The St. Louis Blues reached a vital landmark of the NHL season at Thanksgiving in style, as they remain one of the elite teams in the league despite a slew of early season injuries which could have slowed their season's start.
The Blues remain on pace with last year's team, as their 15-6-3 record through their first 24 games this year lands them just one point shy of where they were last year through 24 games. It's impressive considering they had to play without Kevin Shattenkirk, Paul Stastny and Jaden Schwartz amongst others in the early goings.
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The Blues say despite the many hits to the roster, the intangibles among the team drive St. Louis's success.
“There’s a genuine excitement for somebody else having success other than yourself,” coach Ken Hitchcock told reporters recently. “I think that creates that spirit where they’re cheering for each other, they’re trying to help each other, and it goes a long ways to why we’ve got the points we do right now.”
The Blues have the fifth-best record in the NHL despite ranking in the Top 10 in just one major team category (penalty kill percentage). There is plenty of room for the team to improve, something which should scare the rest of the league since, when not perfect, the Blues are already playing extremely well.
For now, the focus remains on catching up to the division-leading Dallas Stars. But should the team make the playoffs, the improved team chemistry should be an interesting aspect to St. Louis's attempt to play deep into May.