By Dan Buffa
There's no such thing as a low scoring Stanley Cup Champion. Sure, the playoffs produce a lot of low scoring games but in the hunt for a playoff spot, a team must score with a certain level of proficiency. You have to put the puck in the net. A lot.
The St. Louis Blues didn't have a problem doing that until the second half of March rolled around and suddenly the Note couldn't find it. After all, the Blues do lead the league in missed shots. You know, those slap shots from the point from Alex Pietrangelo that never seem to find the net or the failed one timers. The Blues had a stale week and that isn't good for a team racing towards the finish line with The Presidents Trophy and top seed in the playoffs fully within their grasp. There isn't much time to waste if you want to be the best until the very end.
With that said, it was nice to see the Blues muscle up the past two games. After scoring a total of 2 goals in 3 three games against Chicago, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the Blues fired off 5 goal wins against Toronto and Minnesota. Ask any fan and they will say a win is a win. Dirty or not. Ask me and I say score as many goals as you can and do it often. March and April is no time to let your guard down.
Make no mistake that it was no easy feat to smack around the Maple Leafs and Wild. They are good hockey teams and knew fully well who they were playing against. With the Blues standing tall with 50 wins and atop the Western Conference(a single point behind Boston for the NHL lead), each game remaining on the regular season schedule will turn into a Game 7 for teams facing off against them. When presented with that theory of having a target on their back, T.J. Oshie welcomed the idea. He had just netted a hat trick against Minnesota and only stopped being on fire the past 2 months when his wife gave birth to their baby girl. The only thing that can stop the Blues right now is their own lack of hunger. Hopefully, they keep up the heavy fire on opposing teams as the door closes on the 2013-14 season.
Don't worry about Ryan Miller either. He hasn't recorded a shutout in Blue and gold yet and has allowed himself to not look spectacular at all times, but every game he gets in net with the Blues provides another layer of comfort he lacked before. Miller was the right player to hold down the fort behind the Blues on this Stanley Cup chase, a crown that would make its first appearance in St. Louis since the birth of the team in the late 1960's. The main idea for this team is providing Miller with enough support to lock down the top spot in the West. He will surely get tested in a low scoring game in 2 to 3 weeks.
The Blues have every right to crave the top spot because they own the best home record in the NHL at 26-5-4. There are 9 games left. 6 of the games fall on home ice at Scottrade Center. After facing Dallas tonight, we have Philly, Buffalo and Colorado at home. We visit Chicago, Minnesota and Dallas on the road and host Washington and Detroit at Scottrade to finish the season. With Miller behind them and Hitch calling the shots, the Blues simply need to keep muscling up. Get more shots on net, score more goals and don't let up. Now is when the real season begins.
Dan Buffa is a Cardinals writer for Sports Rants. He is also a contributor to KSDK.com and Arch City Sports while writing for his own website, Dose Of Buffa. Contact him firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at@buffa82.