Biggest Surprise: The St. Louis Blues sweep Nashville in February games
We’ve all assumed that the Central Division championship would be decided between the Nashville Predators and the Winnipeg Jets. No disrespect to the other teams in the division, but Nashville & Winnipeg were thought to be a level above the rest this season. This seemed to be the case up until January 23.
Just before the All-Star Break, the St. Louis Blues finished their January with a road win over the lowly Anaheim Ducks. It was the beginning of an eleven-game winning streak that lasted most of February, the span of which included a back to back with our beloved Predators. Nashville wasn’t done losing to the Blues in February, as they ended the month getting shutout in St. Louis.
What’s happening in St. Louis? It’s a team effort, but two players’ effort stood out this month. Vladimir Tarasenko went off with ten goals & twelve assists in February. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that three of his goals powered the Blues to a 5-4 OT win in Nashville. The Blues’ MVP this season has to be rookie goalie Jordan Binnington, who went 10-1 with 4 shutouts & a 1.44 GAA in February. I, for one, am glad I picked him up for my fantasy team a couple of months ago when he started turning heads.
St. Louis certainly has Nashville’s number right now. A first-round meeting could prove problematic.
Most Useless Return: Cody McLeod
It breaks my heart to present this award. It wasn’t terribly long ago in the grand scheme of things that I wrote a column on this website to defend McLeod to the heathens that wanted him in a jail cell or something. I always love an underdog, and McLeod definitely fits that role.
I was even ok with bringing him back. Locker room presence and all that. But there comes a time where you have to look at the stats. I’m not even talking about advanced statistics. I’m talking about playing in games, and minutes played in those games. It’s the simplest thing in the NHL. Since McLeod returned to the Predators he’s played in six out of eleven games and averaged 7:27 of ice time per game. This stat is somewhat inflated by the 8:45 he got against St. Louis Tuesday night.
Like…why even bother? If you’re not even going to play the guy most games, and can’t trust him on the ice for more than five minutes when you do, why make the trade? I would say LOCKER ROOM CHEMISTRY, but it’s not like the Nashville Predators have won a ton of games since he arrived and provided that good feeling in the locker room. I want to like him so much, but I haven’t seen any reason to yet. It’s like when you’re fixed up with somebody and really want it to work, but they do all the wrong things. What can you do with that?