenn and Krug have scored also.
The Blues beat 2 very good teams in the Golden Knights and the Avalanche. They’re expected to be a playoff team and they have a lot of ground to make up after losing 8 in a row. But O’Reilly, Schenn and Saad are real leaders, and the team is too experienced to let a losing streak take them out for too long.
They have no shortage of players who can put the puck in the net. Kyrou, O’Reilly, Thomas, Saad, Schenn, Buchnevich and Barbashev all could score 20+ goals. And they have a new-ish cast of supporting forwards like Acciari and Pitlick who’ve been around.
The Blues always are under pressure to win because it’s expected of them, both by the fans and the ownership. Tom Stillman and the ownership group always spend to the salary cap, because they want to give the team the best possible chance to win.
They also need to win because they have a LOT of long-term contracts that could be difficult to move, if the season turns sour. These include Kyrou, Thomas, Schenn, Buchnevich, Parayko, Krug and Faulk. It won’t be easy to trim payroll or move players who may need a change of scenario, sooner or later.
The season seems to be back on track, but that 8-game streak is a reminder that nothing is guaranteed in the NHL.