If there was any question whether or not the St. Louis Blues having the best record in the NHL was a fluke, it may have been answered Thursday night against the Minnesota Wild. The Blues dominated in every aspect of the game en route to a 5-1 victory. In order to win the Stanley Cup, a team must be peaking in every aspect of its game, and that appears to be what’s going on in St. Louis.
T.J. Oshie gained his notoriety from his shootout heroics at the Olympics, but he has continued his path of destruction since returning to the NHL. On Thursday night, he recorded a hat trick, including a shorthanded goal that made the game 2-0 with only 26 seconds left in the first period and completely changed the tide of the game.
If the Wild would have headed into the locker room only down by a goal, there is far more hope of coming back against a team as talented as the Blues. The fact that it was a shorthanded goal didn’t help the Wild’s confidence either.
The Wild ended up with six power play chances, but the Blues’ penalty kill is starting to become one of the best in the league. Speaking of power plays, the Blues went 2-for-5 with the man advantage and were able to get bodies in front of Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper all night long.
What was so impressive about the Blues’ performance is that the Wild aren’t some bottom-of-the-barrel team – they’re going to make the playoffs. If this is any indication of how the first round might look, because a Blues-Wild first-round matchup is very possible, things aren’t looking too good for Minnesota.
Oshie is playing like a superstar, the Blues’ special teams look flawless, and both Ryan Miller and Brian Elliott have been brick walls in between the pipes. There’s a reason why the Blues lead the NHL with 105 points. The only question is: can they be stopped?